By Rose Oswald Poels
As our members are well aware, advocacy is at the heart of the Wisconsin Bankers Association’s (WBA) work to support banks and communities throughout the state. In addition to meeting with legislators, introducing and monitoring legislation at both the state and federal levels, and organizing “Take Your Legislator to Work” days, our team and banker volunteers would not be successful on behalf of the industry without meaningful fundraising for our political accounts.
Last week, nearly 30 bankers took part in the 2023 Kohler Outing benefiting WBA advocacy. Attendees had the choice of golfing at Blackwolf Run or shooting at the River Wildlife Tactical Pistol & Rifle Course. Through the event, participants contributed over $65,000 in support of the Association’s issue advocacy efforts.
Bankers naturally play a crucial role in the Association’s advocacy efforts. I am very proud to say that the Association staff, comprised of nearly 50 employees, also support the Association’s advocacy efforts in addition providing value to the membership through their various positions.
Earlier this month, WBA hosted our annual staff fundraiser in support of Wisbankpac and the Alliance of Bankers for Wisconsin Conduit Fund (ABW) — two different political accounts created on behalf of Wisconsin’s banking industry. The event, which helps to raise funds in support of pro-banking political candidates, welcomed staff donations (though participation was not required) by way of a specified contribution from payroll, a check made out to one of the funds, or the purchase of one or more ‘Jeans Day’ stickers for a casual dress day at the office. All money raised directly aids in WBA’s advocacy efforts.
For their generosity, and to honor the chosen sport of many bankers, WBA held a collection of U.S. Open-themed events. During the week, every staff member was invited to take part in a chipping competition and rounds of mini golf in our building.
I am proud to announce that our staff collectively raised over $10,550 this year — exceeding our goal of $7,000. This amazing feat by our team highlights the commitment and dedication each WBA staff member has to the industry and our membership.
As we look ahead, our Association has many priorities for the 2023–2024 legislative session — including a tax law change, fending off interchange legislation, and supporting banking modernization — and hopes to raise at least $300,000 to support our advocacy initiatives. With so much at stake, I encourage every WBA-member bank to consider the ways in which their team can partner with WBA to make a difference on behalf of the industry. Whether you choose to make a contribution and join the newly created Leadership Circle, or work alongside your team to earn the WBA BIGG (Bankers Involved with Grassroots and Government) Award, the support and involvement of every member bank is critical to the continued success of our advocacy efforts.
Thank you to those who continue to aid the Association in advocating for a healthy environment for banks in Wisconsin. If you are interested in learning more about the ways in which your bank can get involved, please do not hesitate to reach out to me, Vice President – Government Relations Lorenzo Cruz, or Director – Government Relations Tyler Foti.