When the women of Independence Bank put their mind to something, it gets done. In 2016, after arriving to the Frankfort market, Independence Bank began to assess the largest needs in the community and develop a plan of action. Improving the quality of life in the communities it serves across Kentucky is an integral part of the Bank’s mission.
What began with a simple tour to best understand the needs of the Franklin County Women and Family Shelter has since flourished into a commitment of women enthusiastically helping other women.
“I thought we would donate bleach and paper towels,” recalls Holly Brunson, Independence Bank Location Manager, “but after we toured the facility our female bankers were on fire about it and knew that we had to do more. We fell in love with the idea of making something big happen for them.”
The team approached Bank President, Greg Burton with their pitch: Help open a newly acquired apartment building to provide shelter for not only women, but for their children and partners as well.
“Our team’s passion was quite moving,” remembers Burton. “The shelter not only provides housing, but they offer counseling and coaching to help families find a more permanent solution and a more stable life. We felt called to be part of that mission.”
Their first fundraising effort came in the form of a car wash where all proceeds were to benefit the shelter’s new apartments. As luck would have it, it rained the majority of the day, but even so members of the community drove their cars into the car wash just to donate money to the shelter’s cause. In the end, the Bank donated $1,776 towards furnishing the apartments.
The team immediately got to work purchasing everything from couches to kitchenware. Saturday was install day with over 25 employees, friends and family members taking part. The volunteers experienced a full day of work and a gentle reminder to practice gratitude.
“Thinking about homelessness affecting the entire family unit was eye opening,” said Brunson. “These families have already endured a great amount of trauma and to provide a solution to keep them together during their transition period was so important.”
In the years since, the Bank has continued its partnership by fundraising, donating and visiting the Women’s Shelter.
“We have been able to offer shelter and supportive services to 36 different families since the opening of the apartments in 2016,” said Janet Goetz, Executive Director of the Franklin County Women and Family Shelter. “I think their team took an interest in helping to completely furnish one of our apartments and to support us financially throughout the years because they care about families and helping people who are experiencing homelessness. We are honored that Independence Bank chose to support us as we help families one by one become stable and able to live independently.”
So why would a bank choose to be so involved with a local women’s shelter? Outside of Independence Bank’s ongoing commitment to move the Frankfort community forward, it’s team understands first-hand the economic impact of affording individuals stable housing and income.
“Lending a hand to some of our most vulnerable families isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s an important factor in keeping our economy healthy,” explains Greg. “It’s personal for our team which is why you won’t just see us writing check. We want to be an active participant in the solution.”
And they aren’t stopping yet. The Bank plans on bringing financial literacy courses and education to the shelter’s women as a compliment to the counseling they are already receiving. Affording them the opportunity to understand and be prepared to navigate budgeting their income and building a new life for themselves.
Want to get involved? Visit https://www.fcwomenandfamilyshelter.org for ways to help.
Published originally in FRANK, October 2020 Edition