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ABA Foundation Community Commitment Awards

2018 Community Commitment Awards

The ABA Foundation Community Commitment Awards is a national program that recognizes and promotes the many valuable ways banks of all sizes and charters contribute to economic growth, community development and enhancing the quality of life in their communities.

Congratulations to the 2018 winners who will be honored at the ABA Annual Convention, October 23 in New York. Bank programs submitted for this year's awards can be viewed on the ABA Foundation's Banks in Their Community interactive map


 2018 Winner Spotlight


 Banks in Their Communities


Use this interactive map to learn about the corporate social responsibility programs submitted for an award by banks across the U.S. and its territories. 




Affordable Housing

Improving the availability of quality housing for everyone in your community.. Examples include, but are not limited to:
  • Establishing partnerships with civic groups, nonprofit organizations or government agencies to promote affordable housing construction or rehabilitation
  • Creating mortgage lending programs designed to encourage qualified buyers to become catalysts for change by buying in neighborhoods in need of residential renewal
  • Hosting homeownership seminars to encourage community members to become responsible homeowners

Community and Economic Development

Thinking beyond the commercial lending box to spur growth in their communities. Examples include, but are not limited to:
  • Establishing partnerships with merchants, community groups, residents or property owners to assist in job creation, identification and training; to attract new businesses to the area; or to build a thriving economic center in the neighborhood
  • Creating agriculture lending programs designed to meet the lending needs of rural communities and their local economies
  • Financing community facilities or addressing elements that improve a neighborhood’s quality of life, including access to child care, education, health care, fresh food, physical activity and public safety

Financial Education

Honors educational initiatives that raise awareness and build knowledge among people who need it—from at-risk youth to seniors in your community to your own employees. Examples include, but are not limited to:
  • Creating a program or partnership with local nonprofits or schools to offer financial literacy education for at-risk student
  • Creating or participating in financial outreach programs that have changed long-term attitudes and behaviors about managing money through use of tools, products or services
  • Providing financial education programs to employees that show results, innovation, effective tactics and greater financial wellness

Economic Inclusion

Celebrates efforts to increase economic inclusion for all. Examples include but are not limited to:
  • Establishing partnerships with nonprofit organizations, government agencies or other financial partners to promote financial inclusion for unbanked borrowers and individuals with no or limited credit histories;​
  • Hosting credit counseling workshops or lessons
  • Creating innovative, safe and affordable products to encourage unbanked customers to join the financial mainstream​

Protecting Older Americans

Banks that excel in stopping elder financial abuse. Examples include but are not limited to:
  • Establishing partnerships with law enforcement, adult protective services or ​community groups to protect older Americans from financial abuse
  • Hosting workshops to educate older Americans or their families about the various forms of financial abuse and a bank’s role in preventing financial abuse
  • Creating a robust training program for frontline employees to recognize the signs of financial abuse and to provide intervention strategies to protect older Americans from financial abuse
  • Creating innovative product features to protect older Americans from financial abuse


Banks that put their employees to work for the good of the community. Examples include but are not limited to:
  • Outreach programs in which teams of employees commit to renovating schools, clubhouses and other facilities to help anchor and sustain life in the community
  • Mentoring programs that match employees' skills with the needs of underserved or at-risk groups
  • Partnership with groups advocating for veterans, seniors and others to retrofit their homes to enable them to enjoy full accessibility and increased quality of life

George Bailey Distinguished Service Award​

Named after the community banker hero of “It’s a Wonderful Life” for a non-CEO employee who demonstrates outstanding initiative, performs highly effective work and inspires others. Examples include but are not limited to:
  • Going above and beyond to build goodwill between their bank and community
  • Made outstanding contributions to their institution(s), had major positive influence on peers, subordinates and even affected the industry as a whole
  • Consistently gives back to the bank and the community, giving freely of their time, energy and resources for volunteerism, community service and charity
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 Judging Criteria


Entries are judged based solely on the narratives written in the entry form that address the following:

  • Need of the Community
    What critical need in the community does the program address and how does it provide a solution for that need?

  • Institution Role and Involvement
    What numbers of volunteer hours, and/or amount of financial and other resources were devoted to the implementation and success of the program? What was the level of executive engagement? How does the program rank in the institution's priorities? Considering the resources dedicated to the program, what was the return on investment?

  • Program Uniqueness and Creativity
    What is original or innovative about the program? If the program is an existing initiative, how is it implemented in a new way? Are there similar programs in the community? If so, why was this program needed?

  • Sustainability
    Is the program sustainable over the long term? Could it be grown to be implemented on a larger scale?

  • Program Results
    What tools or metrics are used to monitor and gauge progress and success? What measurable success has the program achieved? How were the outcomes of the program beneficial to the community and to the bank?

  • Community Partnerships
    How has the program engaged the community, non-profit organizations and local civic and governmental leadership in achieving its mission? Was a public-private partnership formed to implement the program? If so, how did it contribute to the program's success?

  • George Bailey Distinguished Service Award Judging Criteria
    Describe the issue or challenge the nominee sought to address. Describe the impact his or her efforts made to the community and the bank. How has his or her efforts inspired others at the bank? What characteristics make the nominee a candidate for this award?​

 Entry Forms


The 2018 award entry period is closed. All submissions were due by July 13. Banks that submitted an entry will have their program showcased on the Banks in Their Community interactive map. Special thanks to the ABA Banking Journal for supporting this year’s awards.

 Entry Tips

  • To complete and submit the entry form, it must be opened in Adobe Reader.
  • Review the Guide to Preparing an Award Winning Entry which explains how entries are judged and scored.
  • Carefully review the categories to determine which fits your program/project best. You may enter a different or the same program/project in multiple categories. However, if the same program/project is entered in more than one category, it is strongly suggested that you tailor your narrative responses to the entry form questions based on the category.
  • Write narratives in a way that both explains the program/project to someone with no prior knowledge of the program/project and celebrates its success. Make sure your narratives are concise and error-free.
  • You may resubmit a previously entered program/project with updated narrative responses. Please note, resubmitted entries with the same responses from previous years are at a high risk of not advancing in the judging process. Resubmission responses are strongly encouraged to highlight things such as improvements, successes or changes made to the program/project.


What is the submission entry period?

The 2018 award entry period is closed. All submissions were due by July 13.

What is the submission format?

Banks must complete and submit the online entry form​.

How will I know my submission has been received?

You will receive a confirmation email with 24-48 hours.

Are other documents needed?

No. The submission process and judging process is focused solely on narratives in the entry form. Review the Guide to Preparing an Award Winning Entry for assistance crafting the narratives.

Can my bank apply in multiple categories?

Yes. A bank may enter a different or the same program/project in multiple categories. A separate entry form must be completed and submitted for each category. If entering the same program/project in multiple categories, it is strongly suggested that you tailor the entry form questions to the category.

Can I nominate myself for the George Bailey Distinguished Service Award?

Yes. The George Bailey Award is open to any non-CEO bank employee.

How are the winning banks notified and when?

The contact person listed on the entry form will be notified via phone and email approximately eight (8) weeks after the close of the entry period.

When are the winners publicly announced and awards presented?

An email announcing the winners will be sent to all award entrants in September. The awards will be presented in October at the ABA Annual Convention (hyperlink to convention page) in New York.

How will the awards be judged?

Entries will be scored based on compelling narratives that illustrate impactful community outreach and provide supporting statistics—such as volunteer hours, resources or other measurable benefits.

Who are the judges?

Award finalists will be judged by nationally recognized experts in their fields.

​Questions? E-mail Melissa Murray for more information.