Jenson Strock, Bank Customer Service Specialist
Being a community partner is more than just a catchy slogan; for Waterford Bank, N.A., it’s a promise.
Over the past seven months, bank staff have stepped up and given back – and they aren’t done yet.
Here’s a look at the community service efforts already completed for Waterford in 2022, and a sneak peek into what’s yet to come.
Community Outreach | Service in 2022
No one ever wants to leave their child’s side during a crisis – so Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio (RMHC) has made sure that parents of children in need of around the clock medical care are never far away.
Waterford bankers spent several hours cooking meals for the families served by the Ronald McDonald House in Toledo, Ohio this January.
Just minutes from Toledo’s Russell J. Ebeid Children’s Hospital, RMHC provides lodging and meals, allowing families to focus their energy on what matters most.
With food to prepare daily, the Ronald McDonald House relies heavily on volunteers. On Jan. 12, our bankers jumped in to help.
The Bank paid $270 dollars and provided six volunteers to cook dinner for the children and families served by the Toledo Ronald McDonald House. Susan Blausey, Aaron Iffland, Gabbi Robinson, Kaitlyn Dummitt, Michael Martin, and Jeremy Zeisloft answered the call, stepping forward to plan and cook dinner for the more than 30 people staying onsite.
“While volunteering at RMHC, I got to see our Waterford crew combine camaraderie and teamwork to provide a moment of joy to families going through the unimaginable,” Iffland said.
In the Toledo-area alone, RMHC has helped 2,250 families, with over 22,000 total families served throughout the greater Northwest Ohio region.
The charity’s programs offer a place to call home, at little or no cost, so families can access quality care regardless of their location.
Our bankers came together to raise several thousand dollars, as well as financial career awareness, for youth across Northwest Ohio with Junior Achievement.
Waterford bankers rolled into Southwyck Lanes on a mission this past March: to support local career development – and to knock down some pins, of course.
The classic Junior Achievement of Northwest Ohio Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser generates over $20,000 per year for the delivery of financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and career development education programs throughout Northwest Ohio.
This year, our Waterford bankers single-handedly raised over $2,300.
Waterford’s commitment to Junior Achievement didn’t stop after a couple rounds of bowling. In May, six bankers spent a combined total of 42 hours educating students about banking careers and financial basics at the JA Inspire Career Fair.
To get kids engaged, staff got creative with an educational game called, “Are You Smarter Than a Banker,” teaching them the ins and outs of financial jobs.
“It was exciting to present beside companies like Spangler Candy and the Toledo Police Department,” Waterford Bank Credit Vice President Dawn Vandenbroek said. “We put a lot of hours into creating an engaging game and you could tell the kids were actually having fun while learning about banking careers.”
Junior Achievement brings together local businesses and schools to teach kids about the economics of life through entrepreneurship, financial literacy and career readiness education programs, reaching 25,000 students in Northwest Ohio each year.
Ever vigilant for cyber crime, Waterford took a proactive approach – offering a lunch and learn to Michigan business customers to help detect and prevent fraud before it happens.
On May 4, Waterford staff in Michigan teamed up with Michigan CFO Associates to host a Cybersecurity and Fraud Luncheon.
Waterford’s Michigan President, Grant Smith, kicked off the event, introducing speakers Brian Bach, of Michigan CFO and Scott Bailey, of nDiscovery. Bach and Bailey broke down how business fraud and embezzlement can occur, explained the latest schemes used by scammers, and trained guests on how they can identify weak spots and reduce fraud exposure in their own organizations.
“Data breaches, company leaks, and phishing scams are a major threat to any business,” Grant said. “We are going beyond simply offering secure tools by equipping customers with actionable steps they can take to better protect themselves.”
Susan Blausey, AVP, Information Technology, uses a nail gun to help frame a house for a new homeowner through Habitat for Humanity.
Waterford bankers aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get the job done.
On June 16, our volunteers got together to transform a literal hole in the ground into the foundation for a beautiful new home.
They arrived to find an empty lot and a crawl space filled with water – but, under the supervision of Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, our bankers were able to dry up the space, cut materials and nail-gun the first 16 floor joists of the property.
The team’s efforts kicked off construction for a single father and his daughter to have a home of their own and gave them a unique way to connect and learn some new skills.
“I loved working on the Habitat for Humanity build,” SVP and CIO Cathy Martin said. “The build leader was awesome – very helpful and fun! I think we all learned some things that day.”
In total, Waterford provided 49 volunteer hours from seven workers over a one-day build.
Habitat for Humanity’s program provides housing for families earning 30-80% of the area’s median income. Participants go through financial coaching and receive one-on-one budgeting and credit review sessions with NeighborWorks certified housing counselors.
Our bankers hit the roads several dozen times a month to deliver food and friendship to seniors and those with medical needs who benefit from Mobile Meals deliveries.
We want to make sure our community is taken care of.
To that end, members of our team pick up and deliver food to seniors through Mobile Meals of Toledo several times a month.
But, it isn’t just about the food – our volunteers check on the well-being of these residents and give an update to Mobile Meals. For some recipients, these volunteers may be the only visitors they see in a day.
Our bankers still have plenty more to do this year, including two more build’s for Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County.
Then, around the holidays, the bank will team up with Sylvania Area Family Services to make the season unforgettable for families in need. Our bankers plan to adopt three families, and come fall, they will go all-in on fundraising activities. Every penny raised will go toward providing them with gifts and holiday meals.
Community Outreach | Financial Support
In addition to boots on the ground support, Waterford Bank makes financial contributions to causes we care about. Here are some of the projects we’ve supported monetarily this year.
- To date, Waterford has donated $586 by way of monthly donations to the Labre Project, which feeds and interacts with community members with housing insecurity. The program helps neighbors in two areas of Toledo, including The Providence Center at 1205 Broadway St. and Helping Hands at 443 Sixth St.
- This year, the bank has donated $1,250 to Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC) for the Waterford Bank, N.A. Scholarship, which benefits full-time students within OFIC universities. It will be given to the winner early in the 2022-2023 academic year.
- Waterford Bank has given a $300 sponsorship to Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc.’s (ABLE) Justice Straight Up event in 2022. Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. is a non-profit regional law firm that provides high-quality legal assistance in civil matters to help eligible low-income individuals and groups in western Ohio achieve self-reliance, equal justice, and economic opportunity.
Community Outreach | Talent Support
Of course, community service is at our core. Our bankers go above and beyond year-round, with many serving on boards and committees for local organizations behind the scenes.
Many of our bankers serve on outside boards and committees to better serve our communities – like Rebecca Neuman, VP, Commercial Lending, who serves on the board for the Rainbow Connection.
- Waterford Vice President of Commercial Lending Rebecca Neuman, VP, Commercial Lending, has been heavily involved with The Rainbow Connection for the last 14 year, taking on the role of Board President in 2021. In her role, she works to oversee and offer guidance to the program in its mission to grant wishes for Michigan children with life-threatening medical conditions.
- Waterford Bank Vice President of Treasury Management Aaron Bieszczad works to make a positive impact on individuals who are developmentally challenged and their families through the Anne Grady Foundation. The organization works to provide group homes to low and middle-income individuals with disabilities and currently has 16 homes serving 150 people. Bieszczad utilizes his banking expertise to help meet the foundation’s financial objectives and guide them toward success.
You can keep up with what’s happening at Waterford from the “News” section of our website or by following us on social media.
About the Author
Jenson Strock is a Bank Customer Service Specialist at Waterford Bank, N.A. She was born in the Toledo area and went on to work for years in local TV, sparking her passion for all things local. After making the jump to banking, her goal remains the same: to help neighbors and businesses in the community thrive.
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