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2021 ABA Foundation Community Commitment Award Winners

View the winners of this year's ABA Foundation Community Commitment Awards.

2021 Award Winners

Affordable Housing

Heritage Bank, Seattle, Washington stepped up to help address homelessness in their community. The bank financed a $15,160,000 construction loan and provided an equity investment of over $21,000,000 to help build apartments for single adults who have stabilized after homelessness. They partnered with Plymouth Housing to build Kristin Benson Place in Seattle, Washington, which includes 91 studio apartments. This is the second of eight new buildings that Plymouth plans to build to address chronic homelessness in the community. With the help of Heritage Bank, they are well on their way to their goal of developing an additional 500 apartments within the next four years.

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Community and Economic Development

WesBanco Bank Inc., Wheeling, West Virginia used its community development corporation to leverage allocations of New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) to fund development and inject capital into highly distressed, low-income communities—located largely in rural Appalachia. Their New Markets Loan Program, a unique model for using NMTC funding, is a small business loan program that finances a wide variety of businesses that provide critical social and commercial services to low-income residents—and for the benefit of economically vulnerable communities.

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Economic Inclusion

Hancock Whitney, Gulfport, Mississippi developed a comprehensive, companywide entrepreneurship program specifically for small business outreach. The Small Business Matters program allows the bank to educate and create opportunities for local businesses owners and their teams—with an emphasis on minority and women-owned businesses. Small Business Matters concentrates on four goals for entrepreneurial and small business success—grow, fund, market and manage—and aligns with Hancock Whitney’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

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Financial Education

UMB Financial Corporation, Kansas City, Missouri created the UMB Market, a grocery store and financial education simulation, in 2016 alongside the agriculture education nonprofit American Royal to encourage students to practice healthy shopping on a budget. Due to COVID-19, the exhibit went virtual. UMB Bank worked with three nonprofits to produce videos and worksheets designed for students get real world budgeting and grocery shopping experience virtually. In 2020, the virtual UMB Market reached nearly 10,000 students across 26 states, and two continents.

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Protecting Older Americans

Bank of the Rockies, Clyde Park, Montana demonstrated their strong commitment to older Montanans through their Senior Champions program. Bank employees who participate in the Senior Champions program seek new and innovative ways to engage with socially isolated seniors. They also involve elder justice stakeholders and other community to protect the financial health and well-being of local seniors. Older Montanans can feel secure in the knowledge that these Senior Champions have their best interests at the heart of all they do.

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Volunteerism

Marquette Bank, Chicago, Illinois provided needed food support to its communities by collaborating with Illinois Partners in Hope to distribute USDA food boxes to residents through Mobile Food Pantries. The food distribution drive was part of the bank’s employee-driven Marquette Neighborhood Commitment initiative. In total, five Marquette Bank branches and 78 employee-volunteers worked over 19 hours to distribute more than 3,000 boxes of food to local families in need.

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George Bailey Distinguished Service Award

Mary O’Connor, Executive Vice President, Logistics/Brand Management, Country Club Bank, Kansas City, MO  

Mary O’Connor strives to live by the mantra, “to whom much is given, much is expected”. From her position as executive vice president of logistics and creative brand management at Country Club Bank in Kansas City, Mary has set a remarkable example of community commitment for others to follow. Whether it’s spotlighting local nonprofits on her weekly podcast and on the bank’s own billboards, leading financial literacy efforts in the community, helping create a new rent-forgiven home for Kansas City’s Women’s Employment Network, or advocating for women in the workforce, Mary spends each day thinking about how to help others.  

Mary is also known for channeling her own family tragedy into meaningful philanthropy. After her sister was shot in a robbery attempt in 1986, Mary helped cared for her while supporting an annual run to raise funds for traumatic brain injury research—raising over $2 million and counting. When family members developed MS and diabetes, Mary again devoted her time, energy and efforts to fighting back. For her servant leadership, Mary O’Connor is this year’s winner of the ABA Foundation’s George Bailey Distinguished Service Award.

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Honorable Mentions

Affordable Housing

  • Bank of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
  • CIBC Bank USA, Chicago, IL
  • One Florida Bank, Orlando, FL
  • Zions Bank, Salt Lake City, UT

Community & Economic Development

  • BankFive, Fall River, MA
  • C&N (Citizens & Northern) Bank, Wellsboro, PA
  • CFG Bank, Baltimore, MD
  • Central Valley Community Bank, Fresno, CA
  • First National Bank, Pittsburgh, PA
  • First National Bank Alaska, Anchorage, AK
  • Security Federal Bank, Aiken, SC
  • Texas Capital Bank, Dallas, TX
  • Thomaston Savings Bank, Thomaston, CT
  • WSFS Bank, Wilmington, DE

Economic Inclusion

  • Berkshire Bank, Boston, MA
  • ChoiceOne Bank, Sparta, MI
  • Texas Capital Bank, Dallas, TX,  
  • The Freedom Bank of Virginia, Fairfax, VA
  • Zions Bank, Salt Lake City, UT

Financial Education

  • Citizens Bank, Providence, RI
  • Old National Bank, Evansville, IN
  • Regions Bank, Birmingham, AL
  • Synovus Bank, Columbus, GA
  • United Community Bank, Greenville, SC
  • Webster Bank, N.A., Waterbury, CT
  • Woodforest National Bank, The Woodlands, TX

Protecting Older Americans

  • Bank of America, Charlotte, NC
  • Luther Burbank Savings, Santa Rosa, CA

Volunteerism

  • Bank Independent, Sheffield, AL
  • Busey Bank, Champaign, IL
  • Community Bank, N.A., Dewitt, NY
  • Iowa Trust and Savings Bank, Centerville, IA
  • North Dallas Bank & Trust, Dallas, TX
  • Rondout Savings Bank, Kingston, NY
  • West Plains Bank and Trust, West Plains, MO

George Bailey Distinguished Service

  • Aleigha Nation, Senior Vice President and Director of Marketing, Columbia Bank, WA
  • Keith Drake, SVP, Regional Manager, Commercial Banking, Torrey Pines Bank, CA
  • Rob Brough, EVP, Marketing and Communication, Zions Bank, UT

Prior Years

Keep Me Informed

Get updates on the Community Commitment Awards. Contact Melissa Murray if you have any questions.