PlainsCapital Bank Enables Volunteer Center of Lubbock to Inspire its Community
“The Volunteer Center of Lubbock has found that our business partners, including PlainsCapital Bank, are our gateway to the community. PlainsCapital Bank’s employees have partnered with us for decades, connecting their involvement in our mission with their core values.” –Sharon Bass, Executive Director, Volunteer Center of Lubbock
Sharon Bass, executive director of the Volunteer Center of Lubbock, describes her team as the “do good gatherers.”
The Center is a community engagement organization that connects individuals, families, and local companies with volunteer opportunities at one of their more than 100 nonprofit partners in the South Plains area. The 501(c)(3) aims to inspire a more engaged community, develop the next generation of leaders, and help people find their purpose.
The Volunteer Center of Lubbock was established in 1990, about two years after PlainsCapital Bank was founded. Since then, PlainsCapital has supported its efforts as a partner, a sponsor, and a banking resource.
In March 2020, COVID-19 made in-person gatherings and volunteer activities unsafe for the Volunteer Center of Lubbock and most of their nonprofit partners. The Center was forced to cancel its upcoming sponsored annual golf tournament—its primary source of funding—along with various other sponsored events, and temporarily unpublish its website’s list of in-person volunteer opportunities.
Because employee salaries are the largest expense in the Center’s “no fluff” budget, Sharon was left wondering how she would pay her team’s payroll without income from the spring season’s canceled events. And with the pandemic’s unclear timeline, she and her team needed to determine how they could safely continue offering the programs and volunteer opportunities that benefit the Lubbock community.
“The beginning of the pandemic was an especially challenging time as we figured whether we could maintain our team to continue operating and supporting our local nonprofits,” said Sharon. “During that same period, people were reaching out to us and our nonprofit partners to see how they could help. While the need for volunteers was there, the volunteer opportunities were not because of social distancing.”
Sharon’s longtime friend and PlainsCapital Bank executive vice president, Perry Tipton, suggested that she apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to help keep the Volunteer Center of Lubbock’s staff on payroll. Perry connected Sharon with Bretton Villarreal, PlainsCapital Bank assistant vice president, who guided her through each element of the PPP application process.
Sharon successfully applied for a PPP loan on the first day the program became active. The Small Business Administration (SBA) approved her request for funding, which allowed the Volunteer Center of Lubbock to keep the entire team on staff and enabled them to continue implementing their leadership and volunteer programs.
Sharon and her team rewired their approach to make community engagement and volunteer opportunities virtual by moving their events online and archiving a digital list of volunteer activities that participants could do from home.
When they pulled their end-of-the-year metrics, Sharon wasn’t surprised to see a decline in total volunteer hours in 2020 compared to 2019. However, the number of individuals and families they were able to serve was the highest they’ve ever recorded.
“The Volunteer Center of Lubbock has really developed some muscles we didn’t know existed,” said Sharon. “I can’t say enough about how much of a lifesaver the PPP funds were to us. It was extremely comforting to me, our staff, and our board when we were approved because it meant that nobody on payroll would lose their job. Instead of shrinking our workforce, we were able to pivot in the face of COVID-19 and thankfully, PlainsCapital Bank was there every step of the way.”