We empower our 73,000 employees to do the right thing and give back to their communities making them a better place because of our presence. To do that, we provide paid time for volunteer work and match employee donations.
East Tennessee banker Will McCampbell parks his fire truck in his backyard. U.S. Bank affords him up to 16 hours of paid time off annually to spend volunteering.
During November, McCampbell and the team responded to several calls as drought conditions increased wildfires. Those wildfires pinnacled late last year as 80-mile-an-hour winds swept the fire through the neighboring resort town of Gatlinburg.
“It was creepy,” said McCampbell. “As we approached the city, the old, wooden guardrails on the road had either collapsed or were still burning. Charred cars sat on the shoulders. As we arrived at Gatlinburg’s main strip, we could hear fire alarms sounding from each building. It was post-apocalyptic.
“The community was mourning,” he added. “But, we’ve seen the good emerge, too. There was a tremendous outpouring of volunteerism. Community members have been eager to pass out bottled water and supplies as disaster trucks roll into town – whatever they can do to help. These are the types of communities where you’ll arrive at a fire scene and neighbors will come outside to try to help. There’s a sense of energy here. The town is not lost, we will rebuild.”
In 2015, Lea Ann Alvey, a U.S. Bank quality analyst in Owensboro, Kentucky, suffered a devastating loss. Her 20-year-old daughter, Lorie, died of kidney failure. Alvey wanted to honor Lorie with a funeral and headstone, but the costs were steep. A coworker suggested that Lea Ann apply for U.S. Bank’s Employee Assistance Fund (EAF). Alvey received a grant, which helped her cover funeral expenses.
“About half of the funeral was paid through donations, and family and friends donating money,” said Alvey. “A colleague told me about the EAF. I was like, well, I’ll just fill those papers out and I’ll try it. It was 10 minutes later, and the guy said, ‘We’ll do it.’ They covered part of the funeral and they covered the headstone. Thank you. That’s all you can say.”
U.S. Bank’s leadership established the EAF in 2008. The idea came from employees, who wanted to help their colleagues recover from unexpected financial hardships. Since its inception, the EAF has granted more than $8 million to over 2,000 employees.
U.S. Bank employee Julie Nieland’s husband was a state trooper, and he was killed in the line of duty in 1990. Her two boys were 18 months and four years old at the time of the accident. Her oldest son, Eric, was a little rumbustious. She decided he needed a role model in his life, so she contacted Big Brothers Big Sisters, whose one-to-one mentoring program is supported by the United Way.
Eric was assigned a Big Brother named Steve. Steve was a blessing to Eric. Steve had some rental properties, so he would take Eric along to do work on the houses. Nieland’s son learned how to use tools, do repairs and more. Over the years, Steve started his own business, and Eric learned many things about that, too.
U.S. Bank and its employees have donated more than $13.9 million and 4,500 volunteer hours through the United Way.