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special-needs clients and roommates of Creative Care for Reaching Independence give a thumbs-up for the camera from the kitchen of their home

CCRI Has Big Plans for Bank's $100K Gift, in Honor of 100 Years.

Upon receiving Gate City Bank’s $100,000 Giving Hearts Day donation in early February, CCRI went to work on enhancing its accessibility and mental-health services.

When Creative Care for Reaching Independence (CCRI) was revealed to be the $100,000 winner of Gate City Bank’s record-breaking Giving Hearts Day nomination contest in early February 2023, Anna Larson had to take a moment to let it all sink in.

She stood onstage – mind racing, heart pumping and face beaming – gazing on with pure joy as falling balloons flooded the room, an energetic crowd erupted into cheers, a $100,000 cutout sign landed in her arms and five additional charity finalists huddled close to share their excitement and support. For Larson, it was a truly precious sight, one that was even captured on canvas by a live artist at the event!

balloons fall on stage and a crowd erupts in cheers as CCRI is revealed as the winner of Gate City Bank’s one-hundred-thousand-dollar-Giving Hearts Day donation
Balloons fall and the crowd erupts as CCRI is announced as the winner of Gate City Bank’s $100,000 Giving Hearts Day gift.

Larson also saw something else on that special day: hope. For four long-time roommates with special needs who would now be able to move into a custom accessible home. For 400 clients who require much-needed services, including for mental health, 24-hour support, technology support and more. And for 500 employees who embrace CCRI’s inspiring purpose every day: to enhance and enrich the lives and learning of people with disabilities.

That kind of hope, which many other regional charities have so often described when crossing paths with Gate City Bank, largely stems from a beautiful partnership with Giving Hearts Day.

‘Gate City Bank Has Been Vital to Our Mission.’

Gate City Bank’s $100,000 donation – and $5,000 bonus gifts to five other charities – were in celebration of its 100th anniversary as a bank, and in honor of the incredible Giving Hearts Day charities that keep our communities strong. The record-breaking donation meant everything to CCRI, which serves Clay and Wilkin counties in Minnesota, providing unique and diverse services that allow clients to live life to the fullest.

“Throughout the years, our partnership with Gate City Bank has been vital to our mission, and that’s especially true with this incredible Giving Hearts Day donation,” says Larson, Development and Communications Director at CCRI. “Gate City Bank is a pillar in our communities. People just know that the bank will always get out and help people. They believe in what nonprofits stand for.”

In addition to showing Giving Hearts Day love for multiple years, Gate City Bank has given back to CCRI in many other ways, such as through advocacy on the nonprofit’s board of directors, helping out with bake sales, working on landscaping projects and raising money with jeans days. Larson has loved seeing the bank’s willingness to lend a hand, a sentiment echoed by Shannon Bock, Executive Director of CCRI.

“The support we’ve received from Gate City Bank has been incredible,” Bock says. “The bank makes us feel like we’re not alone in our mission. We love working with their volunteers because they help us share who we are, they take our story into the community – they’re willing to help with anything.”

Anna Larson (middle) and fellow CCRI staffers pose with a live painting of Gate City Bank’s surprise Giving Hearts Day gift reveal.

Building a Home for the Fabulous Four.

One of the ways CCRI will use Gate City Bank’s latest donation is to expedite a customized accessible house for a group of its clients that has become lovingly known as the “Fabulous Four.” Buck, Joel, David and Gary couldn’t be more excited to move into their home sweet home, which CCRI is hopeful will be ready by the end of 2023. The nonprofit is currently working on securing land with the City of Moorhead, MN.

“This is a situation where four gentlemen have, on the turn of a dime, developed a need for more-accessible housing,” Bock says, noting that one of them is now in a wheelchair much of the time. Another has been with CCRI for 28 years, since age 5. “Their families are so grateful for Gate City Bank.”

She added that while basic needs can be met through state funding, those dollars often don’t extend to adaptable housing for those with disabilities, which is why Gate City Bank’s donation makes a huge difference. Thanks to the bank, CCRI will be able to break ground this spring.

Larson followed up by saying that the alternative to accessible homes is usually a nursing home or assisted-living facility. “With home builds like this current one, families don’t have to wonder what’s going to happen to their loved ones as they age. This is a home where they can live out their lives.”

Providing Much-Needed Mental Health Services.

CCRI will also be using the $100,000 to support growing mental health needs in the communities it serves, an area where state funding has been especially tight in recent years. The nonprofit’s programs are essential, keeping clients out of psychiatric hospitals and emergency rooms, and helping staff meet people where they are in the community. The money will also help with bringing more staff on board.

“We have so many dedicated team members. One is celebrating 37 years in 2023!” Bock says. “However, like many other organizations, we are experiencing a workforce crisis.” She added that CCRI has lost over 100 workers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in “an extensive waiting list for services.” But once again, with Gate City Bank’s donation, there’s hope for tomorrow.

“Our team members are family to the folks that we support. When families experience a loss, our people experience that loss just as much,” Bock says. “We always say we’re a big family at CCRI. When folks are going through a struggle, that’s when our love shows most.”

Holding on to Hope.

Whenever one is in need of a smile, they need only visit CCRI’s website. Without a doubt, this is an organization that’s making a difference in the communities it serves, offering hope for some of our most special individuals – For a Better Way of Life.®

“As the community becomes better acquainted with people with disabilities,” Bock says, “stereotypes diminish and acceptance grows.”

Other Community Giving Initiatives:

smiling children enjoy life after being positively impacted by HOPE, Inc and Gate City

HOPE, Inc.

Learn more about how we donated $10,000 so that an annual nonprofit fashion show (which has become incredibly popular in the local community) could continue virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

state delegates YWCA staff and team members hold a ribbon cutting for Grace Garden

Grace Garden

Learn more about how we partnered with YWCA Cass Clay on a supportive housing initiative that promotes an environment of safety, stability and community for women and children who have experienced domestic abuse and poverty.

Young man escorts a smiling senior couple on a walk on a beautiful autumn day in North Dakota

Preventing Elder Abuse

Learn how we’re offering extra support to our beloved senior citizens, helping to prevent elder abuse in assisted living homes throughout our communities in ND and MN.

photo of the front of sunshine hospitality home on a sunny day with a donation from gate city bank

Sunshine Memorial Foundation

Comfort. Care. Compassion. See the story behind our $100,000 donation to Sunshine Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit in Grand Forks, ND, that supports patients and their families who must travel for health care.