The United States’ largest tribally-owned bank, First National Bank & Trust Co., was among some of Oklahoma’s most well-known businesses and non-profits honored at the 2017 Journal Record Beacon Awards for its staff’s charitable giving initiatives.
The bank, with seven locations across central and western Oklahoma, was recognized by the Journal Record newspaper for its work in charitable influence in the communities its branches operate in. The Citizen Potawatomi-owned financial institution was a finalist for the newspaper’s Beacon Award for medium-sized businesses and was honored for it’s company culture that encourages and supports volunteerism, charitable giving and community involvement.
For the past five years, FNB increased its commitment and focus on community involvement and volunteerism. In fact, in 2012 the bank developed a set of core values for the organization.
The acronym HEROES was developed with each letter representing the beginning letter of a core value, with the ‘S’ standing for “serve our communities through active involvement and leadership.”
To set this core value in action, the executive leadership team of the bank established a goal of having employees and officers volunteer 1,000 hours of community involvement between July 1 and December 31 in 2012. Participation was not required but the program was designed to invite and integrate all bank employees who wished to impact non-profit and community organizations. Through employee enthusiasm and commitment, the 2012 goal was easily met.
Each year since, the goal, volunteer hours and number of non-profits benefiting from the program have increased. According to Larry Briggs, president and chief executive officer of FNB, employees and officers have contributed 15,115 hours to organizations within the communities served by the bank.
“We are so pleased at how our employees across Oklahoma have embraced the challenge to change the communities we serve one volunteer, one hour at a time,” explained Briggs. “Currently, there are more than 100 approved organizations across five Oklahoma counties in which FNB employees and officers may volunteer and impact non-profit and community.”
In addition to helping non-profit and community organizations, the program has changed the spirit of the bank locations.
“Employee engagement in the community has increased because team members are seeing the needs of organizations first-hand and then volunteering with organizations they choose and believe in,” added Briggs. “We are proud to have such a committed group of employees who are passionate about generously giving their time and many of them, their financial resources to make a difference. Our desire was to put hands and feet to our commitment to helping the communities we serve, and that is what the dedication of our employees has allowed us to do.”
FNB volunteer hours given to the community are measured against the hours it takes to employ a full-time employee – 2,080 hours. In 2016 alone, employees provided more than 4,800 hours of volunteer time. Over the past five years, the bank has given the equivalent of more than seven full-time employees in volunteer hours. In addition to volunteering, many FNB employees generate donations for organizations with which they work and support. Throughout the year, FNB employees can be seen participating in non-profit events in Shawnee, Holdenville, Lawton, Mangum, and Granite, and the surrounding communities. These efforts include the Big Brother Big Sister Bowl for Kids’ Sake, volunteering at Mabee Gerrer Museum events, walking, running and conducting bake sales for various charities, delivering meals to senior adults for Meals on Wheels or to organizations like Project Safe, providing Christmas gifts to children in need, and serving military personnel. In addition, many FNB team members fulfill leadership roles with non-profit organizations as board members, committee chairs, or organizational members.
Today, the original goal of the Core Value used to start this innovative program, “Serve our communities through active involvement and leadership” has become a way of life within the FNB culture as non-profit organizations across five Oklahoma counties are the beneficiaries of volunteerism and commitment from First National Bank & Trust Co.
Larry Briggs hopes the program and FNB’s efforts send a valuable message – non-profit organizations impact health, lifestyle, economy, well-being, education, and the arts in all of the communities served by FNB and need the support of corporate citizens who have the resources to help.
“When non-profits and community organizations are thriving, our communities thrive because people are getting the help they need, when they need it,” stated Briggs. “When a group of individuals like our FNB Heroes come together and give of their time and resources, we hope it motivates others to join the effort so that change can occur and as we all come together to make a difference.”