Naperville volunteerism creates impact

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Each year in April, many individuals and businesses celebrate National Volunteer Month, which recognizes the huge impact volunteers make and encourages active volunteerism in generations to come. Naperville is a community rich in the spirit of volunteerism and boasts a huge number of residents and businesses who put their compassion into action every day.

On this Business Forward, Kaylin Risvold, President and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, joins three guests from Naperville Bank & Trust, on location at their Downtown Naperville branch to learn more about how vital and valuable volunteerism is to their employees and their overall workplace culture.

Engaging employees through volunteerism

Risvold spoke with Tom Miers, President of Naperville Bank & Trust about how they champion volunteerism at the bank and make it a part of their corporate culture.

Miers said, “Part of our culture is giving back to the community. You know, the community is good for the business. We need to give back to the community. And that can be in the form of sponsorship opportunities, board leadership or just volunteering. We have many, many people involved in organizations. We believe strongly that they need to be passionate about the organizations that they volunteer in because that makes a big difference.”

The pair went on to talk about the importance of providing employees an opportunity to explore lots of different areas of service at various nonprofits so they can find one that really speaks to them.

Miers said he has found many volunteer opportunities that have been a good match for him personally,  “I’ve been involved in the YMCA my whole life as a kid and I’m still involved in the Y because I’m passionate about it. And there’s other things, Rotary, and other things I’m part of that I’m passionate about. So that’s what makes it fun. And I love working for a bank that encourages that.”

Serving the community through volunteerism 

Kaylin Risvold, went on to speak with Adam Fuchs, Senior Vice President of Wintrust Commercial Banking about his volunteer experiences and the many ways volunteerism serves the community.

Fuchs said, “Volunteerism is very important to our bank for purposes of personal and professional growth.  We highly encourage our employees to use work time to be involved in organizations that they feel passionate about.  This creates a culture in our office, unlike others.  From a business standpoint, Wintrust is an Illinois-based bank and the majority of our customers and employees work and live locally.  We are active in the local communities because the stronger our communities are, the better quality of life of our employees.  In addition, if we have strong communities, our customers are stronger and that is good for the bank.

Fuchs serves on the Board of Directors of Loaves & Fishes Community Services and knew after meeting Mike and his team that he had to get involved.  Fuchs said, “Wintrust has been a strong supporter of the organization for a long time and I wanted to volunteer my time and have been on the board of directors since 2022.  The importance of organizations like Loaves and Fishes are more important now than ever.  We are seeing the impacts of inflation on our local community. The organization is serving double the amount of people that they were at the beginning of 2022 and now serving between 6 – 7k clients a week.  Those are people in our communities and customers and friends and families of our employees.”

Building a stronger family through volunteerism

Finally, Risvold chatted with Barbara Piesz, Vice President of Small Business Banking at Naperville Bank & Trust downtown about her family’s commitment to giving back together and the reasons why they do what they do.

“I think when people get married and when they have kids, they have ideas of what they want their life to be. And I think having those conversations with my spouse and saying this is how I want to raise my family, and I think that dynamic has now passed on to my kids as far as this is, what is an expectation of you, is part of being in a community and being part of a family community, remarked Piesz.

Piesz spoke about the struggle of finding the capacity to volunteer when you have young kids at home. She suggested finding opportunities to give back that include your children and that you could do as a family to make it easier. She said to start small, possibly just take on a project at a time, and as your family dynamic changes over time, your capacity to give may increase.

Piesz said, “So we have quarterly my home has quarterly goals for volunteering, and the as of now that my kids are, I’m almost an empty nester. I’ve been able to widen what I do in the community by taking leadership roles. And that is, I think for anybody out there, you ask, Do I really want to do this? How much time is it going to take?

The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce (NACC) is committed to promoting and expanding volunteer opportunities in Naperville.  Every year the Chamber hosts a NACC Volunteer Week coinciding with the National Volunteer Week initiated by Presidential Proclamation in 1974, and as an organization, they ask their members – and the community – to find the time inside this week to serve their deep network of not-for-profits where they need volunteer support. Visit the NACC website to learn more about the NACC Volunteer Week and all the Chamber initiatives and programming supporting area not-for-profits.