In a time of uncertainty, community bankers powered forward for the third-annual Power of Community campaign. While the more traditional activities such as volunteering at food banks and local nursing homes, hosting shredding events at the bank, or teaching financial literacy in local school classrooms were no longer an option, bankers found new, innovative ways to support their communities during a time of immense need. Below are just a few examples:

As essential workers, bankers kept their branches open and served their communities. Many banks treated their staff to lunch weekly or even more often, while supporting their local restaurants who happily delivered a delicious meal or special treat.

(Above) BLC Community Bank, Little Chute, treated their staff the hand-crafted beverages from their local coffee shop.

(Below) AbbyBank, Abbotsford, used their facility as a collection site for people in the community to donate their hand-sewn masks, cleaning supplies and other PPEs that were then delivered to local health care facilities. As of April 9, the bank had collected over 17,000 PPE and sanitizing item donations. Several staff have demonstrated their talents by making the hand-sewn masks as well.

 

While food insecurity and unemployment grew throughout the state, several banks made significant monetary donations to local food banks and several more held staff fundraisers for cash or food donations. Bank leaders stepped up their game and challenged staff to make financial donations to their local food pantries, and then matched their donations.

(Above) Tim Schneider, CEO at Investors Community Bank, Manitowoc, proudly shows the bank's $25,000 donation to the food pantries in their eight markets. Since this photo, additional dollars have been donated.

Thousands of people around the state have been confined to the limits of their nursing homes or homes without visitors for what has felt like an eternity. To help them remember that people are thinking of them, staff at Cornerstone Community Bank, Grafton, sent special notes to their senior customers and those at local nursing homes. The bank received numerous calls that their notes brought cheer and a smile to residents' faces. What seems to be a small act can surely make a large impact.

(Above) Marketing coordinator Becki Schimpf poses with the bank's specially created notepaper. 

Staff at Wolf River Community Bank quickly realized just how essential their local grocery store workers were as community members flooded the stores and cleared out shelves. To thank the grocery store works for their overtime hours in keeping the shelves stocked, the bank presented EVERY employee at the local store with a $25 gift certificate for carry out orders from local restaurants, which then supported their local restaurateurs as well. (Below) Staff at Wolf River Bank decorated each location's drive-through to spread cheer and positive messages.

Even through classroom visits were off the table for this year's Teach Children to Save Day, bankers got creative on how to use their Reading Raises Interest Kits to connect with the kids in their community. Some recorded videos of staff reading the books and sent the link to teachers and students (ex: Port Washington State Bank, Prevail Bank, Medford, and The Stephenson National Bank and Trust, Marinette). Others worked with their local school district to include this year's book and/or activity book (It's a Habit, Sammy Rabbit!) in hard-copy packets mailed out to students with materials they need for the remainder of this school year. 

The thousands of bankers volunteers and generous donations during Power of Community are just a drop in the bucket of the work that banks do for their communities all year long. There is still time to highlight your bank's efforts in supporting the communities in our state. Fill out the form on www.wisbank.com/BanksPowerWI to let us know how you participated! You can also visit that page to click on an interactive map to view which banks participated and what their activities were. 

Thank you to all the banks and bankers who participated for your ongoing commitment to your communities. Be sure to join us again next year for Power of Community in April 2021!