GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Jan. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercantile Bank Corporation (NASDAQ: MBWM) ("Mercantile") announced today its contribution of $100,000 to the Upward Bound Program, an organization that provides fundamental and financial support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. Mercantile will donate $50,000 to each of the two foundations that support the local Upward Bound Program in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Upward Bound is a national program that was started locally by both Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Community College in 1978 for students enrolled in Grand Rapids Public Schools. The Grand Rapids program, which currently has 193 enrollees, provides opportunities for students to succeed in their pre-college performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits. Upward Bound serves high school students of low-income families and potential first generation college students with the ultimate goal of increasing the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from college. Students begin enrollment into the program during their freshman year of high school, at an annual cost of approximately $5,000 to financially support each student for the entire program. Upward Bound programs provide academic instruction in mathematics, laboratory sciences, composition, literature, and foreign languages, as well as tutoring, counseling, mentoring, cultural enrichment, and work-study programs. These programs are designed to assist students from groups that are traditionally under-represented in post-secondary education. Within the Grand Rapids program, 95 percent of the students that have enrolled in Upward Bound successfully completed the program and more than 90 percent have gone on to college. "2012 was a successful year for Mercantile, and one that would not have occurred without the support from our local community. As part of our appreciation, we wanted to make a meaningful contribution that would positively impact the work being done to support the education of youth within our community," said Michael Price, Chairman and CEO of Mercantile. "We are proud to support the good work being done by Upward Bound, and hope these contributions will make a difference in the lives of these students and potential future leaders here in Grand Rapids. We also urge other local businesses to consider Upward Bound as part of their planned giving, and together we can make a difference by investing in the educational success of our local youth." About Mercantile Bank Corporation Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mercantile Bank Corporation is the bank holding company for Mercantile Bank of Michigan. Founded in 1997 to provide banking services to businesses, individuals and governmental units, the Bank differentiates itself on the basis of service quality and the expertise of its banking staff. Mercantile has seven full-service banking offices in Grand Rapids, Holland and Lansing, Michigan. Mercantile Bank Corporation's common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "MBWM." Forward-Looking Statements This news release contains comments or information that constitute forward-looking statements (within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) that are based on current expectations that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from the results expressed in forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause such a difference include changes in interest rates and interest rate relationships; demand for products and services; the degree of competition by traditional and nontraditional competitors; changes in banking regulation or actions by bank regulators; changes in tax laws; changes in prices, levies, and assessments; the impact of technological advances; governmental and regulatory policy changes; the outcomes of contingencies; trends in customer behavior as well as their ability to repay loans; changes in local real estate values; changes in the national and local economies; and other factors, including risk factors, disclosed from time to time in filings made by Mercantile with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mercantile undertakes no obligation to update or clarify forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.