First Financial Foundation awards Erma Dorrer classroom grant to Susan Holland of Manchester Middle School

FREEHOLD, NJ (February 10, 2020)Manchester Township Middle School special education teacher, Susan Holland, was recently surprised by members of the First Financial Foundation with a $93.50 Erma Dorrer classroom grant for the 2019-2020 school year.

Holland submitted a grant application to purchase a set of books called The Egypt Game for her seventh grade social studies class, which includes students with multiple disabilities.

“My class will be studying ancient Egypt this year and I would like to include a cross-curricular component by reading this novel together as a class,” said Holland. “My students will identify with the characters as well as the content of the book. It would be a great opportunity for the students to strengthen their reading stamina and comprehension skills. I will continue to use these books in years to come.”

Since First Financial began with a group of Asbury Park schoolteachers back in 1936, the credit union has not forgotten its educational roots. That is why its Foundation offered current Monmouth and Ocean County educators seven (7) classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2019-2020 school year.

“Education has and always will be a pivotal piece of our organization, and we’re delighted to be able to help our local educators enhance their classroom experience,” said First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan.

Stephan also noted that the Foundation committee had a tough job of choosing just seven winning teachers out of the numerous applications received this year. “We received double the amount of classroom grant entries this year, which included heartwarming essays and videos from educators hoping to use the grant money to implement or maintain a variety of creative programs within their schools,” said Stephan. “We wish we were able to reward each and every one of our participants, and after extremely careful consideration we selected the seven initiatives in which we felt the grant money would have the largest impact.”

First Financial’s Assistant VP of Business Development Matthew Brazinski, VP of Marketing and Business Development Jessica Tortorice, and Grant Recipient Susan Holland with some of her students.

About First Financial Foundation (NJ)

Since 1994, First Financial has supported the Monmouth & Ocean communities with the Erma Dorrer Scholarship Program. Today, that program has been extended into the First Financial Foundation to assist charitable organizations of the Monmouth & Ocean County Communities.  The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation is a non-profit working to support a variety of community programs and organizations throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties.  We direct 100% of your contributions to programs because all administrative expenses are paid for by First Financial Federal Credit Union.  To learn more, visit


Nicole Baniowski
First Financial Foundation
732-312-1472 (Office)
732-312-1490 (Fax)

Jessica Tortorice
VP of Marketing and Business Development
First Financial Foundation

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