When we talked about the theme for our 2015 employee United Way Campaign, none of us knew how poignant our choice would be. “Be Someone’s Superhero” wasn’t original; we found it on a list of potential themes off a website. But we chose it because it summed up what each employee could be to someone else simply by donating as little as $1 per paycheck to United Way: A Superhero.
Then we heard that little Brenna Westlake, daughter to our own Evan and his wife Courtney, was facing surgery. When Courtney posted a picture on Facebook of Brenna’s own superhero cape hanging off her hospital bed, the idea that anyone can be a superhero seemed very real. The idea behind the cape: even the smallest, most fragile among us is powerful when we believe we’re powerful.
And at INB, we collectively and individually believe we’re powerful.
INB Superheroes Add Power to United Way Campaign
With that in mind, INB employees are employing the power of the superhero cape by way of the United Way pledge form. Because INB is a Pacesetter Company, we’ve taken the lead in Sangamon County and have begun the 2015-16 campaign. This seems most appropriate this year as our President and CEO Sarah Phalen, and her husband, Executive Vice President and Trust Officer Pat Phalen, are serving as campaign chairs for the United Way of Central Illinois.
In talking to employees, Pat pointed out that in 1999, the first year the bank operated, INB and its employees donated to United Way … even though the bank lost money. And in year two, INB and its employees donated to United Way … even though the bank didn’t make money. In total, INB and its employees have donated $863,000 to United Way since 1999. Even more amazing, on average, 91 percent of employees contribute each year.
Sarah Phalen says she was giving to United Way back when she was a teller, barely making enough money to pay her rent. At the same time, she was volunteering on the overnight shift at Helping Hands because she could. She says donations and service to United Way and the agencies it serves are just part of INB’s culture. While she’s more comfortable with a less public role, she and Pat have taken the roles of campaign chairs, with the goal of making an impact on other organizations, helping them set up campaigns as successful as the one in place at INB.
Showing Everyone They Have the Power to Make a Difference
INB makes its United Way Campaign Week fun by offering incentives to sign up for payroll deduction and hosting a bake sale and basket raffle. Even the mandatory United Way meetings included giveaways, food, and – new this year — a superhero photo booth.
While cash donations to United Way are important, Super United Way Promoter – otherwise known as the bank’s Communications Coordinator Lindsay Van Zele – talked to employees about the value of volunteerism. Twice each year, United Way hosts a Day of Action. INB has participated in every event. This year, 14 employees helped the maintenance staff at Henson Robinson Zoo with some early spring clean-up. In 2013, an hour of volunteer service in Illinois was valued at $24.08 by the National Conference on Citizenship. So for this one event, INB staff volunteered over $1,500 in time to the zoo. Lindsay expects we’ll donate similar hours to the fall Day of Action.
Sarah and Pat Phalen are using the number three as the centerpiece of the 2015-16 United Way of Central Illinois campaign. They want you to:
- Give them 3 minutes to tell their story
- Increase your United Way donation by $3/pay, $3/month or 3% increase
- Volunteer 3 more hours this year
- Tell 3 friends about United Way
Whichever you choose, you’ll find you’re a superhero . . . No Red Cape Required.