My Company Spent 133,000 Hours Fighting Hunger, Improving Education, And Investing In Our Community—And I Work At A Bank

Liam Berry
My Company Spent 133,000 Hours Fighting Hunger, Improving Education, And Investing In Our Community—And I Work At A Bank
Sponsored by, Citizens Bank

When Jennifer signed up to work at Citizens Bank, she didn’t do it just because of her passion for the business.

Like most employees of the nearly 200-year-old, perennially innovative New England-based bank, Jen has a passion for giving back to the community she works, lives, and grew up in.

In fact, people like Jen are the reason that the bank’s colleagues logged more than 133,000 hours of time volunteering in 2018 alone. (That’s 7,980,000 minutes, Rent fans.)

Their passion alone didn’t power that incredible number, though. We talked to Jen, one of the volunteering leaders at Citizens, about how and why Citizens gives back to the community (and how it makes an even better place to work).

Their Company Credo Says It All

The company has always been focused on their credo, which serves both as a mission statement and a description of what they do: Citizens helping citizens reach their potential.

That’s why they focus so much on giving back to their communities and supporting causes that help build long-term growth and create happier lives for the people they affect.

This goes, on the one hand, for what the company does as a business. Their financial services and products have always been designed to empower the people who use them — whether that means helping a family pay for their child’s education or helping a couple reach retirement at an age that works for them.

But even beyond what they do for their clients and customers, the colleagues of Citizens Bank use the company as a platform for good, because there’s more to being great citizens than just being a great bank.

Giving Back Is Built Into The Company

Citizens doesn’t just encourage volunteering, they make it happen. One way they do this: the Volunteer Portal.

The Volunteer Portal is a part of the Citizens Bank internal network that employees can use to find programs, organizations, and events that need their help. No matter what your passion is, you won’t have trouble finding a way to help out.

“You can search by state. You can even filter by types of activities, whether it’s teaching financial literacy, feeding the hungry,” Jen explains. “They have different categories, so you can search for organizations that way. They’re also really good about sending out emails about upcoming activities that are in your area that you can volunteer for as well.”

Jen also uses the portal to help organize activities for her team and members of the company’s Leadership Development Programs (which you can read more about here). That’s because she’s a leader on the Alumni Advisory Board, an organization that organizes events and resources for graduates of the company’s prestigious post-grad programs.

As a graduate of one of the programs, and a big fan of the volunteer events she did while she was in it, Jen found the role came naturally to her: “It’s something I really enjoy doing, speaking with the different organizations and volunteering, so it seemed like a good opportunity,” she says.

“I have a handful of organizations that we’ve worked with before that I go back to because we agree with their mission and have enjoyed working with them,” she says.

Their Causes Help People Lead Better Lives

Citizens does a lot of work to leverage their expertise and energy to help people build better lives, which is why they focus on teaching financial literacy in traditionally underserved communities.

“There are opportunities to teach those workshops in the community at local schools,” Jen says.

They also focus more broadly on charities that give back directly to the New England community: “We work a lot with the Greater Boston Food Bank, serving the communities of Jamaica Plain, preparing food for them. Just last week we volunteered with Boomerang, which is part of the AIDS Action Committee and helped them organize clothes to raise funds for their cause.”

And the types of opportunities are limitless, Jen says, adding that, “in the spring, we’ll volunteer with the Trustees outside and help with gardening or improvement projects.”

Helping others is something that aligns with Citizens in so many ways. Whether they’re volunteering, going the extra mile to help a customer, or even working internally, it’s all part of the same philosophy.

“The culture here is built on everyone being able to reach out and ask each other for help,” Jen says. So, when the people of New England ask for help, Citizens is always there to lend a hand — whether it’s one holding a financial plan or a spade.

Want to make an impact in more than just business? Check out open roles at Citizens Bank on WayUp right now!