Near the end of the effort, the bank organized
a performance of the student play to raise the
remaining funds needed.
Most of the students come from families with modest means.
Some had never traveled outside of Sonoma County. Since they
could not afford to pay for the travel themselves, the students
turned to the community for help. The bank director, Jack
DeMeo, encouraged the bank to make a contribution, which
it did in the form of a $2,500 check.
When a group of bank representatives traveled to the school to
make the check presentation, they were impressed by what they
heard there. Three of the drama students talked about their lives
and the significance of the opportunity to travel to the festival.
“We left feeling that there was no way we could not get
involved in this campaign,” says Hunt.
The bank agreed to organize fundraising even though it was
aware that the campaign was not as high-profile as other causes
vying for community dollars. To get started, the bank looked
for every possible community connection to promote the drive.
The bank teamed up with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, agreeing to host one of the chamber’s monthly mixers
as a student fundraiser.
The bank worked with local food and beverage providers
as well as eight local businesses to donate goods for another
event, a fundraising raffle. In addition to the money raised in
donations and raffle ticket sales, the event raised awareness
with a new audience. An event guest invited Hunt to speak
at his Rotary Club about the fundraising effort. Hunt invited
three of the drama students to join. This presentation brought
in additional donations, helped raise awareness and sold more
tickets for fundraising events.
Near the end of the effort, the bank organized a performance
of the student play to raise the remaining funds needed. The
bank rented a theater at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in
The bank utilized its own radio advertising time to air ads
featuring three of the students on the county’s most listened-to
radio station. The bank promoted the performance through
printed fliers and posters. The bank’s website featured a link
to enable customers to purchase tickets.
The bank managed the ticket purchasing and coordinated
all aspects of the performance. The event was so successful
that, at its conclusion, the bank reported that it had not only
raised sufficient money to send the eight students to Scotland,
but that it obtained enough to send a ninth student—one who
had not anticipated going but had been actively involved in
“We committed an incredible amount of time and heart to
serve these students without any financial gain to ourselves,”
notes Hunt. “Our return on investment is already seen in their
positive and vibrant attitudes and potential for these students
to become pillars in our community as they move forward
with gratitude to change the lives of others as their community
Bank Employees Created Their Own
Separate Charitable Foundation
1st Summit Bank
Asset Size: $730 million
Employees at 1st Summit Bank have their own charitable
foundation, which involves funds that are separate from the
bank’s corporate giving. The employee foundation is unique
among financial institutions in the market.
All the foundation money is contributed voluntarily by the
employees themselves. The bulk of the funds are distributed to
community “quality of life” projects; some are made available
to bank workers faced with medical or financial hardships.
In essence, the bank amplifies the goodwill it receives as a
result of having two distinct ways of distributing money to the
The foundation has helped to reinforce the image of the bank
as a caring corporation that gives back to the community, notes
Elmer Laslo, president and CEO. “The Employee Foundation
has provided value over the years and helps define the fabric
of our professionals.”
The bank has 175 employees at 14 locations in five coun-
ties. In asset size, it is the second-largest of four locally owned
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OCTOBER 2012 | ABA BANK MARKETING | 31