Whether making contributions, volunteering time and resources, holding a senior citizen’s hand or teaching financial literacy to young adults, New Jersey’s banks are committed to the communities they serve. They keep their local communities vibrant and strong by working hand in hand with community partners.
Working to improve the social and economic health of their communities for positive change is of core importance to New Jersey’s banking industry. Hardly a community or charitable event is held without some level of participation by NJBankers members. They support community-based organizations with monetary contributions and sponsorships; food, clothing and blood drives; fundraisers; and in many cases, bank employees are given tremendous support to get involved in community projects. For example, bankers trade their suits for work clothes and build homes with tools in hand.
The New Jersey banking industry also supports communities by serving the financial needs of home buyers; small and local businesses; and municipalities with the products and services that help them achieve their goals. NJBankers acknowledges this with the Community Service Award program which recognizes excellence in community support by member banks each year.
In addition to member banks’ outreach, NJBankers, through The New Jersey Bankers Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of NJBankers, has developed banking industry initiatives to support Community Based Organizations and other programs. The Foundation is supported by NJBankers member contributions.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, NJBankers and members made a five-year commitment to Coastal Habitat for Humanity to help repair and revive communities that had been ravaged by the storm. Nearly 850 bank volunteers from 60 banks worked more than 100 days and provided a direct donation of close to $100,000 for building materials.
In 2018, NJBankers launched another industry-wide philanthropic initiative where member banks support Eva’s Village in Paterson. Eva’s Village provides care and support for people who are struggling with poverty, hunger, homelessness and addiction. This initiative is a five-year commitment for supporting their valuable programs.
Volunteers take the time to serve full meals to their guests and have participated in mock career fairs to help those looking for jobs. Each bank that participated also contributed $1,000 for each team it sent to support Eva’s Village programs. So far, the initiative has raised $42,000 in contributions with certainly more support to come in the next three years.
The New Jersey Charitable Foundation, through partnerships with key veterans support organizations, provides assistance to veteran’s educational initiatives. Since its inception, the foundation has distributed more than $145,000 in support of veterans.
Both the Rider University Veterans and Military Affairs Office and the Rutgers University Office of Veteran and Military Programs and Service offer programs, financial aid, and scholarship opportunities that encourage veterans, current service members, and eligible dependents to pursue higher education. NJBankers and its members have also supported the Rider University Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program for the fourth consecutive year. There were seven veterans who completed the program, which trained them on how to either start a new business or expand an existing one.
NJBankers members plan and participate in financial literacy programs. Bankers have spent countless hours in classrooms, community centers, senior centers and houses of worship across the state educating their neighbors on the importance of prudent financial management.
Bankers often focus on children and young adults to help them understand that the financial decisions they make today will affect them for the rest of their lives. Financial education can no longer be an option or a privilege. Education and hands-on money experience are critical in building a generation of smart money managers.
NJBankers partners with its Endorsed Service Provider EverFi to equip New Jersey’s students with tools that help them learn how to manage their money in the real world. The EverFi programs encourage healthy financial behaviors through an online program for children from Grade 1 through 12.
Having conversations about how to use money wisely and about differentiating between wants and needs provides the tools to make smart financial decisions. Conversations with customers, the public and business owners also help them reach their financial goals.
New Jersey’s banking community is committed to protecting senior citizens because they should be able to live free of abuse. New Jersey banks are partnering with senior-focused community groups throughout the state to educate older Americans on how to bank more securely. Bankers are sharing information on how to choose the right financial caregiver, detect financial abuse, and avoid scams targeting older adults as part of this campaign.
Older Americans – those over the age of 50 – account for 61% of all bank depositors and hold 70% of all deposit balances. Bankers are trained to look for signs of financial abuse and take this very seriously. Bankers also reach out directly to the elderly in the communities they serve with guidance for recognizing if their finances are being compromised.
NJBankers Endorsed Service Provider CRA Partners offers a crime prevention program to support the elderly by educating and safeguarding against theft, abuse and neglect. The Senior Crimestoppers Program is funded exclusively by the banking industry.
Garden State banks are currently contributing $18.2 million in the form of loans, investments and grants to help protect seniors. Nearly 2,900 senior housing residents are protected thanks to participating banks.
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