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Carter Bank & Trust Partners with DRBA to Form Eco Ambassador Council

Community CARE Posted on January 11, 2021

At Carter Bank & Trust, we believe that companies can be forces for positive change. As the Covid-19 pandemic uprooted the lives of thousands of our customers, we were proud to step up to the plate to serve our community. We were honored to assist our customers with filing Paycheck Protection Program applications, a lifeline to hundreds of local businesses as they weathered the storm of the pandemic. We’ve also donated thousands of dollars to food banks in communities throughout Virginia and North Carolina, filling a critical need for organizations focused on food security.

Protecting our Environment for the Good of our Community

We also believe that our influence for positive change doesn’t begin and end with the Covid-19 pandemic. In alignment with our tradition of care for our customers and our communities, we have partnered with the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) to form the Eco Ambassador Council (EAC).

The goal of the Eco Ambassador Council is to provide an opportunity for regional businesses to pool resources and shared actions for the benefit of our communities, our stakeholders, our environment, and our economy.

“As much as the pandemic dominated the news cycle, we also saw an onslaught of natural disasters brought on by climate change,” said Brad Langs, president and chief strategy officer. “It’s becoming clearer each year that we have to take action to stop climate change, and the Eco Ambassador Council is our first step in that direction.”

The idea for this initiative started with a sustainability project of our own: implementing rain barrels in May 2019. As we thought about it more, we realized that we could work with local companies and organizations to make an even greater impact than Carter Bank & Trust could accomplish alone.

“The sum of the effort is greater than the parts. The truth is that we can’t face climate change individually,” said Dawn DeHart, director of community development lending. “We have to do it together, as a community, to make any substantive progress.”

“We break it into three separate reasons to be a part of the Eco Ambassador Council,” said Tyler Carter, commercial banker. “It comes down to the ‘Triple Bottom Line’ people, planet, and profits – all for the benefit of our community.

“We see this as an investment in our community. We all have a responsibility to seek the greater good and protect our environment,” Carter explained. “In the end, we expect the investment to reap economic benefits for our community.”

Combined Efforts for Greater Environmental Impact

During the Eco Ambassador Council Breakfast Event held in December 2020, we offered business leaders the chance to share tips for improving the impact their business has on the environment while also helping their bottom line. Olivia Karavatakis, facilities director for Carter Bank & Trust, shared her own tips that our bank has been implementing in our own branches.

“With our combined efforts, our companies will not only be able to volunteer and actively do work in our communities, but we can also take strides to improve the buildings we work in and landscaping that surrounds us,” said Olivia Karavatakis, facilities director. “Taking steps to reduce energy consumption and planting pollinator-friendly plants will significantly help reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses and will help increase food production within our communities.”

More of these tips will continue to be shared and discussed at Council Meetings.

The Lifeblood of Southside Virginia

If you’ve spent time in Martinsville and Henry County, you know how vital the Dan River is to our Southside community, not only in supplying water – but also in providing recreational space for residents.

“We believe that the rivers contributing to the Dan River Basin are the region’s greatest resource,” said Tiffany Haworth, executive director for the Dan River Basin Association. “Our goal is to promote healthy water and clean air, as well as opposing current and future threats to our natural resources.”

“What investment we make in our region’s waterways now has the potential to make a positive impact for future generations,” she said.

That’s why Carter Bank & Trust and our partners below have decided to partner with DRBA, knowing that the fruit of our efforts will be multiplied in serving our community for decades to come.

Take Action with Us

We’re proud that we already have several organizations that have pledged to be a part of the Eco Ambassador Council.

  • Blair Construction
  • Carter Bank & Trust
  • Clark Gas & Oil
  • Frith Construction
  • Hooker Furniture
  • Jones & DeShon Orthodontics
  • The Lester Group

Each pledge consists of a $5,000 donation and a commitment to participate in future projects.

Once the founding members of the Eco Ambassador Council are finalized, each organization will be offered a menu of different projects to participate in. Each of the founding members will choose three projects, and the final Annual Project(s) will be announced in February. To pledge to become part of the Eco Ambassador Council, contact Tyler Carter at

“In a year that presented so many challenges, the formation of the Eco Ambassador Council is a truly positive and worthwhile effort for all involved,” said Beverly Pitzer, CRA & fair lending officer.

“I could not be happier to be a part of this collective team effort across our region.”

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