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December 16, 2015


Corporate Communications
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
(214) 441-8445

Retired Teacher Fulfills Mission to Provide Free Tutoring to Local At-Risk Students, Thanks to $12K Grant

CROWLEY, LOUISIANA, December 16, 2015 — Audrey Spencer is not your typical retiree.

As an educator in Crowley, Louisiana, Mrs. Spencer dedicated her life to helping children. Upon retirement, she was distressed to see the rate at which Crowley children were failing to advance to the next grade level, and knew she had to get involved. In 2012, she founded Empowering the Community for Excellence (ETCFE), a free community-based after school tutoring program providing academic assistance to students in grades 1-5.

ETCFE recently received a $12,000 Partnership Grant Program (PGP) award through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and First National Bank. The funds will be used to help pay teachers' salaries, as well as supplies for students, not only allowing the free program to continue operating, but allowing it to reach more students.

"One of the best solutions to curve the increasing dropout rate is to connect with students, build a strong bond between the students, their families, the schools, and the community," said Mrs. Spencer. "We currently have 106 students and 19 teachers. Without the grant, we wouldn't have those numbers and reach as many students as we do."

Mrs. Spencer's dream was to bring tutoring to students in need via a mobile van. When that goal did not materialize, she renovated her great grandmother's house into a three-room tutoring facility. A building donated by the Florence Mauboules Charitable Trust made it possible to have a larger facility of 10 classrooms, each of which is sponsored by a local business, club, or individual.

First National Bank sponsored the Technology Room.

"First National Bank donated a lot of the equipment and learning materials in the Technology Room," said Greg Arceneaux, vice president of Lending at First National Bank. "Our ongoing commitment to ETCFE allows us to help carry out Miss Audrey's vision."

First National Bank joins various other local businesses in keeping ETCFE running. In addition to donating learning materials to the Technology Room, the bank also helps ETCFE on a grassroots level by helping to paint rooms, as well as donates money to the organization on a monthly basis.  

"We can't thank First National Bank enough," said Mrs. Spencer. "They've been very supportive."  

Mr. Arceneaux said the bank is motivated by Mrs. Spencer's passion for what she does.

"Seeing the passion that Miss Audrey has for the program, and how the kids benefit from the program is really inspiring," he said.

The structure of the PGP allows FHLB Dallas member institutions like First National Bank to make a contribution of $500 to $4,000 to a community-based organization (CBO), which FHLB Dallas will match at a 3:1 ratio. In 2015, FHLB Dallas awarded $225,000 in PGP funds to support 25 organizations.

Greg Hettrick, vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas, applauds the local organizations that have partnered to support programs such as ETCFE, especially First National Bank.  

"FHLB Dallas is proud to support First National Bank in their efforts to make free tutoring available to the Crowley community," said Mr. Hettrick. "We want to make sure that we're doing everything in our power to support our members and their continued endeavors to positively impact their communities."

About First National Bank

First National Bank of Louisiana is an independent community bank whose mission is to ensure that the stability of the communities surrounding Crowley, Louisiana is strengthened by its commitment to delivering courteous, attentive, and personal service. Established in the 1920s, the bank has grown to hold over $317 million in assets. First National Bank is committed to attracting and retaining exceptional personnel who are motivated to serve their customers' ever-changing needs, as well as building strategic partnerships to enhance shareholder value. For more information, visit

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank system created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $43.0 billion as of September 30, 2015, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced advances and other credit products to approximately 865 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. Visit for more information.