For a relatively small company, Founders Bank & Trust does a lot for the community. Every year the bank selects a handful of charities to highlight and offers ways for employees to get involved.
“We always pick something local. We want our people to really connect with the community and make it easy to donate their time and other things,” said Founders Bank President and CEO Laurie Beard. She noted that coming out of tough times, it’s important to give back.
Founders has a long-time relationship with Gilda’s Club and chose the cancer support organization as one of its main charities this year. Founder’s leaders understand that at one point or another, everyone’s life is touched by cancer. The bank has supported Gilda’s Club in a lot of different ways. Every other Wednesday evening, Founders volunteers prepare and serve dinner at Gilda’s Club to a group of 50-70 people who gather for a meal and support.
“With sweat equity, there’s a connection that occurs. They get to know us from the inside out,” said Wendy Wigger, VP of community relations and program development for Gilda’s Club. “Our volunteers become an extended part of our staff.”
Last year the bank’s 89 employees, led by a 14-member Volunteer Committee, gave 3,317 hours of their time and helped 147 organizations. Other charities chosen by Founders Bank in 2012 include Family Promise of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and the Children’s Assessment Center.