To mark its fourth annual Volunteer Day, First Interstate Bank closed all branches at noon on September 8 to grant employees paid time to volunteer in their communities. More than 1,820 employees supported 234 separate nonprofit organizations across six states, making this year’s impact the largest ever.
Volunteer Day in Bend
The overarching philanthropic focus of this year’s Volunteer Day was anchored in combating poverty, hunger, and homelessness. However, employees were empowered to select whichever nonprofit organization they desired to ensure they catered to the specific needs of their communities. Here in Bend, volunteers participated in 12 service projects, supporting 12 organizations including Ronald McDonald House Charities, Central Oregon Veterans Ranch, Discover Your Northwest, and Deschutes Children’s Foundation, among others. Throughout these organizations, volunteers could be seen cooking meals for families, planting flowers, cleaning playgrounds, renovating the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch greenhouse, building bat boxes, and organizing and moving furniture.
“This day simply concentrates and magnifies the efforts of our wonderful employees, who give and give generously to the places where we live and work,” said Bill Kuhn, Bend Market President. “We are honored to celebrate the power of community with our neighbors today.”
Recognizing the challenges brought on by COVID-19, employees were given the option to volunteer onsite at organizations that accommodated safe social distancing. Additional options allowed employees to volunteer remotely—from their home, from the Bank, or virtually by hosting webinars or financial education seminars.
“The First Interstate Bank group of volunteers was a wonderful group who was excited to help our organization. The impact is that our house is designed to be a place of respite for families who have hospitalized kiddos,” said Tina Haskell, guest services manager for Ronald McDonald House Charities. “When the grounds and house are taken care of it helps create that feeling of respite. Also, a home cooked meal made by community members makes a world of difference for our families.”
Commitment to Community
Giving back on Volunteer Day isn’t just a one-and-done focus for First Interstate. It’s a philanthropic philosophy employees bring to life every day at the $18.9 billion organization with branches across six states.
“Giving back to the places we call home is what makes us who we are,” said First Interstate President and CEO, Kevin Riley. “Yes, we’re a full-service community bank, but more importantly, we’re a trusted community partner and neighbor. We are honored to celebrate the power of community with you on Volunteer Day—and every day.”
In addition to Volunteer Day, First Interstate champions other innovative philanthropy-focused programs, including Teach Children to Save, Neighbors Feeding Neighbors, Coats and More, and Get Smart About Credit. Additionally, through the organization’s volunteer match program, the bank pays nonprofits $10 for each hour First Interstate employees volunteer at their organizations. First Interstate also matches employee donations to nonprofits and is committed to donating 2% of its net income before taxes to charitable organizations. In fact, over the past 11 years, First Interstate has contributed $36.3 million in donations and 143,000 volunteer hours to nonprofits across its footprint.
Making a Difference in the Places We Call Home