Here at Great Midwest Bank, we are just as committed to our Simply Giving initiative as we are to our approach to Simply Local banking. Not only does giving back keep us rooted in our communities, but it also allows the Great Midwest Bank team to get out of the office and interact with our non-profit partners – it’s a win-win!
We’re thrilled that many of our employees have enthusiastically embraced the Simply Giving mission: Volunteer, Educate, Donate. Since the initiative’s formal launch, we have partnered with local organizations to raise money and offer our time. At the end of the day, we all agree- we get back just as much, if not more, in return.
This past year was filled with several projects for organizations that we’re proud to support. From our Habitat for Humanity build days to the Toy Drive for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, we’ve had an exciting and meaningful year of Simply Giving, and are proud to share some highlights.
Our year began and ended with the 12th Annual WSSP Toy Drive to benefit Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin when we became the official Bank Sponsor of the drive in early 2018. This year was a record-breaking one for the drive, raising over $160,000 in toys, cash, checks, and gift cards. All donations were given to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin as well as Robyn’s Nest, the hospital’s Community Services outreach that distributes toys to children in foster families.
This November, we put out toy collection bins at all of our Metro-Milwaukee branches, and the community came through big-time. It took three vans to haul all of the donations we collected to the main collection site. Thank you to everyone who made donations!
Read more about the Annual WSSP Toy Drive here: https://1057fmthefan.radio.com/events/toy-drive-2018-thank-you
On the third Friday of every month our Great Midwest Bank team goes Casual for a Cause, swapping out typical business wear for jeans in exchange for a small monetary donation. Employees at all of our branches are able to submit charitable organizations for consideration and this year, Casual for a Cause collections went to these twelve incredible organizations:
January – Make-A-Wish Wisconsin
February – Access Community Health Centers
April – Milwaukee Rescue Mission
May – Habitat for Humanity
July – YMCA at Pabst Farm
August – My Team Triumph
September – Operation Finally Home
October – National Breast Cancer Foundation
November – Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
December – Sojourner Family Peace Center
We had a great time partnering with Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin on a number of occasions this year. Our team worked together to sort and organize food donations on each of these days. We debulked a total of 5,730 pounds of potatoes and even found one that looked a little familiar…
Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is the state’s leading hunger relief organization. They annually serve 400,000 people and provide 445,980 meals to local families through their local Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program outreach efforts.
Learn more about Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin here: https://feedingamericawi.org/
Habitat for Humanity – Waukesha County always provides some much-needed service time outside during the warmer months! After initially volunteering during the summer of 2017, we were eager to continue our partnership with Habitat for Humanity this summer. Our team grabbed their hammers, put on their carpenter jeans and matching t-shirts, and participated in two different build days late in the summer.
Habitat for Humanity’s vision is to build “a world where everyone has a decent place to live.” We think that’s a beautiful mission, and we look forward to expanding our efforts into Milwaukee’s Habitat program in 2019.
Learn more Habitat for Humanity here: https://www.habitat.org/
Camp Hometown Heroes provides week-long camping experiences for children who have lost a parent, sibling, or loved one who served in the U.S. military. The children, ages 7-17, are given a safe space to grieve and grow alongside others who share a similar circumstance. We can think of no better way to honor our fallen military members than to care for their children.
Our team came together to raise over $4,000 for Camp Hometown Heroes this year. We also spent a day in June volunteering at the Camp. To get it ready for the kids, we channeled our inner artists and painted the cabins.
Learn more about Camp Hometown Heroes here: https://hometownheroes.org/
Many of us are big college basketball fans. So we were pretty excited to partner with a great Wisconsin basketball cause, Garding Against Cancer. University of Wisconsin’s men’s basketball coach Greg Gard and his wife Michelle have been running this organization for more than three years. They focus on raising awareness and donating money for cancer research within Wisconsin. All the proceeds stay within the state, which makes it the perfect “Simply Local” cause to support.
The 2017-2018 season saw over $4,000 donated from Great Midwest Bank, and we will continue our partnership with Garding Against Cancer. For every point the team scores, we donate $2, which will hopefully add up quickly with this year’s version of the Badgers. Since starting their organization, the Gards have been able to raise over $2 million.
Learn more about Garding Against Cancer here: https://www.gardingagainstcancer.org/
This nonprofit organization flies local Wisconsin World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and terminally ill veterans to Washington, DC to visit the war memorials. Great Midwest Bank is proud to honor our veterans by supporting this program and building awareness.
Learn more about Stars and Stripes Honor Flight here: https://www.starsandstripeshonorflight.org/
This past February, the team headed out to Revitalize Milwaukee’s Block Build Day MKE, where hundreds of volunteers gathered to repair and transform an entire block of homes.
Even though it was a rainy day, our participants still had a great time. Cyndie Higgins, a recently retired loan officer, said, “The people assembled had high spirits and worked as if it were a clear day. The homeowners were so grateful for the free home improvements, many of which actually changed their lives. One gentleman needed a wheelchair ramp so he could leave his home without the help of others. Shortly after completion, he was out and about in the neighborhood; he told us it had been years since he was able to just sit in his own backyard.”
Learn more about Block Build MKE here: http://www.freehomerepairs.org/
Dan Murphy, our registered LPL financial advisor, was excited to give back to the Wauwatosa community by teaching children a basic understanding of the stock market and the concept of investing. Education is a main component of the Simply Giving initiative, and we believe educating our youth about finances early in life will help them thrive in the future. Dan brought his knowledge to Wauwatosa Montessori School where he presented the National Stock Market Game. The kids participated and had a great time, but we know Dan enjoyed it too.
Our team was excited to help our friends over at 99.1 The Mix for the 21st annual “Stuff the Bus” food drive! We spent our morning at the Pick ‘n Save on Mayfair Road in Wauwatosa stuffing city buses full of prepackaged meals, canned and dry goods, and frozen turkeys for families to have during the holiday season.
Learn more about Stuff the Bus here: https://991themix.radio.com/tag/stuff-bus
Wow, we can’t believe our first full year of Simply Giving is already under our belt! Our hearts are full heading into 2019. Thank you to everyone who donated or participated in these impactful events with us.
All of us at Great Midwest Bank wish you a happy and safe New Year.