Durham, NC (June 3, 2015) – M&F Bank celebrated the 2015 recipients of the Mechanics and Farmers Bank Founders Award during Tuesday’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders of M&F Bancorp, Inc., recognizing Novant Health and Andrew B. “Andy” Widmark, Esq. The annual award recognizes individuals or entities that embody the “Founding Principles” based on hallmark values or attributes of the men who established the Bank in 1907, and which have guided the Bank ever since. Those Principles include: success through industrious labor; courage & leadership; embracing diversity; “doing well by doing good;” responsible citizenship; investing one’s time & resources in the community; commitment to excellence and attention to detail; taking the opportunity to make a difference; and being a mentor and role model.
Novant Health, a not-for-profit healthcare system based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is the first corporate entity to receive the Founders Award. Novant’s mission is to “improve the health of the communities it serves, one person at a time.” The organization fulfills that mission by providing unreimbursed health services regardless of one’s ability to pay, and supporting community health education groups, community screenings and other programs. A stellar example of Novant’s commitment is its Community Care Cruiser, a mobile clinic that provides immunizations to uninsured and underinsured children in the greater Charlotte area. Representing Novant Health were Joe Muster, Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer, and Kevin Price, Director of Supplier Diversity. Noting that the theme for the meeting was “Transformation,” Muster commented, “ What I’d like to say to the shareholders is that one thing you should never change is your quality of service at M&F. Novant is a large organization, and we have relationships with other financial institutions, but we have such a sense of warmth and caring with M&F. I hope we continue our partnership for years to come.”
The 2015 individual award recipient was real estate executive Andy Widmark. Widmark is the President & CEO of Mark Properties, Inc. and Mark Investments, Inc., which specialize in real estate management, brokerage, and investment. In 1993, he helped establish Downtown Durham, Inc. to serve as a catalyst for downtown revitalization. He was Professor of the Practice of Real Estate at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business from 1987 to 2013. Widmark’s varied and vastly successful career also includes being partner in two different legal firms, and serving as Adjunct Professor at Rutgers University School of Law. “This is quite an honor. I’ve had a long relationship with M&F, and it’s been a great one since the beginning. I appreciate the fact that working with them is simple, direct and hassle-free, and in my opinion, it’s the people that make the difference,” Widmark said after the ceremony.
Commenting on the Founders Award recipients for 2015, James H. Sills, President and CEO of M&F Bancorp, Inc. and M&F Bank, said, “Our honorees this year exemplify our Founding Principles in their dedication to excellence and commitment to community. Their examples remind us that we best honor M&F’s traditions not looking back, but by moving forward consistently and with conviction, and by setting our standards high.”
Mechanics and Farmers Bank (M&F Bank) is a state-chartered commercial bank founded in 1907, and has operated continuously and profitably since 1908. M&F Bank is one of few NC bank designated by the United States Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Its vision is to be the preferred community bank in its markets. M&F Bank is the wholly owned subsidiary of M&F Bancorp, Inc., a one-bank holding company headquartered in Durham, NC, with assets of approximately $297.8 million as of March 31, 2015. M&F Bancorp’s common stock is quoted in the over-the-counter market through the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol “MFBP.” For additional information, contact M&F Bancorp Corporate Headquarters, 2634 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd., Durham, NC at (919) 687-7800 or visit www.mfbonline.com
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L – R: Andrew B. “Andy” Widmark; Lenny F. Springs II, M&F Bank Board of Directors
L – R: Joe Muster, Novant Health; Lenny F. Springs II, M&F Bank Board of Directors; Kevin Price, Novant Health
Durham, NC (June 9, 2014)
Mechanics and Farmers Bank celebrated the 2014 recipients of the Mechanics and Farmers Bank Founders Award during last week’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders of M&F Bancorp, Inc. The annual award recognizes individuals or entities that embody the “Founding Principles” based on hallmark values or attributes of the men who established the Bank in 1907, and which have guided the Bank ever since. Those Principles include: success through industrious labor; courage & leadership; embracing diversity; “doing well by doing good;” responsible citizenship; investing one’s time & resources in the community; commitment to excellence and attention to detail; taking the opportunity to make a difference; and being a mentor and role model. This year, M&F selected award recipients in two categories: R. Kelly Bryant, Jr. and Lem Long, Jr. were recognized as Foundation Builders, individuals who have rendered many years of dedicated service in their respective fields; Christopher L. “Chris” Canty and Claude Z. Demby were recognized as Torch Bearers, those whose age or careers are not of the same duration as the previous category but who will carry their commitment to the Founding Principles into the future.
Local media dubbed R. Kelly Bryant, a well known and respected community activist, a “valuable repository of history.” Over the years, Bryant has been called on repeatedly to participate in research-gathering efforts by local groups and universities who wish to hear his first-hand accounts of historic events that occurred in Durham and across North Carolina over the past half century. A native of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Bryant received a degree in Business Administration from Hampton University. Following his graduation, he moved to Durham and was hired by North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, where he worked for 41 years. Bryant also served as a scout master for over 37 years, during which time he guided over 400 boys in the principles and practice of scouting. Bryant has served as a trustee at White Rock Baptist Church, where he also, not surprisingly, serves as church historian. Bryant is a life-long NAACP member, and holds office with the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina. In accepting his Founders Award, the nonagenarian Bryant had these words for M&F Bank: “Keep up the good work. And I still have an account with you.”Lem Long, Jr. is highly regarded as a businessman in the greater Charlotte area. He established his business, Long & Son Mortuary Services over 67 years ago, and today it is among the most successful and respected family-owned businesses in the region. Throughout his career, Long made it a practice to encourage young people to become established in their own careers, sometimes by providing jobs and often by assisting them with educational expenses. He helped M&F Bank generate business when the institution expanded to Charlotte in the early 1960s, and has supported them from that time on, serving on their City Advisory Board for Charlotte since its inception. Long later served as a member of the Bank’s Board of Directors from 1982 until 1995; following his retirement from the Board, he served as Director Emeritus until 2009. Accepting on Long’s behalf, his nephew, Brad Johnson said his uncle was “humbled, honored, and proud of his long association” with M&F Bank.
Baltimore Ravens defensive end Chris Canty received recognition not for his athletic ability, but instead received his Founders Award for his accomplishments off the football field. Canty puts into practice his philosophy of “planting good seeds in good soil” through the work of the Chris Canty Foundation, which is dedicated to enhancing the total development of youth, using the platform of sports to effect positive change. The Foundation’s core principles are Hope, Service, Respect, Justice and Compassion, and their ultimate goal is “to mold and develop well-rounded, character-driven individuals possessing the mental, physical, and emotional strength to win in the game of life as well as promote local and global change through community service.” To date, the Foundation’s programs have served over 5,000 young people. Canty, in accepting the Founders Award, thanked M&F “on behalf of the Foundation, our employees and the army of volunteers who help make what we do possible. I want to let you know that we will continue to make a positive impact in the lives of young people in North Carolina and New York.”
The evening’s final award recipient was Claude Z. Demby, president and CEO of Noël Group, a privately held management group that manages niche manufacturing firms, and employs people in locations across the U.S., China and Europe. Since becoming CEO in 2008, Demby orchestrated the company’s 180-degree turnaround from being severely in debt to being debt-free and poised for continued profitable growth. Demby serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, is on the Board of Advisors for Duke-Raleigh Hospital, and is the Chair-elect for the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, where he will become that organization’s first-ever African American chair. Along with his wife, Donna, Demby co-founded the Valour Academy, a private school in Raleigh. While at the podium, Demby related the story of being on vacation and pondering the things that were important to him; he decided at that time, to leave his job and to dedicate himself to economic development of communities. For Demby, that meant investing in and working with companies that would employ people in their local markets, and to start a school that would enfranchise young men from a population whose aggregate graduation from local public schools rate is less than 50%. Summing up why he is passionate about what he does, Demby said “I don’t know what tomorrow will hold, but I know that tomorrow is up to each and every one of us.”
Interim M&F Bank president, James Sansom, said “It is gratifying to see our Founding Principles reflected in the lives and body of work of such an impressive group. It bolsters pride in the heritage of M&F, and is a source of inspiration and hope for future generations.”