As part of their 100-year anniversary celebration, Citizens Bank & Trust announced 100 Days of Giving, an opportunity for qualified Polk County non-profit organizations to apply for part of a $100,000 grant fund. Since 1920, Citizens Bank & Trust has been a stable and loyal partner with the communities they serve. This grant fund, designed to address local community needs, continues their commitment of giving by helping organizations that are making a difference to improve the lives of Polk County citizens. We asked President and CEO Greg Littleton about the initiative.
Q: Citizens Bank & Trust has chosen to celebrate its 100th anniversary by celebrating local nonprofit organizations. Why was this form of celebration important to Citizens Bank & Trust?
GL: Supporting the communities that we serve has always been very important to our bank and at the very core of our mission. These locally-based organizations are the driving force in helping those in our own backyard. These local heroes are perfect examples of care and compassion, giving back and lending a hand to those in need. As local bankers who work for, live in, and support this wonderful community we all call home, each and every one of you are the reason we’re able to celebrate our 100th year in business. We’re humbled and thankful, so we thought the best way to express our gratitude was by giving back!
Q: During any year, $100,000 worth of grant funds would mean a great deal to nonprofit organizations within our community. Perhaps this year it means more. What difference do you hope 100 Days of Giving makes to those organizations and the community at large?
GL: Our hope is that the funds can assist these organizations in continuing to serve those who need it the most. We’ve seen the financial impact 2020 has had on many of our local nonprofits and, in turn, see the great need to step up and help them just like they help others every day. The needs of our local residents come first and foremost, and whether it’s 1920 or 2020, this is the vision and mission we have sought to carry out daily as Polk County’s community bank.
Q: What are some of the stories or sentiments you’ve heard or seen from area nonprofits this year regarding their struggles and needs that sparked such a sizeable give-back initiative?
GL: No one could have expected what 2020 has brought us, especially nonprofit organizations that rely on a consistent stream of funding to provide badly needed services. Many nonprofits are people-facing, and when social distancing was put into place, this took a huge toll on the services they could provide. When you hear of the struggles our local residents were facing – needing food, shelter, and medical help, it wasn’t a question of should we help; it was a question of how we would and how we could best assist.
Q: As you reflect on your time with Citizens Bank & Trust and its role in the community over the last 100 years, what are you most proud of? What qualities or business practices do you think has made Citizens Bank & Trust such a cornerstone institution in Polk County?
GL: Being a 100-year-old, family-owned, third-generation business based entirely in Polk County means we truly understand our community. We believe in putting people first, from our loyal family of customers to our Citizens Bank & Trust work-family. I really believe that if you consistently try to do the right thing, people will take notice and appreciate that philosophy. We also believe that if employees enjoy what they do, that it is passed along in each customer interaction and experience. I am proud of our bank and its accomplishments. I am proud of the countless families and businesses we have had the pleasure of serving, and at times helping, over the years. I am proud of our history and our legacy, and I am proud of the support we are able to give to our community.
Q: The 100 Days of Giving celebration will likely inspire other businesses and regular citizens alike. How would you encourage those businesses and community members to make “giving” a priority in their work and lives?
GL: We truly hope the 100 Days of Giving initiative will inspire others to take the time to volunteer, make a monetary donation, or even simply spread the word about organizations that are in need. I encourage everyone to take a moment and reflect upon your life. If your basic needs are met, it’s important to be thankful for all that you have and then work to try and help others. Once you, or a business, establishes this mindset, it’s much easier to give back to those who might not be as fortunate. All of us here at Citizens Bank & Trust urge our local businesses and community members to remember those in need even during the best of times. Every person in our community deserves a happy, healthy life. We’re grateful to be here 100 years later, and as always, we’re proud to be your bank.