Community Giving

Generosity Above the Bottom Line

By: Sandy DiBernardo, Vice President / Director of Community Outreach 

More than 35 years ago I started my career as the receptionist here at OlyFed, following in the footsteps of retired CEO Lori Drummond who had since been promoted to an administrative marketing role. I remember being surprised by three things when I was hired. First, the people were genuinely kind, thoughtful and friendly. Second, the culture was truly built on making a meaningful difference in the lives of our customers. Third, the organization did not fit my perception of banks; it was incredibly generous when it came to sharing its resources with its employees and our community.

That commitment to generosity was made even more evident when Lori was promoted to Marketing Director and she hired me as her assistant. As one of only a few organizations that have been a part of the Olympia business community for more than 100 years, I soon learned about some of our earliest philanthropic partnerships with other centennial organizations like Saint Martin’s University, Providence St. Peter Hospital and South Sound YMCA.

OlyFed was drawn to the entrepreneurial spirit of the founders of our community and we continue to believe in supporting social service innovators striving to improve the quality of life for our neighbors. I vividly remember in 1989 helping Homes First, an affordable housing nonprofit, get their start.

We hosted a fundraising barbecue at a local park and we partnered with the legendary Barb O’Neill. It was all hands on deck operation with Lori, myself, and Wayne Staley doing everything from helping to cook the beans and serving lunch to sharing the importance of having high-quality, low-cost housing for our area’s most vulnerable people. We also helped by putting statement stuffers about Homes First in our monthly customer mailings. It was a grassroots effort that helped the organization become what it is today with 42 units helping families in need.

If fact over the years, OlyFedders have been a part of providing early support to a number of local nonprofits, including Boys & Girls Clubs, Enterprise for Equity, Bigelow House Museum, Olympia Symphony, Hands on Children’s Museum, Senior Services and many more. In total we’ve supported more than 300 local organizations, contributing anywhere from 10% to 15% of our profits to the community each year.

Last year that equaled more than $460,000 in support, not to mention, the hundreds of volunteer hours contributed by our team members. In my time with the bank, I’ve seen our employees serve in board leadership positions with more than 50 organizations, lending our talents and expertise to the grow the arts, social services and so much more. This unwavering commitment to our community is what “Banking that’s Mutual” means to me.

I can honestly say we give Two Cents and we do it for every debit card transaction our customers make, donating the funds to a different charity each month. Since starting this program in November of 2018 we’ve contributed more than $150,000 to 50+ different life-changing community organizations. Why do we do this? Because as author Bob Goff says, “Ambitions don’t flow from the number of our ideas or our uninterrupted drive; they gush out of our kindness and willingness to take a genuine interest in others.” That’s generosity above the bottom line.

Two Cent Campaign Community Giving Apply for Support