By: Thomas J. Shara
I’m very proud to say that at Lakeland Bank, we foster a culture of caring and encourage colleagues at all levels to give back to the communities we serve. We did so in 2011 in many ways including building homes, collecting food, and raising funds for college scholarships. We donated more than $380,000 to numerous charitable and nonprofit groups in North Jersey to enhance the services they provide to our local communities.
Our tradition of giving back to the community started more than 40 years ago and continues to be at the forefront of our daily activity.
To share all of the good our employees spread is not possible. But I’ve selected highlights from last year to show the range of support the Bank and our colleagues put forth.
- Lakeland Bank colleagues volunteered more than 10,000 service hours supporting nonprofit organizations that are meaningful in their neighborhoods including schools and youth athletic leagues. They also volunteered for first aid squads and fire departments and were members of Rotary Clubs, Knights of Columbus and hospital foundations.
- Many of our colleagues enjoy the opportunity to dress casual every Friday through the company’s Jeans Day Program. To do so, they donate a minimum of $10 a month. Last year, they gave $28,700 to the following charities: Meals on Wheels, American Heart Association, SCARC & the ARC of NJ, Autism Speaks, American Cancer Society, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Glaucoma Research for Children, American Humane Association, and Karen Ann Quinlan Foundation and Barnabas Hospice and Palliative Care Center.
- With help from customers and employees, we donated goods to local food pantries and contributed gifts for those in need during the holiday season. The generosity of these donations is always impressive, but I was personally touched by the response of my colleagues to help the Boys & Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic. Just a week before the Club’s holiday party, they discovered they needed 100 extra toys and asked us for help. In just a few days, there were 100 more toys placed in a collection box for the children of the Boys & Girls Club.
- Education is a primary focus at Lakeland Bank, and we make every effort to support our local students, colleges and universities. We strongly believe higher education plays a crucial role in fostering healthy, vibrant communities in New Jersey. In 2011 we helped raise a record $85,000 for scholarships at our annual Golf Outing. And, we continued to sponsor the Pavilion on the Green at Sussex County Community College to support campus events and cultural programs as well as the Ramapo College Foundation scholarship program. In addition, we visited nearly 2,000 elementary students on Teach Children to Save Day to teach the basics of good financial habits.
- Quality of life initiatives are also important at Lakeland Bank. We contributed $10,000 as part of our $50,000 pledge to help fund the construction of a new community center for SCARC. We also raised nearly $45,000 at our 30th Annual Golf Classic which supports 18 Sussex County charities, and participated in programs for Chilton Hospital Foundation, Metro YMCA and the Morris County Housing Partnership.
- Sponsoring community events is another way we help strengthen communities. Boonton Main Street, the Bergen Bike Tour, Montville Township’s 4th of July Festival, the Caldwell Street Fair, the Sparta Main Street 5k Festival and the Saint Patrick’s Day parades in Morristown and Newton are just a handful of events we were glad to support.
We are already well on our way to making North Jersey a better place this year. Please say hello if you see us out and about in the community. And, stay tuned as we post information on this blog and our Facebook Page
about our annual golf outings and other community events we will sponsor.