Creating Community Ties Through Volunteering

Sponsored by Capital One

Capital One employees Shameka and John.

Photos courtesy of Capital One.

Capital One
Capital One
June 20, 2024 at 12:31AM UTC

Philanthropy at Capital One isn’t a series of promises without action, but instead a defining feature of our company culture that’s reflective of our commitments to creating a more equitable future for all. And, it all starts with the volunteer hours logged and efforts supported and organized by our associates. Whether its a school supply drive in our café spaces, an organized initiative by one of our Business Resource Groups (BRGs) to engage associates, or a project spearheaded by someone with a passion and skill set to make an impact, there are countless ways our associates make a difference in the places we live and work. Hear from just a few of our associates who are deeply committed to giving back in ways uniquely important to them, that also change their communities for good.

Drawing on personal experience to guide and inspire others

When Tatiana, a bank branch ambassador, joined Capital One 7 years ago, she was immediately inspired to get involved and give back to the community around her. She shares, “I feel like I grew up here at Capital One and it’s part of who I am. The culture is so inclusive and volunteering is a huge part of that. I didn’t even know I had a passion for giving back until I started working here.” She has worked on many projects with many organizations, but the most meaningful effort for her has been her work with New Women New Yorker, an organization that helps immigrant women with career development goals, finding employment and locating educational resources. 

As an immigrant from Ecuador, Tatiana was well aware how hard it can be to move to a new country, where you aren’t fluent in the language, and try to establish yourself in the community. When she was paired with a woman who had recently arrived  from Ecuador as well, Tatiana felt her experiences and insights could uniquely benefit this woman in building the career in banking that she desired. They quickly developed a mentoring relationship and shared their stories with each other. Tatiana was able to equip her new friend with strategies to overcome interview anxieties rooted in past trauma, shared her own career journey of working in a Capital One bank branch and offered ongoing support while the woman built a foundation for her next life chapter. Reflecting on how her experiences influence her work, Tatiana explains, “It’s not just a job we do here, we’re involved in the community. I am sharing my knowledge and experience to help others and I’ve learned to communicate differently and find better ways to connect with people, in the branch and outside, through my volunteering.”

Creating shared opportunities to get involved

“Being able to support associates who don’t report to me and knowing I can influence them indirectly is one of the most impactful things about volunteering at Capital One for me,” shared Shameka, a Market Manager. After leading financial literacy lessons and discussions for school children at her branch, and watching them grow in number year after year, Shameka was inspired to start inviting other associates in the area to participate. This effort soon evolved into the creation of a volunteering pod among the local bank branches and cafés, where Shameka and other pod leaders could share volunteer opportunities and remind associates to log their volunteer hours each week. 

This pod also helped connect associates all over their region to give back, even in spite of the events of 2020. Shameka shared that through the inspiration of their Region Executive and the commitment of associates, “teams from New York City to Washington, DC-and everywhere in between-packed boxes full of supplies and goodies (up to 70 pounds!) for children in foster care and shipped them to our partner organization, Comfort Cases, to be distributed.” She was delighted to hear that not only did many teams take part but that “associates decorated their boxes, put lots of love into it and the organization even sent a video of thanks and shared how overcome with joy they were.”

In addition to the sense of fulfillment for associates, Shameka has also had the privilege of hearing how these volunteer efforts have helped people brush up on their presentation skills, instilled confidence and helped their growth and development in their roles. She shared, “The feedback they’ve shared with me about their growth warms my heart. Not only am I helping the community, but also helping associates grow and develop through volunteering efforts, while thinking about their next career steps.” 

Connecting Capital One associates with community partners

John, a Principal Associate in Field Services and Asset Management, has a strong family history of military service and felt drawn to engage with organizations in his community that serve veterans, military service members and their families. He started out by attending events held by different organizations and soon became a Capital One liaison to VetFest and Stop Soldier Suicide. He reached out to Capital One BRG, Salute for help engaging other associates and partnering with these organizations at the national level. Because Salute’s programming is geared towards military members, veterans, families and allies, it was a natural fit for partnership. The BRG team offered ideas to grow the efforts and launched an entire initiative for associate involvement around the partnerships. These efforts resulted in hundreds of associates getting involved and a donation being made by the BRG and Capital One to support the ongoing efforts of these important community organizations.

John’s work with VetFest, Stop Soldier Suicide and the Saute BRG also opened the door for him to take on an advisory role for others because of his experience. He shared “the organizations I work with were interested in how we engaged Capital One associates internally and wanted to replicate those efforts at other companies. I was also able to help local chapters of our BRGs to model this engagement effort and share my own learnings from the experience of how to keep things running smoothly.”

Though John has always felt a connection to the spirit of volunteering at Capital One, these experiences allow him to bring together his internal resources with community organizations that could benefit. Being able to help other teams replicate those successes and empowering others to create positive impacts was an added joy for John. He reflects, “Our associates are in BRGs for a reason-because they feel a connection to the mission and want to contribute to something. I think I have the gift of connection and I’m proud that I could make the connections that empower others to share their gifts.”

Using job skills to improve the community

As a café ambassador, Leslie gets to spend a lot of time chatting with customers about aspects of their finances, while also connecting with them on a personal level. To those she’s volunteering with, her personal connection and respect make all the difference. Leslie partners with LEAP (Ladies Empowerment Action Program) and helps women incarcerated in the Florida state prison system who are preparing for their release to learn financial literacy and entrepreneurship. She shared, “I helped to build out a financial literacy curriculum designed for these women’s unique circumstances. We go beyond just telling them ‘save your money’ and help them understand how to invest in themselves and their interests. We want them to know how they can use their money to align with what they value most.”

Once the women are released, Leslie is also able to help them through her café role as well. When the women receive their funds to establish themselves, they often need a bank account to deposit their check in. Leslie and her teammates are there to help get their financial accounts established. While in the café, they can also just grab a coffee and a chance to connect with others. Leslie explains, “The cafés are built for the community. Our teams have a special level of empathy for everyone that walks through our doors, and we want them to know we’re there for them through all life events, not just for banking.” After forming a bond with the women during their time in prison, Leslie feels proud to remind them that they have our respect and we value their success. “We want them to know that we as a bank can support them with needed resources, but also as a community we can support them as an underserved group of people.”  

For each of these volunteers, there is a special connection to the work they do to change banking for good. They all take pride in knowing that they’re supported to invest their time and efforts into their communities and empower others to, as well. Because when we’re all empowered to grow and thrive, our community can flourish. Capital One and our associates are committed to making this a reality one volunteer hour at a time. 

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