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Brad Crain, left, with Tracy Barnas and Shane Cowger, says philanthropy is a core tenet of Arvest Bank, which is evident through its Million Meals fundraiser.
SBJ photo by Jessica Rosa
Brad Crain, left, with Tracy Barnas and Shane Cowger, says philanthropy is a core tenet of Arvest Bank, which is evident through its Million Meals fundraiser.

2019 Economic Impact Awards Philanthropic Business of the Year: Arvest Bank

Investing in a Community

Posted online

Though Arvest Bank operates in over 135 communities, officials say the financial institution treats each area like home.

Springfield is no exception. The bank’s local associates work to help those in the Springfield community find financial solutions for life but also actively participate in volunteer and nonprofit work to better the community, says Brad Crain, president of Arvest Bank in Springfield.

“A strong bank makes a viable community,” he says. “I think we do that both on the business and the consumer side by loaning to businesses and loaning to individuals who are in turn investing back into the community.”

The financial institution’s services include mortgage loans and wealth management, small-business loans, agricultural lending and equipment financing. Crain considers the services as investments in the community.

Philanthropy also has been a core tenet of the financial institution since it was founded in 1961, Crain says.

In 2018, Arvest Bank and the Arvest Foundation donated a combined $560,000 to various nonprofits throughout the Springfield community that work in the areas of food insecurity, economic development and K-12 education.

Arvest Bank’s main charitable campaign is the annual Million Meals fundraising event, which supports all 135 communities the bank serves across its four-state reach.

Last year, Springfield’s bank provided more than 56,000 meals for families as part of the companywide campaign, which has donated 13.6 million meals and $2.3 million in the last eight years. Every dollar raised provides five meals to an individual in need.

During a recent fundraiser for the United Way of the Ozarks, Arvest recorded almost 100% participation from its Springfield employees who donated more than $38,000 through a one-time donation or recurring payment commitment.

Arvest associates also spent almost 2,500 volunteer hours last year with nonprofits, such as Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ozarks, Harmony House and United Way of the Ozarks. Associates also volunteer in local schools, serve on nonprofit boards and committees, help those affected by disasters and participate in fundraising events.

Crain says Arvest associates are asked to contribute to local organizations and nonprofits they personally want to invest their time in. That way, he says, the financial institution’s donations have more of an impact on the community to those in need and to Arvest associates.

“We aren’t just writing checks; we’re investing the time in these places to understand the impact on each individual level that our dollars and the time the associates give have in their lives,” he says. “Our associates are preparing meals and engaging in the lives of these people, and it makes it very personal for us and our associates and the families impacted by what we’re doing with our giving.”

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