Meet the U.S. Banker helping to make community possible with The New Children’s Museum and across the nation.
In 1941, as the U.S. entered the second World War a wonder woman emerged to demonstrate that advocating for others is a responsibility, telling the truth is a superpower, and no matter how grim circumstances may seem, there is always much good in humanity that is worth fighting for and protecting.
This character of a brave and bold fearless female advocate who is capable of accomplishing superhuman feats to help make a difference in the lives of others has had a lasting impact on Erica Opstad, senior vice president and head of community affairs and managing director of the U.S. Bank Foundation.
In 2022, Erica and her team structured one of the largest community benefits plans in U.S. history, but it is in the unstructured that Erica finds her inspiration. Her work is energized by an abiding love for unstructured play and the creativity and empathy that can bloom from it.
As one of the three main pillars of the U.S. Bank Community Possible platform, Play, is a quality which brings joy and vibrancy to communities, but in low-income areas there are often limited spaces for play and fewer people attending arts and cultural events. That’s why Erica and her team look for opportunities to invest in community programming that allows children and adults to play and create.
In Erica’s hometown of San Diego, one organization specifically, The New Children’s Museum, has captured the hearts and minds of the Opstad family, including Erica’s son, Blake, and her husband, Keith, an award-winning artist and art educator who is also an appointed commissioner for the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. The museum’s motto is “Think, Play, Create,” and Erica is a part of the museums board of directors, while the entire Opstad family are longtime supporters and fans.
In 2022, under the guidance of San Diego Community Affairs Manager Rockette Ewell, the U.S. Bank Foundation awarded The New Children’s Museum a three-year. $105,000 grant to help fund visits to the Museum through a wide array of access programs, including:
In addition to funding access programs, U.S. Bank employees, like Erica and Rockette, volunteer at the Museum regularly. Recent activity includes a large group participating in Mass Creativity Day, the Museum’s long-running community engagement program, in partnership with multiple community-based organizations throughout the county.
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