Bank Volunteers Rides for Cancer Patients

By Laine Crosby

More than one million people in the United States get cancer each year.

Like many banks, the Inland Bank and Trust, Oak Brook, Ill., wanted to do something to assist in the fight again cancer. But the bank felt that it should do something beyond contributing money to the American Cancer Society.

As a result, the bank launched a volunteer project in which bank employees assist cancer patients who need rides in order to receive chemotherapy. The employees provide rides in their personal vehicles during the weekday—when the need for rides is the greatest.

The bank provides paid leave for participating employees and also reimburses them for mileage.

The effort is connected to the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program. The bank’s program is called Project Purple Roads, and, according to the society, is the first corporate Road to Recovery plan.

The ABA awarded its 2015 ABA Community Commitment Award in the category of “volunteerism” to Inland Bank as a result of the project.

Purple Roads

 The inspiration for the project came when Inland Bank’s CEO Howard Jaffe saw a Super Bowl ad from Chevrolet about helping patients receive assistance on their journey with cancer. He followed up by visiting the American Cancer Society to learn how the bank could serve, beyond a monetary contribution.  The bank partnered with the Society’s Road to Recovery program and Inland Bank’s Project Purpose Roads was started in 2014.

With over 40 active drivers, the bank ensures patients are able to get to their appointments, and the drivers provide a little cheer and good will along the way. Since the Purple Road Program’s inception, the bank has been able to provide hundreds of rides for cancer patients in the counties where the bank serves.

Inland Bank works directly with the American Cancer Society to create, implement and manage this program, and the bank has become more involved with the American Cancer Society as well. Inland Bank CEO Howard Jaffe sits on the board for the American Cancer Society Task Force and also sits on the board for CEOs Against Cancer. The partnership has grown and the bank continues to value and support the American Cancer Society, and volunteer whenever possible.


The bank offers its employees mileage reimbursement to participate in driving, and pays employees for time taken off during the week when rides are most needed. There is no limit on how many rides employees provide as long as they have management approval.

The American Cancer Society provides background drivers’ checks through the state to ensure drivers are in good standing and are fully insured. The American Cancer Society also holds an hour-long class drivers must pass before participating.


The program leaders with Inland Bank are the CEO, corporate secretary and the marketing vice president. This group works with the American Cancer Society to craft the program details and create training materials. The leadership team meets quarterly with the society to review the program and to and discuss improvements. And as of July 2015, the bank began onsite training so more employees can take part in the program.

Scaleable and shareable

This program is economically, environmentally and socially scalable for both the long- and short-term, with other organizations that are interested in a similar program. For example, with the success of the Inland Bank model, other companies such as Motorola have adopted the same program and have even expanded the program to include their company retirees, which helps to broaden the reach for patients in need.

American Cancer Society has been given the bank’s welcome and introduction materials to make starting the program turnkey. This program can easily be adopted by other organizations that care about their communities and making a difference.

(Other banks that might be interested in developing their own Road to Recovery project should contact the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345.)

Laine Crosby is the editor of ABA Bank Compliance magazine.