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Vice President of Commercial Banking Summer Massey, mortgage loan officer Patti Mikulin, Market President Jamie Esch and financial adviser Mike Pinkston
Vice President of Commercial Banking Summer Massey, mortgage loan officer Patti Mikulin, Market President Jamie Esch and financial adviser Mike Pinkston

Philanthropic Business of the Year Finalist: Bank of America

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Going beyond daily banking and financial management services, Bank of America and its local employees contribute financial and volunteer support throughout the Ozarks.

A local leadership team of about a dozen employees distributes allocated funds from the Bank of America Foundation to area nonprofits after reviewing applications for financial assistance, says Summer Massey, Bank of America vice president of commercial banking and a member of the leadership team.

“We receive proposals from nonprofits to determine what fits our market focus,” Massey says, noting that as community needs change, so do the grants.

“When the economic downturn happened, we focused more on human services because that’s what was needed at the time,” she adds.

Other focus areas for Bank of America’s philanthropic efforts are community development, neighborhood preservation, education and health services, with more than $107,000 allocated to local nonprofits in 2010.

Of that amount, more than 60 percent of the money supported programs that target low- to moderate-income populations, with $35,000 earmarked for consumer credit counseling.

The allocation for 2010 was 22 percent higher than in 2009, and support is continuing to increase, as the team plans to contribute $109,000 to more than 25 local charities in 2011.

In addition to annual allocations, the local Bank of America team also will appeal for additional support when needs arise. The most recent example is a $200,000 donation from Bank of America for the Joplin tornado relief effort.

Between 2008 and 2010, Bank of America contributed more than $400,000 in grants and matching gifts to Springfield-area organizations, including The Kitchen Inc., Ozarks Food Harvest, Ozarks Public Television, Developmental Center of the Ozarks and Habitat for Humanity.

In the last three years, Habitat has received more than $57,000 from Bank of America for local home construction, with another $25,000 allocated for Habitat in 2011.

Above and beyond allocated funds and special requests, Bank of America also encourages its 104 local employees to support the community through a matching gifts program.

The bank matches up to $5,000 in donations per employee, per year.

“When I donate to Ozarks Greenways for example, it automatically gets doubled,” Massey says, adding that the matching gifts program is aggressive, and the bank periodically reminds associates that the matching funds are available.

In 2010, Bank of America and its local associates donated more than $66,000 to employee-selected charities in the Ozarks through the matching gifts program.

Bank of America also encourages employees to get involved with nonprofit groups, including serving on their boards of directors, to better understand the group’s needs and help assess donations, Massey says.

To date in 2011, local associates have contributed more than $6,700 and nearly 700 volunteer hours to more than 50 area organizations, completing tasks such as cleaning trash out of the river at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield and collecting donations volunteering at the Humane Society, Massey says.

With plenty of opportunities to get involved, Massey says the leadership team and associates appreciate being able to make a difference in southwest Missouri.

“We’re all very excited when we get to deliver a check,” she says.

From the 2011 Economic Impact Awards publication
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