This spring, U.S. Bank employee Fern Robertson volunteered at a Junior Achievement program in Charlotte that helps students learn about personal finance and career skills. Impressed with the enthusiastic kids she met, she wondered if U.S. Bank could do even more to support the initiative.
Robertson (pictured above with U.S. Bank mascot Coach Possible) crafted a proposal for the bank to sponsor one of the “storefronts” where students learn about banking and other financial services. And on Oct. 10, she was on hand to see her idea come to life, as U.S. Bank and Junior Achievement held a ribbon cutting for the new high-tech learning center.
“I am on cloud nine,” said Robertson, who worked on the project with the bank’s Charlotte Development Network, of which she is a board member. “I remember the excitement the students had, and I’m just glad U.S. Bank had the opportunity to invest in them and expand our presence here in Charlotte.”
The gleaming, blue-accented storefront features a big-screen TV playing educational videos and iPads where students can learn about potential fintech jobs from software developer to cybersecurity specialist. The room also offers students a chance to recline on comfy couches, complete with pillows emblazoned with Charlotte street maps.
Students who visited on the opening day said they learned about new career options and the importance of saving their money. “I think this will impact the community as a whole,” said Shadrach Wesseh, a community college student touring the facility.
As part of the ribbon-cutting event, U.S. Bank contributed $75,000 to Junior Achievement through its Community Possible giving program focused on the areas of Work, Home and Play. It was the latest example of the bank investing in the Charlotte community as it prepares to officially open its first retail branch in the city later this month. In August, U.S. Bank announced it was giving $1 million to complete a pedestrian bridge for the city’s Rail Trail.
“We are honored and excited to showcase your storefront and your participation in the community and really helping to move our youth to understand their full potential,” said Sarah Cherne (pictured below; second from left in bottom row), president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas.
Ross Carey (pictured above on top right), executive vice president for new and national markets, noted that U.S. Bank has given more than $5.8 million to Junior Achievement over the past five years through grants, corporate contributions and matching gifts. Thousands of employees have also volunteered with the organization throughout the bank’s footprint.
“I am very proud of what I see here and the work you are doing,” Carey said. “Thank you for giving us the privilege of investing in these promising young lives.”
In his remarks, Dee O’Dell (pictured above on top left), the Charlotte-based executive who leads the East Region for Consumer and Business Banking, singled out Robertson for her leadership.
“For the young people here, you should know that in any situation you could be the person that makes a difference,” he said. “For us, Fern was that person, and we thank her.”
Written by Rick Rothacker of U.S. Bank.