Gulf Coast Bank and the Patout Family have established a scholarship endowment at South Louisiana Community College in memory of Charles A. Patout, founder of the community bank.
This investment is part of the bank's celebration of 50 years in business this year.
The formal announcement was made today at SLCC on Bertrand Drive in Lafayette.
"We chose to create the Charles A. Patout Endowed Scholarship because SLCC offers education that is accessible. The variety of programs and the number of SLCC campuses is great and we're excited to be a support of all that the college does," said Pat Patout, chair of the board. "Education is the key to a better life and we want this for everyone."
Charles Patout founded the bank in 1971 in Abbeville, and opened the doors with four employees. Today the bank has nine branches and 120 employees. Patout died in 1999, leaving behind a legacy of hard work and service.
"We need to have an educated workforce that can help and we can all hire in the future. Somebody that can come in through the banking industry. There are a lot of community banks in this market and we want to be able to make sure we have educated and trained people in those areas," said Paul Patout, president and CEO of the bank.
"Our father had so much passion for the bank and all the communities we get to serve," Paul Patout said. "He understood we had to earn our customers' business. They have to want to choose us."
The scholarship is eligible for Regents' matching funds which, if granted, will bring the endowment to $100,000. Once invested, the scholarship will be awarded annually to a full-time SLCC student studying business who has a minimum 2.5 grade point average. Any Louisiana resident attending any of SLCC's campuses who meets the GPA requirement will be eligible. Awards are expected to begin in 2023.
The bank and the Patout family has been a partner with SLCC for years; Paul Patout served on the SLCC foundation board in its early years, the bank endows a scholarship in Vermilion Parish for the SLCC campus there, and the bank has helped underwrite several SLCC initiatives over the years.
"In typical fashion of the Patout family, they are celebrating an incredible milestone in their business by giving back to the community," said Lana Fontenot, executive director of the SLCC Foundation. "The secret sauce behind their success has been genuine care, and it's evident in the way Gulf Coast Bank and the Patout family support the local community."