Community Impact: They’re Banking On It
by Marjorie M. Maas, SHARE Omaha executive director
Who is a do-gooder? Either you are one, or you know a few. SHARE Omaha defines do-gooders as those who see a need and do good for others or the community; those who raise their hands to help when a crisis or challenge arises around them; and those who regularly prioritize this good work, even in the light of personal sacrifice.
SHARE Omaha tells stories of volunteers, donors and general do-gooders regularly on our blog at SHAREomaha.org, and with this column we seek to act as a megaphone for those making our community and metro area better. These do-gooders could be individuals, businesses, families or nonprofit organizations.
Giving back comes first
“It’s been our desire to be a bank that leads—from the beginning that has been our goal, to be the center of our communities—to lead in positive ways, to give back to the community and teach others to give back to the community,” said Judy Guttau, Board Secretary, TS Banking Group (Treynor State Bank).
When Judy, Mick and Josh Guttau sat down for lunch in 2007 to discuss how much the company should reinvest into its communities, they did a blind test, writing down a percentage on a napkin. When they flipped them over, each one had the same amount: 10 percent. That became the bank’s commitment: 10 percent of pre-tax income annually would be given back to the community, and those dollars are reinvested locally.
The bank also offers 50 hours of volunteer time to each of its employees each year. As a result of this financial and time investment, since 2007, TS Bank has reinvested over $4 million dollars into the southwest Iowa communities they serve, and their employees are very active in board service and volunteering.
As the presenting sponsor two years running of #GivingTuesday712, SHARE Omaha has been able to see this commitment firsthand. It was TS Bank’s goal to engage even more employees and business clients this year. Companywide, they had locations and departments “adopting” local nonprofits; the five adopted nonprofits in Council Bluffs included Children’s Square, Habitat for Humanity Restore, MICAH House, MOSAIC and New Visions Homeless Services. The TS Bank Atlantic location adopted the Ann Wickman Childcare Center.
The TS Bank Corning location is adopting Fostering Hope of Southwest Iowa.
Impact included cash donations and supply drives yielding home goods, items and toys for children of all ages, foodstuffs and hygiene materials: 3,977-plus items donated.
Community is at their core
In reference to their stewardship of our community and #GivingTuesday402 presenting sponsorship, Core Bank President and CEO John Sorrell said,
“When it comes to overcoming the challenges of 2020, Core Bank is striving to be so much more than a bank. We are creating a better future for our families and small businesses. Core Bank is all in—with our dollars and with our service—for the good of the Omaha metro.”
Core Bank provides each employee a stipend called Core Cares Dollars to use for charitable giving throughout the year. The employee is able to choose how and where these funds are used to support those in need; 100 percent of Core Bank employees participated in this giving-back effort in 2020.
This commitment also plays out in yearly traditions for the Core Bank employees, culminating in winter fun. The bank has a giving initiative, Christmas Families, in which they adopt families and share holiday gifts. For the past 22 years, Christmas Families has provided gifts for over 100 families and nearly 120 elderly individuals.
Each year, bank internal leaders work with several local schools and their counselors to obtain wish lists for families and with the Eastern Nebraska Office of Aging to obtain wish lists for elderly individuals in need. These wish lists are then turned over to employees for them to “work their magic,” explained Core Bank campaign organizer and VP of Human Resources Lindsey Wedel. “Without knowing much about these families and individuals, our employees choose items from these wish lists to purchase. The care and thought that our employees put into the items they purchase is just remarkable! They shop for these gifts as if they were purchasing an item for a close family member. ‘Is the coat warm? Is it good quality and will it last several winters? Is it this little girl’s favorite color?’ It’s truly heartwarming.”
A second winter example of this community investment is the passionate employee participation with Special Olympics Nebraska’s Polar Plunge. Core Bank has been plunging every year since 2010. Starting with seven or eight team members back then, it has grown to an enterprise-wide commitment raising nearly $100,000 for the cause and its athletes. In February 2020, the bank had 52 plungers and raised over $18,000, which was the most of any team in the Polar Plunge event last year.
Chili cook-offs, jeans days and pick-the-plunger contests all raise additional funds yearly. Special Olympics Nebraska helps spur the excitement by hosting lunch-and-learn events for the bank, and the bank has been paired with an athlete and their parent in recent years, which has only increased the employee engagement.
“It’s for a great cause, and we have fun,” said bank organizer and Executive Vice President Mike Rasmussen. “It’s tough to beat something that is good for a Special Olympics and fun to do. Couple the fun with the experiences we’ve had with lunch-and-learns, and it’s easy to see why people take part.”
Who are your do-gooders?
We bet you can think of leaders, either public businesses or neighbors, who have made a commitment to our community and acted on it. Tell us! Shoot an email to info@SHAREomaha.org or find us on social media. SHARE Omaha exists to be a conduit between nonprofit needs and public doing good. The best ways, we think, to spur that action is to inspire through telling stories of do-gooder actions and emphasizing that tiny acts of goodness add up to a healthy and engaged community.
Find your fit for volunteering and supporting the causes you care about at SHAREomaha.org