Fun in the Sun

Bankers engage their communities with fun and educational programming during the summer.

By Corey Carlisle

Summer is the time of year when many take advantage of warmer temperatures, plentiful daylight and school recess to enjoy outdoor pursuits and take vacations. The time of year also brings opportunities for bankers to give back to their communities and help students prepare for their futures.

Supporting the arts

Dollar Bank, through its sponsorship of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, connects the Pittsburgh community to arts and culture. With the belief that the arts should be accessible to all, the festival provides a free, family-friendly event. Recognized by USA Today as one of the top arts festivals in the nation, it is one of the most anticipated summer events in the region, attracting more than 400,000 visitors for ten days of free, diverse programming that ranges from public art and music performances to the popular Artist Market and Creativity Zone for children.

Biddeford Savings, a $409 million institution headquartered in Biddeford, Maine, created Music on Main Street, a free weekly lunchtime concert series held during the summer in a small green space adjacent to the bank. Realizing an opportunity to make an impact in the community, the event was launched in 2004 as a way to help promote downtown Biddeford, thank customers for banking with them and to raise money for some of the nonprofit organizations that work hard to make their community stronger.

Preparing students for the upcoming school year

Led by First National Bank & Trust’s Newcastle location manager Shannon Christian, the Chickasha, Okla.-based bank conceived and created Fill the Bus, a project designed to put 500 backpacks filled with school supplies into the hands of Newcastle elementary children in August. The project is much more than a single fundraising event. Together the team manages a series of fundraisers that leads up to the carnival-style outdoor public event, which brings together more than 30 local businesses and nonprofits to entertain and engage underprivileged children and their families.

Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions Financial offers a Financial Innovation Summer Internship, an interactive financial education program introducing competitively selected college interns to a variety of banking concepts and practices and giving them practical experience guiding Birmingham, Ala., high school students through financial education and college-preparatory exercises.

During their two-month immersion into the banking world, interns meet bank executives at all levels, visit urban branches, explore rural operations and receive classroom instruction covering subjects ranging from regulatory and marketing challenges to community development and charitable giving strategies. They also facilitate Summer Quest Birmingham, a citywide initiative that promotes financial education and college preparation among youths from economically distressed Birmingham communities.

Through Summer Quest, Regions interns mentor high school students in person, online (using Regions-funded software) and through social media. They lead discussion, educational video games, college admission exam-taking practices and more. The high school students, participating voluntarily during their summer vacation, earn points for each activity and become eligible for prizes, including two $1,000 college scholarships from the bank.

Offering curb appeal

Zions Bank employees and their family members to roll up their sleeves on summer weeknights and Saturdays during the bank’s annual Paint-a-Thon service project, now in its 27th year. Each summer, the bank selects 45 to 50 low-income, elderly, disabled and veteran residents across Utah and Idaho to have the exterior of their homes painted and repaired. In addition to painting, Zions employee volunteers provide yard clean-up, pruning, mowing, planting and minor repairs as needed by homeowners. The cost for all paint and supplies is contributed by Zions Bank.

About Corey Carlisle

Corey Carlisle
Corey Carlisle is senior vice president for bank community engagement at ABA and executive director of the ABA Community Engagement Foundation.