Supporter Spotlight: Damon Williams
Damon Williams joined the staff of First Citizens Bank more than 23 years ago. He says they were already supporting TAP at that time. In the last three years, though, the relationship has expanded significantly. It’s due, in large part, to a $50 million grant fund, which provides CRA-qualified philanthropic giving through 2025. This allows the bank to distribute monies in the communities it serves. “Through this benefits plan, we were able to provide more support,” Damon says.
Homegrown and headquartered in North Carolina, First Citizens is now the largest family-controlled bank in the country. “I was born and raised in Roanoke and familiar with TAP services in the community,” Damon explains. “TAP has been around this community for a very long time.” He sought to expand the relationship between the two institutions. “It was a great fit.”
The increased giving focus began through a 2020 initiative. It’s part of First Citizens’ five-year, $16 billion Community Benefits Plan that builds on the bank’s ongoing work to reinvest in low- and moderate-income communities and neighborhoods of color. The plan focuses on three areas: community development lending and investments, mortgages, and small business loans. Through this new effort, organizations can also apply for grants to fund programs.
TAP received $25,000 this year for our free Tax Clinic after applying for a grant. The bank doesn’t just provide money for the Tax Clinic, though. Over the years, First Citizens employees have volunteered their time to help complete tax returns for those we serve. “We try to participate and give back to the community as well,” says Damon.
He practices what he preaches outside of work as well. Damon serves on the TAP Property Committee and has been involved in our Business Seed program. “That’s given me great perspective on what they [TAP] do,” he says.
In his spare time, Damon runs Twin Hoops with his twin brother, Ramon, as a community service. The duo started this grassroots effort 27 years ago. Services are offered year-round, including basketball training and a summer camp for children ages 7–15. Most recently, Twin Hoops has supported basketball travel teams and tournaments. “We’re open to all participants who want to improve their skill set as players but also be good people in their communities,” explains Damon. “We do not turn anyone away. We want to give every kid an opportunity to participate and enjoy a fun, structured environment around basketball. We feel basketball is a game of life, too.” This summer, 250 came through the summer camp program.
Damon is currently a business development officer with First Citizens. Prior to that he was a community development officer. “We’re proud to be a supporter of TAP and the programs they provide,” he says. “We know they do the work that we don’t see on the surface, but behind the scenes in trying to provide quality services, affordable services, and we’re proud to help support the mission that they do. Of course, they’re wonderful people to work with, too.”