Business Bank of Nevada received top honors for corporate volunteerism at the Governor’s Points of Light Award dinner on October 16 in Reno. Gov. Kenny Guinn presented the award for the bank’s “dedication, commitment and determination in promoting and supporting volunteerism.” Other corporate nominees were I. Silver Management Group and MGM Mirage-Dollars for Doers.
Business Bank, with an employee base of less than 80, still manages to have a large impact on the communities it serves. In addition to its monetary support, the bank leverages in-kind contributions with volunteer support to help as many qualified non-profit organizations and community groups as possible.
Business Bank’s volunteer efforts each year include: the Magical Forest fundraising event hosted by Opportunity Village; support for Habitat for Humanity, which builds homes for low-income families; and the bank’s program of adopting needy families during the holidays through HELP of Southern Nevada and F.I.S.H in Northern Nevada.
“We are especially honored to represent the state’s small businesses in receiving this award,” said Paul Stowell, spokesman for Business Bank. “A lot of smaller companies feel they don’t have a chance to win, but the selection is based on community service and involvement, not strictly on monetary contributions. Over half our employees in Southern Nevada participate in the Habitat for Humanity program, and close to 85 percent volunteer for the Magical Forest event. Percentage-wise, we feel we are one of the leaders in vcolunteerism.”
Putting on an event like the Magical Forest, which runs every night from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, requires an enormous amount of volunteer support from the community. Most Business Bank employees volunteer their services to work at the event at least one night during the five-week period. In addition, bank employees work at the Magical Forest as cashiers to handle, count and deposit nightly proceeds.
Habitat for Humanity is one of the other popular volunteer programs the bank and its employees have embraced as a worthy cause. After designating one home as a Business Bank project last year, a number of bank employees decided to regularly donate their time and talents to helping low-income families realize their dream of homeownership. A member of the bank’s management team also serves on the board of directors for the organization.
Each year, for the last several years, bank employees have adopted needy families at both ends of the state during the holidays and provided them with food, clothes and toys for children. While the bank always contributes monetary support to this worthwhile endeavor, bank employees have contributed hundreds of dollars of their own money to make the holidays a little brighter for these less fortunate families.
Stowell said John Guedry, Business Bank’s president and CEO, truly believes in getting involved and leading by example. “From swinging a hammer for Habitat for Humanity to working as a crossing guard at the Magical Forest, he is always leading the way for his employees to follow,” said Stowell. The involvement of executive management at these philanthropic events motivates other bank employees to want to get involved and make a difference in the lives of those people who need a helping hand.
Other Corporate Nominees
Also receiving a Points of Light nomination was the MGM Mirage’s Dollars for Doers campaign, which maximizes employee volunteerism by awarding grants payable to a non-profit organization of the employee’s choice. The grants are based on the number of hours an employee contributes to an organization during the year, and can total up to $1,000. The company also sponsors an innovative online system that enables employees to track their hours and discuss volunteer experiences.
Silver Management Group, Inc., a Reno-based consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, teambuilding efforts and motivational speaking, was also nominated for the Points of Light award. Idora Silver, who heads the company, said after she lost a major client several years ago and her business slumped, “What helped me was helping others. I began to teach them things that had proved meaningful to me, whether they paid me or not. Today, I feel my small company stays in business because of what I give others.” Silver’s company has helped the Women’s Community Cabinet to raise public awareness of the need for basic hygiene items to help people in need. Silver helped the organization with its strategic plan and corporate direction, and helps train its staff and volunteers in public speaking so they can spread the group’s message to the community at large. “Once you count your blessings, it’s easy to give, and this creates a ripple effect,” said Silver.