SOUTHERN PINES, NC, August 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — First Bank announces the creation of the “Out of This World Educator Awards” as part of its 2022 Project Launch initiative. Designed to celebrate and honor those educators who go above and beyond to stimulate, drive, and inspire student success in the Carolinas, nominations will be accepted beginning August 15, 2022 and go through September 18, 2022.

The educators selected will be given $5,000 in recognition of all their efforts and will be celebrated at an event on October 6, 2022 in Southern Pines, NC. Nominations can be made by anyone in North Or South Carolina in support of their favorite local educator at any level of education and from traditional or non-traditional learning environments. More information can be found at

The Out of This World Educator Awards are in conjunction with the First Bank’s Project Launch initiative, which sees the bank committing $500,000 to support new and ongoing educational programs throughout communities in the Carolinas. The program consists of multiple facets, including monthly winners selected from entries in a grant contest, social media interaction funding, book donations and drives, and more. Giving funds for interaction on particular Project Launch related social media posts. Recently First Bank committed to give up $10,000 to Communities in Schools of NC and SC for each like, comment or share on social media.

June Project Launch Winners

First Bank continues to receive entries for Project Launch and to select winners each month. In June 2022the following were awarded funds, totaling $15,000:

  • Jan Ray of Pinehurst, NC – Montgomery Central High School
    Jan is focused on creating an Occupations Course of Study at Montgomery Central High School that students with disabilities will run, called Timber Café. The café enables students to gain real-life, hands-on work experience so they graduate with employable skills and are better equipped to be independent adults.
  • Elder Kelvin Rivers of Goldsboro, NC – Operation Way Out
    Dedicated to helping at-risk youth rise above their circumstances, Elder Kelvin created Operation Way Out and is expanding the organization’s services to include a boxing center to help keep kids off the streets. The center will provide a fun, safe and healthy environment where students can learn a new skill and prosper.
  • Cathy Mintz of Wilmington, NC – Cape Fear Center for Inquiry
    Cathi is developing a financial literacy unit for 7th and 8th grade students at the school. The curriculum will introduce students to income, expenses, taxes, lending and budgeting to enable students to apply upper-level math concepts in real-world scenarios.
  • TJ Smith of Highlands, NC – International Friendship Center and the Literacy Learning Center of Highlands
    Funds will help provide afterschool and summer programs at The Literacy Center of Highlands with six-week courses with children, teens, and their guardians to learn the essentials of kitchen and food safety. The classes will focus on how to shop smarter, use nutrition information to make healthier choices, and cook delicious, affordable meals to improve wellness.

Please visit to learn more about all of the initiatives above.

The following highlights the Project Launch winners from previous months:

  • May 2022$48,500 awarded:
    • Jennifer Holley of Elizabeth City, NC – Sheep Harney Elementary School
    • Nick Jaeger of Asheville, NC – Early Learning Center at the Irene Wortham Center
    • Anna Britt of Durham, NC – Glenn Elementary School
  • April 2022$10,000 awarded:
    • Nadine Traughber of Cary, NC – Trips for Kids RDU
  • March 2022$8,250 awarded:
    • Roslyn Carney of Marshall, NC – Bush Creek Elementary School
    • Jaquarnia Ingram of Cheraw, SCLong Middle School
    • Amber Greene of Winston-Salem, NC – Quality Education Academy
  • February 2022$22,800 awarded
    • Octavio Perez of Hickory, NC – Clyde Campbell Elementary School
    • Angela Ramos Martinez of Burlington, NC – Eastlawn Elementary School
    • Jonathan Thill of Asheboro, NC – Black Entrepreneurs and Business Owners
    • Devin Hocutt of Angier, NC – Harnett Central High School
    • Debbie Bond of Elgin, SC – PACE Academy
    • Leesa Jones of Washington, NC – Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum
    • Lynn Duffy of Leland, NC – bringing a Story Walk to the Leland area
    • Liz Noland of Winston-Salem, NC – The Downtown School

About us:

First Bank is the banking subsidiary of First Bancorp and is headquartered in Southern Pines, North Carolinawith total assets of approximately $10.6 billion. As a state-chartered community bank, First Bank operates 110 bank branches in North Carolina and South Carolina. Since 1935, First Bank has taken a tailored approach to banking, combining best-in-class financial solutions, helpful local expertise, and technology to manage a home or business. First Bancorp’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “FBNC.” Visit our website at Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.

SOURCE First Bank


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