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Community Development Advocate

SouthState Bank - Winter Haven, FL

2022 Community Committment Awards Submission

  • Community and Economic Development
  • Asset Size: Medium

One of SouthState Bank's cultural cornerstones and core values is 'Greater Purpose,' which means that SouthState enables team members to pursue their ultimate passion in life – their personal faith, their family, their service to community.Following th e company's merger of equals, which created one of the leading regional banks in the Southeast, doubled the company's team members and expanded the bank's footprint from four states to six, the bank recognized it had a need to leverage and empower team members as Community Development Advocates. Working with local leadership, the Director of Community Engagement identified 46 individuals across all business lines who have a passion and commitment for improving their community – individuals for whom commitment to community is definitely their greater purpose. These individuals have received extensive training in what community development is and how they can help drive engagement in their local market.

The primary responsibility and objective of the Community Development Advocate, or CD Advocate, is charged with being aware of, and, as appropriate, providing CRA qualified lending, donation, investment, and service leads/referrals to the Community Development Officers and lenders in their markets. The CD Advocate is a center of influence both internally and externally. The CD Advocates are active in their community and are natural leaders who can motivate and get results and action from teammates.

Following their initial selection and training for the CD Advocate program, these team members were given ,000 each to allocate to their community at their discretion for a CRA-qualified donation opportunity. Empowering the CD Advocates in this way early in the program helped these Advocates become invested and feel empowered, which are both key ingredients to the success