Fidelity Bank: Where Doing Good Is Part Of Good Business
Some days I am especially aware of how lucky I am—I work with and advocate for the greatest businesses in New Orleans and then share them with all of you. I was reminded of my good fortune recently when I spoke with Madison Burris, Director of Community Partners at Fidelity Bank, about their Community Partners program. I am inspired by Fidelity’s fresh way of magnifying the good work of many local nonprofits, and after reading our interview, I’m sure you will agree that there are more reasons than ever to bank local.
Start by telling us a bit about Fidelity Bank.
Fidelity Bank was founded in 1908, and our current chairman of the board, Katie Crosby, happens to be the great-granddaughter of one of our founders. We are a mutual—meaning that we are owned by our depositors and cannot be bought or sold, unlike so much of what you see in the financial industry and lending institutions who are bought by a larger bank or merge with another entity. There is stability inherent in our business model. We have locations in several cities in Louisiana, but are primarily concentrated in the greater New Orleans area.
What is the Community Partners program?
It is a partnership program for selected local nonprofits who receive special benefits to thank them for banking with us and to support the great work they are doing in our community. On every anniversary of opening their account with us, they get a financial bonus of up to $1,000 deposited into their account. In addition, our partners have year-round access to our inventory of party equipment that we can bring to any event, employee appreciation day, or fundraiser, at no cost to them. This equipment includes two cooking trailers, a money machine, a photo booth, giant yard games (ring toss, connect four, and jenga), tables and chairs for 100 people, commercial fryers, and massive jambalaya pots. We invested in these assets—or toys, as I’ve come to think of them—so we could help our Partners by offering meaningful assistance while taking the financial burden and responsibility off their plate. It’s great for the nonprofit, but it’s also great for the community who gets to enjoy the fun these toys provide. By offering to bring a cooking trailer and the food, we can cook 500 hamburgers and hot dogs for their event and help to increase their success. We love this program because when an organization joins as a Community Partner, we can devote greater time, resources, personnel, and dollars to make a more significant contribution.
Who are these Community Partners?
We are able to be very locally focused because we are such a local entity ourselves. It was easy to identify nonprofits who were making a tremendous impact in our neighborhoods, in our city. We support a wide range of causes, but have particular interest in programs that build financial literacy; affordable housing; arts and culture, which is so much of what makes New Orleans great; and at-risk youth, giving them as many advantages as we can to make life-changing decisions.
Is the support the same for every Community Partner?
With each Partner, we sit down with them to figure out what is most meaningful and helpful for their organization. For some, it is simply having a $1,000 bonus on each anniversary of opening their account; for others, it is having access to those toys for events throughout the year; for still others, it is for us to handle the advertising for a major event as a separate gift on top of their annual bonus. Our support is unique to each Partner, and when we understand their annual goals, we are able to leverage our strengths and assets in a way that aligns with their objectives.
Could you give examples of ways you’ve supported your Community Partners?
One memorable event from the past year was with our Community Partner BYOBikes. This is a great organization that provides less fortunate children in NOLA with their first bicycle. Just before Christmas, they hosted Celebration of the Spokes where they gave 250 children a bicycle, a helmet, a bike lock, and a safety lesson. To support them, we brought our jambalaya pots and food and we cooked and fed people throughout the day. We love when we can add another layer of fun and festivity to an event, at no cost to the Community Partner.
Another favorite example is from The COOL Cooperative. It is an after-school program that educates youth in film industry-specific work. They had been gifted a 15-passenger van, and we contributed financially to help pay for the van to have vinyl wrapping with their logo and information. We also connected them with one of our Business Partners in New Orleans who does vinyl wrapping, and the Business Partner was so impressed by The COOL Cooperative, he hired them to make two commercials for his business that he is now using on his website and social media. My colleagues and I at Fidelity are ecstatic when we can make these kinds of connections in the community and create a win-win situation for all involved.
The Community Partners Program with Fidelity Bank is an inspiring example of the power of Local businesses: Local businesses are able to give smarter and more generously to our community because they are deeply rooted here. Interested in learning more? Reach out to Madison Burris, Director of Community Partners, at [email protected] and tell him SCOUT sent you!