FULTON, NY – To the employees and management of Fulton Savings Bank “giving back to the community” is more than just a phrase, it’s a mission they are committed to.
For decades, Fulton Savings Bank has been a strong supporter of United Way of Greater Oswego County.
With the completion of this year’s United Way campaign Fulton Savings Bank employees once again demonstrated their support for the agency and the positive impact that it has on Oswego County.
Debra Braden has served as coordinator of the Fulton Savings Bank employee campaign for United Way for the past several years.
She, along with co-coordinators Sharyl Kelly and Nancy DeGiliormo, share an infectious passion for United Way that truly inspires their co-workers and serves as the catalyst for the success of the employee campaign.
Braden’s first exposure to United Way was when she served as a community volunteer on the United Way’s Community Investment Committee.
As a committee member Braden visited United Way partner agencies that offer programs that are part of United Way’s five specific areas of service; Emergency Services, Children and Family Services, Health and Special Needs, Senior Services, and Youth Development.
Learning about the work that these agencies do, and the role they play in assisting United Way in its mission of stopping hunger, helping children and youth succeed, and improving the health and well-being of Oswego County made a lasting impression.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” said Braden. “I had no idea of the amount of need that exists in our county. I was somewhat familiar with United Way but I was not aware of what they did exactly. However, after seeing first-hand the work that United Way supported programs do and hearing from individuals whose lives have been transformed as a result of these programs, the impact that United Way has on Oswego County was quite evident.”
As part of the employee campaign Braden and her co-coordinators visited each of Fulton Savings Bank’s seven branches throughout Oswego County speaking with their fellow employees in every department in each branch.
Their presentations focused on the work that United Way does and the services offered through its partner agencies.
“Each year we share a heart warming story of a family or individual who benefited from a United Way supported program. It’s always enlightening when you realize that the impact of these programs is far reaching. If a mother receives counseling for parenting skills yes, it benefits her children, but it also benefits all the children that her children come in contact with because if they are treated well they will most likely treat others well and that perpetuates itself in a positive way,” explained Braden.
Last year Fulton Savings Bank employees’ United Way campaign raised $10,000.
When this year’s campaign was almost at that point. Braden set her sights on surpassing last year’s total.
“Sharyl, Nancy and I wanted to find a way that to put us over the top, something that would be fun and generate some excitement. As it was during the Christmas season we thought an ugly Christmas sweater contest might be just what we needed. For a $5 donation employees donned their favorite ugly Christmas and were allowed to wear jeans. We visited each branch and had a lot of fun with it. Some people even made their own sweaters, and best of all we did exceed our goal and raised $10,479. Coupled with the Fulton Savings Bank corporate donation we provided United Way with a total of $16,979,” said Braden.
Braden added that much of the reason for the success of their campaign for United Way is the culture of community support that Fulton Savings Bank fosters.
CEO Michael Pollock has served as a member of the United Way’s board of directors as well as on the agency’s community investment committee.
He is well aware of the impact that United Way has on the quality of life in Oswego County.
“United Way is an important part of our community,” said Pollock. “Through my association with United Way I have seen the need that exists and the good that United Way funded programs do. When I was growing up I looked forward to going to CYO to play basketball and meet new friends. It was a great experience that not only provided recreation in a safe, welcoming environment but also provided us with fine role models and positive, real life experiences. The CYO program is one of the programs that United Way funds and it is money well spent. We are proud to support United Way and it’s nice to see our employees come together for such a worthy cause.”
“I know it sounds cliché,” added Braden, “but when it comes to giving back to your community supporting United Way does give you the most bang for your buck. They are amazing stewards of the donations they receive and where else can you donate money that helps so many different programs that serve everyone from youth and seniors to individuals and families. United Way ensures that there are programs that serve those with the most need. I know my coworkers agree with me when I say that United Way has my heart and we will always do what we can to support its efforts.”