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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.

The 2019 award entry period has now closed. Banks that submitted an entry will have the opportunity to showcase their program/project on the Banks in Their Communities interactive map and/or on the America’s Banks web site.

This year links to videos about the program/project can be included in the General Summary section of the entry form. It is important to know that videos do not replace the required narratives nor will they be used as part of the judging process.


 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

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

Community and Economic Development

Applauds banks that think inside and out of the commercial lending box to drive economic growth and revitalization in their communities. Examples include, but are not limited to:
  • Establishing partnerships with stakeholders such as merchants, community groups, residents and 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 rural lending programs designed to meet the unique lending needs of rural and frontier communities as well as  their local economies; or
  • 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 personal finance knowledge from financial literacy programs that impact youth, seniors and bank employees. Examples include, but are not limited to:
  • Form a program or partnership with local nonprofits, community centers, or schools to offer age appropriate personal finance presentations and resources;
  • Creating or participating in financial outreach programs that have changed long term attitudes and behaviors about managing money through use of tools, products, services, or any combination of the same;  
  • Providing financial education programs to employees that show results, innovation, effective tactics, and a significant scope in increasing employee financial wellness; or
  • Host or partner in event that involves community outreach by way of improving attendees personal finance skills. 

Economic Inclusion

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

Protecting Older Americans

Recognizes banks that excel in combatting elder financial abuse. Examples include, but are not limited to:
  • Establishing partnerships with stakeholders such as law enforcement, adult protective services,  corporations, community-based organizations, and faith-based ministries  to protect older Americans from financial abuse;
  • Hosting workshops to educate older Americans, their families, and other community members about the various forms of financial abuse and informing them on the bank’s role in preventing elder financial abuse;
  • Creating robust training programs for front-line employees to prevent, detect, and report on elder financial abuse;
  • Developing innovative product features to protect older Americans from financial abuse; or
  • Constructing new technological systems to designed to detect and counter elder financial abuse.

Supporting Military Families

Recognizes bank projects or programs that improve the quality of life for active duty, transitioning and veteran military families. Examples include, but are not limited to:
  • Programs or workshops that educate active duty service members, veterans, military spouses and their children about personal finances;
  • Any innovative training, mentoring and employment program for hiring and retaining transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses;
  • Housing programs, fundraising events and partnerships with organizations that support veteran and activity duty service members; or
  • Programs or workshops that help veterans and/or military spouses start, grow and build small businesses.


Celebrates 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, community centers, 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;  
  • Partnerships with groups advocating for seniors and others to retrofit their homes to enable them to enjoy full accessibility and increased quality of life;
  • Develop or participate in practices that protect the environment/sustain natural resources by “going green”; or
  • Provide companionship care or coordinate transportation for community members.

George Bailey Distinguished Service Award​

Named after the community banker hero of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” is given to a non-CEO bank employee who demonstrates outstanding initiative, performs highly effective work and inspires others. George Bailey Award winners go above and beyond to serve their banks, their colleagues, their industry and especially their communities. Examples include, but are not limited to:
  • An employee who has gone 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; or
  • 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 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 entry period opened on May 1. The new closing date has been extended to July 19 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

What is the submission format?

Banks must complete and submit the Community Commitment Award entry form and/or the George Bailey Distinguished Service Award nomination form.

How will I know my form has been received?

You will receive a confirmation email within 24-48 hours after you submit the form(s).

Are other documents needed?

The submission process and judging process is focused solely on narratives in the entry form. However, links to videos about the program/project can be included in the General Summary section of the entry form. It is important to know that videos will not replace the required narratives nor will they be used as part of the judging process. 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 in Seattle.

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.