Community

Zions Bank: A Culture of Community Involvement

In honor of National Philanthropy Day, Zions Bankers discuss the importance of giving back and the causes that are close to their hearts.

Nicola McIntosh Nov 12, 2020

A culture of community involvement starts at the top of any organization.

At Zions Bank, that commitment to giving back to our communities starts with our President and CEO Scott Anderson — who rolls up his sleeves every year to help with our Paint-a-Thon service project — and cascades all the way down through our organization. In 2019, Zions Bank employees contributed more than 3,000 hours of service in their communities in Idaho and Utah. They also served on more than 63 different nonprofit boards and committees with 72 organizations.

In honor of National Philanthropy Day on Nov. 12, several Zions Bank employees offer their perspective on the importance of giving back and the causes that are close to their hearts.

Why is it important to you to give your time and talents in service to others?

“I find that as I serve others I am able to develop attitudes of patience, gratitude, acceptance, and love with myself and others,” says Monticello branch manager Derryl Jack, who is involved with too many organizations to list, including the Monticello Lions Club and the San Juan County Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. “My efforts also help to build the kind of community that I want to live in.”

“Giving my time and talents in service to others helps to strengthen the members of our community who are struggling,” explains Janet Ogden, who works in Zions Corporate Compensation Department and volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Meals on Wheels. “As all the members of our community become stronger, the community becomes stronger.” 

people preparing food
Before COVID-19 put their activities on hold, Emil Vasylyev was an active volunteer with the Burrito Project SLC.

For Tim Raccuia, it’s all about paying it forward. “We are highly blessed and need to share that with those around us,” says Raccuia, a Commercial Real Estate relationship manager who serves as board president of NeighborWorks Salt Lake and as a member of the procurement committee for Utah Community Action. “More selfishly, it makes me feel good when I am serving others.”

Volunteering with the Burrito Project SLC opened financial analyst Emil Vasylyev’s eyes to the challenges of homelessness and generational poverty. “Before I started to volunteer, it was easy for me to pre-judge homeless people without taking into account how hard it is to get back on your feet once you are living on the street,” he says. “I would not have realized the complex situations that homeless people face without this experience.”

What do you love about the volunteer work you’re currently doing?

“I love being a part of an organization that brings everyone together to aid our community in economic growth and business retention. It’s rewarding to see our community thriving,” says Renee Avram, Twin Falls branch manager and a board member for Business Plus, an economic development organization in the Magic Valley.

“I really enjoy working with children,” Ogden says. “I strive to be another supporting adult in the life of my mentee.”

For Raccuia, it’s all about changing lives. “At UCA, we are helping disadvantaged children get a step ahead so they can rise up out of poverty,” he explains. “NeighborWorks improves neighborhoods and helps to provide low income housing. It also teaches youth how to work and improve their situation.”

How does Zions Bank support you and your philanthropic pursuits? Is it important to you to work for a company that gives back to the community?

people standing together holding large check
Renee Avram (center) presents a donation to Business Plus during the grand opening of the Twin Falls Eastland branch.

“Zions Bank fully supports its employees to be active in the communities where they live and it’s highly encouraged to give back any way we can,” Avram says. “I would have to honestly say, that it’s a top priority to me, to work for a company that fully supports and invests in their employees and communities.”

All of the employees said their managers have supported time spent away from the office to make a difference in the community.

“I am allowed to attend organization meetings even if they are held during business hours,” Jack explains. “If membership fees are required, Zions Bank helps me pay them. I believe they recognize that by allowing and supporting their employees to participate, it makes stronger employees. And a community-oriented business has the support of the community it serves. It is a win-win activity.”

What advice or encouragement would you give someone who wants to get more involved in their community?

"I would visit with them to find out what passions they have and I’d encourage them to reach out to organizations that they are interested in, and find out how they can help out,” Avram says.

“Just keep your eyes open and find an opportunity that suits you best,” Vasylyev recommends. “There are a number of online resources that highlight volunteer opportunities in the community.”

Jack suggests finding something fun so that your volunteer work doesn’t become burdensome. “There are a wide variety of opportunities to serve in each community,” he says. “You will be surprised at how quickly you are accepted and appreciated.”

people dressed up as The Beatles
Derryl Jack is president of Blue Mountain Entertainment, an arts organization that serves the Monticello community.

Raccuia says simply: Do it! “Find a cause that is important to you and an organization that aligns with your values and offer your services,” he says. “You will love seeing how your efforts and the efforts of your organization are making a positive difference.”

If you’re looking to join an organization that shares your values and understands the importance of giving back to the community, apply for an open position at Zions Bank and transform your career.

Nicola McIntosh is Social Media manager for Zions Bank.

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