Bangor Savings Bank Foundation has begun its unique grant-making initiative Community Matters More. Through the initiative, Maine’s largest independent bank encourages people all over the state to vote on how best to allocate $100,000 the bank has pledged to give to 68 Maine nonprofit organizations.

This year’s effort follows a successful initiative held for the past three years, in which tens of thousands of people participated by casting votes for organizations that mattered most to them. Last year, Mainers cast more than 86,000 votes for hundreds of nonprofits resulting in 68 grants.

“We are proud to have our company join the people of Maine in their commitment to their communities,” said Yellow Light Breen, senior vice president of Bangor Savings Bank, in a news release. “This community giving effort generates important financial support and public visibility for a very worthy list of local nonprofits. Our effort this year is particularly timely given the economic struggle so many nonprofits face. We urge people all across the state to help us allocate these funds.”

Breen said all of the 48 nonprofits listed on the ballot are winners just by participating.

“All are worthy causes, and all deserve public attention,” Breen said. “The ballots contain a list of 48 nonprofits as well as write-in slots. These write-ins are just as important to us. We know that there are many more deserving organizations out there also doing critical work in making communities vital and vibrant.”

Each of the 48 nonprofits listed on the ballot will receive at least a $1,000 grant for participating in the program, and the top 20 write-ins that get the most public support will also receive a grant from the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation. The eight organizations among the 68 that receive the most votes from the public will each receive $5,000.

Ballots are available at local Bangor Savings Bank branches and at each of the participating nonprofits. Votes can also be cast online at communitymattersmore.com. The ballots need to be returned to one of Bangor Savings Bank’s 52 branches. Branches are located at 5 Commercial St. in Rockport and 73 Camden St. in Rockland. Bangor Savings Bank will distribute thousands of ballots across the state, seeking input from its customers and the general public, who have until March 2 to cast their votes. Winners will be announced by the end of March.

Community Matters More will not only provide financial support to a list of 48 nonprofits, it will also generate substantial exposure and community awareness for the work these organizations do to enhance the quality of life in Maine.

“It was an unexpected opportunity during a challenging year for nonprofit organizations,” said Patricia Beckwith, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House of Bangor, a grant recipient in last year’s Community Matters More program. “We are very appreciative to everyone who voted for us and to Bangor Savings Bank for offering the nonprofit community a program that benefits so many agencies and so many people. Bangor Savings Bank is an outstanding example of charitable involvement in our community.”