Elizabeth Burns Anderson, a fifth-generation banker and Magnolia native, was named executive director of the new Farmers Bank Foundation in May. She is also a senior vice president at the bank.
Burns Anderson has more than 20 years of experience in finance and banking. She was appointed consumer representative of the Arkansas State Medical Board last year and is a Lonoke School Board member. Burns Anderson is also a founding member and chairman of the Lonoke Community Fund, a chapter of the Arkansas Community Foundation, and president of the Lonoke Century League. She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and commercial banking from the University of Arkansas.
Burns Anderson, along with her husband, Jamie, will represent Arkansas in October at the Sunbelt Ag Expo Awards Banquet in Georgia.
What does the Farmers Bank Foundation do?
The Farmers Bank Foundation purposely enriches the quality of life in the communities where the customers and employees of Farmers Bank & Trust reside. Our bank was founded 115 years ago by helping farmers with their crops and supporting entrepreneurs to make an economic impact in Columbia County. This foundation will leave those same footprints from Saline County, Arkansas, to Prosper, Texas. We want to leave a legacy on each market the bank serves.
Is there a similar foundation that inspired Farmers Bank to start one?
Various banks have foundations, but the Farmers Bank Foundation not only makes grants to nonprofit organizations, we provide tools to equip each with a better future moving forward. For example, we just granted $150,000 to the Magnolia Boys & Girls Club and supported the club in a matching capital campaign that included a successful kickoff event. I have always been inspired by the works of the Arkansas Community Foundation. They have supported our state in a multitude of ways.
How big is the foundation’s endowment?
Our foundation is funded from Farmers Bank & Trust shareholders and employees across Arkansas and Texas. At the end of each year, we will set the foundation budget based on community needs and the bank’s profit.
How will it make grants?
Grants will be rewarded on an as-needed basis. Each grant requires a statement of financial stability of the applicant along with impact statements from each of our market presidents. We also have a Blue Heart Employee Fund to which our employees can donate and help support other employees in need. The Farmers Bank Foundation will also keep a record of our employees’ volunteer hours, board work and committees served to support their interest, programs and passions. We care about what our employees care about.
What attracted you to this line of work?
I have always been driven to help in my own community, but this foundation allows me to expand the bank’s corporate giving. I am a fifth-generation employee of the bank, so I take my job seriously and do what I can to support all the employees and customers we serve. When our CEO, Chris Gosnell, approached me about this project, it was an easy yes.