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Citizens delivers 'random acts of kindness'

NEW ULM October 1, 2021 — Citizens Bank Minnesota employees spent September carrying out several Random Acts of Kindness (RAKs) in the communities they serve. Citizens donated $750 for 15 teams to spread kindness in a creative way. Many employees also contributed towards their RAKs.

The teams donated blood, delivered snacks to local hospitals, had gift card giveaways at local gas stations, grilled lunch for local law enforcement officers, delivered food for first responders, picked up trash at a park, unpacked and sorted snacks for Project Lunch Box and delivered freezer meals to families and snacks in appreciation of schools and bus drivers.

This effort was in conjunction with the Minnesota Bankers Association’s Community Impact Month. Across the state, 88 banks and over 342 branches joined forces in September to serve 243 distinct cities. Launched by the Minnesota Bankers Association, the Community Impact Month creates an opportunity for banks to highlight the many volunteer opportunities available to help build stronger local communities.

Old National employees gather to package food for local food shelf

October 1, 2021 - Last Tuesday evening, employees of Montevideo's Old National Bank gathered in their downtown building to work on a project to help provide food to local families. The bank's corporate office recently partnered with Meals from the Heart, a non-profit Minnesota-based company as a part of their initiative for Community Impact Month. 

The Community Impact Month initiative is a program that the Minnesota Bankers Association launches annually in September to provide a space and time for banks that are members of the Association to engage employees in activities such as this that give back to the community. Old National's chain of banks has been a part of Community Impact Month for a few years, and this year chose to partner with Meals from the Heart to package food for various food shelves around the state. 

The Montevideo Old National employees packaged food that would in part be contributed to Prairie Five in Montevideo. “As a community bank, it’s really part of our culture to give back, and we are thrilled to partner with a nonprofit that has helped us engage so many of our team members. We are also appreciative that Meals from the Heart gave us the opportunity to help direct the distribution of the meals so that we could benefit local neighborhoods and nonprofit organizations that we already know,” said Julie Anderson, Government and Nonprofit Relationship Banker at Old National, and Chair of the ACE Committee, which coordinates Community Impact Month activities for the bank.

The Montevideo Old National Bank employees packaged sixty-six boxes of meals, the best average of all four sites with a total of 14,442 servings packaged. The grand total was 102,564 servings between all of the four Old National Bank locations. 
Old National Bank has 31 locations around the state, and other beneficiaries of the meals packaged by Old National are: Big Lake Food Shelf, Buffalo Food Shelf, CAPI USA in Brooklyn Center, ECHO Food Shelf in Mankato, Keystone Community Services in St. Paul, Madison Food Shelf, VEAP in Bloomington, and Waconia Food Shelf.

Combat-wounded veteran honored with keys to new vehicle at the Minnesota State Fair 

Wells Fargo and Apple Autos donated a 2021 Ford Escape SE Hybrid through Military Warriors Support Foundation
ST. PAUL, MINN. – September 8, 2021 – For combat-wounded veterans, transitioning from the military back to civilian life can be a challenge. That, combined with the cost of a new vehicle, can put added burdens on our nation’s military service members and their families. To help, Wells Fargo teamed up with Apple Autos and Military Warriors Support Foundation to present a payment-free 2021 Ford Escape SE Hybrid to former U.S. Army Sergeant Michael Diehn on Tuesday, August 31, during Military Appreciation Day at the Minnesota State Fair. 
“It is such an honor to receive this vehicle and be a part of this program because it will give our family so much more freedom to do different things and visit new places. Personally, I hope to be able to start my own farm with a garden and animals, participate in more veteran events, and volunteer to help my fellow veteran community. As a family, we’ll get to take more road trips to different U.S. destinations and learn how to budget and save money for the future,” shared former U.S. Army Sergeant Michael Diehn. 
The donation was made through Military Warriors Support Foundation’s Transportation4Heroes program, which awards payment-free vehicles and provides one year of family and financial mentorship to combat-wounded veterans and Gold Star families. According to the Foundation, the counseling has helped families in its program pay down, on average, about $30,000 in debt.  
Michael Diehn was born and raised in Arlington, Minn. He joined the Army in 2001 and completed his basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia. Sergeant Diehn also attended Airborne School, and later was assigned to Company E, 51st Infantry Regiment, serving as Long Range Surveillance in Darmstadt, Germany. In 2003, while deployed to Iraq, he sustained injuries while supporting combat operations and received a Purple Heart. He was flown back to Germany to recover from his injuries. After six months of rehabilitation, he re-enlisted in the military and got deployed back to Iraq. After six years of service, he was honorably discharged in 2007 and received many awards for his bravery, including a Combat Infantryman Badge, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Iraq Campaign Medal and more. Today, Sergeant Diehn resides in Plato, Minn. with his wife and three children and enjoys fishing, gardening, cutting wood and going on road trips. 
Wells Fargo Auto, a division of Wells Fargo Consumer Lending, started the Sponsored Vehicle Donation Program in 2015, and since then have worked with auto dealerships across the country to sponsor the donation of more than 50 payment-free vehicles and family and financial mentoring, valued at over $1.5 million, to combat-wounded veterans and Gold Star families through Military Warriors Support Foundation’s Transportation4Heroes program. 
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is the leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 37 on Fortune’s 2021 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy. News, insights, and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories
About Military Warriors Support Foundation 
Military Warriors Support Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity, founded by LTG Leroy Sisco (Ret), in 2007. Their mission is to provide programs that facilitate a smooth and successful transition for our nation’s combat-wounded heroes and Gold Star families. Their programs focus on housing and homeownership, recreational activities, transportation assistance and leadership development. Through select programs, they have awarded nearly 900 mortgage-free homes and over 100 payment-free vehicles to combat-wounded heroes, Gold Star spouses, and their families in all 50 states. In addition to the home or vehicle, the families receive family and financial mentoring. For more information, visit  

About Apple Autos
Apple Autos is a family-owned business that has served the south metro for more than two decades. Apple Autos operates Apple Ford Lincoln Apple Valley, Apple Ford Shakopee, Apple Chevrolet Buick in Northfield, and Apple Used Autos in Shakopee, Minnesota. The company pioneered "Best Price" selling 25 years ago, providing up-front pricing without the uncertainty and hassle of negotiations. Being a good citizen is one of Apple Autos’ key values. They give willingly to and are actively involved in the support of our communities. 

Old National Bank Foundation announces $42,000 in grants to
Minnesota-based nonprofit organizations

Minnesota (April 29, 2021) – Old National Bank Foundation, philanthropic arm of Old National Bank (NASDAQ: ONB), announced its quarterly contributions totaling $42,000 to four organizations throughout Old National’s Minnesota market, and an annual total of over $2 million footprint-wide, with some contributions being multi-year commitments.

Three times a year, the Foundation presents grants to organizations throughout its footprint that fit the following strategic initiatives: Affordable housing, education achievement, economic development, financial literacy and workforce development.

This quarter, the Foundation approved the following grants to four Minnesota-based nonprofits:
  • Hiawatha Academies, a Minneapolis-based organization, received a $10,000 grant for its Program Support for Hiawatha Through College. The program provides academic, socioemotional, and logistical/practical support for scholars and alumni from Hiawatha Academies so they will research, apply to, earn admission to, enroll in, persist in, and graduate from college.
  • Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, a Minneapolis-based organization, received a $12,000 grant for its Making Home Happen Campaign. This campaign will enable the organization to make home happen for more seniors, veterans, and low-income households.
  • Youth Farm and Market Project, a Minneapolis-based organization, received a $10,000 grant for its North Minneapolis Programming. The program engages youth ages 9-24 in experiential education, leadership and employment training, community organizing, and urban agriculture. These young people will build leadership skills while planting, growing, preparing, cooking, and distributing fresh food in their own neighborhoods.
  • Youthprise, a Minneapolis-based organization, received a $10,000 grant for its Youthprise COVID-19 Community Support. Youthprise has established delivery systems, supply networks, nonprofit relationships, and broad geographic capacity to reach low-income and BIPOC youth who have been impacted by COVID-19.
“We’re delighted to partner with these four organizations and applaud their unwavering commitment to their missions during a difficult 2020,” said Kelly Elkin, Old National Bank Foundation board member. “In their own way, they all inspire hope, which I think a lot of us can use right now.”

Since July 2018, the Foundation has donated over $600,000 in grants to Minnesota-based nonprofits.

To learn more about the Foundation, please visit

An area bank is paying it forward to health care workers with a new initiative that in turn supports local restaurants

Arcadian Bank, formerly known as Farmers State Bank, on Thursday delivered meal vouchers for Mayo Clinic Health System employees at the Albert Lea campus. 

See the full story here.

Premier Bank Collecting Donations for The Landing MN

ROCHESTER, MN, 2020 - As winter approaches, donations are needed for the homeless population in Rochester. Monday, September 28, and Tuesday, September 29, Premier Banks in Rochester will be collecting donations for The Landing MN.

The Landing MN is an organization that provides clothing, housing, meals, and medical care for those facing homelessness in the Rochester area. Co-founder Dan Fifield says every bit helps, but the organization needs men's blue jeans from waist size 32 to 36.

"You generally got a pair of clothes that you wear 24 hours a day seven days a week,” said Fifield. “I can't imagine going days and weeks on end wearing the same clothing and not being able to have a change of clothes.."

U.S. Bank outlines details of its $15M Rebuild and Transform fund – the first $5 million went to the Twin Cities.

August 18, 2020 - U.S. Bank announced today details of a $15 million Rebuild and Transform Fund, which will help small businesses impacted by civil unrest and support organizations working to address systemic economic and racial inequities. The U.S. Bank Foundation will make philanthropic investments in Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations, with a priority on Black-led nonprofits. The initial $5 million in grants will be distributed in the Twin Cities as general operating support and will include funding to grantees to support trauma care for staff or residents in impacted areas. The Fund is part of the bank’s previously announced $116 million commitment to address social and economic inequities.  Read more

Security State Bank celebrates Community Impact Month

March 11, 2020 - Security State Bank of Hibbing is once again celebrating Community Impact Month by giving back to its friends and neighbors.
On Tuesday, bank employees scrambled down the aisles of Cobb Cook Grocery in Hibbing for an annual contest called the “Grocery Grab” after which any food items “grabbed” within the time limit were donated to the Hibbing Salvation Army. It came together as a partnership between the bank and the grocery store and is one of several events scheduled throughout September to help benefit locals.

Originally organized by the Minnesota Bankers Association, the concept of Community Impact Month was designed to inspire member banks to engage with their local community through service activities. Mark Gardeski, CEO and president of SSB, told the Hibbing Daily Tribune in a phone interview Tuesday that the bank jumped on board with the idea a handful of years ago and it’s been a fulfilling, rewarding endeavor they’ve been grateful to be a part of.

“It’s a terrific thing for the community and for our employees too,” Gardeski said. “It’s about team building exercises, like the highway clean up and Buddy Backpack program. It's been a thing the bank and employees really benefit from.”

In January, the Minnesota Bankers Association recognized 35 state banks for their community involvement and SSB was among those dubbed 2019 Community Champions, thanks to their dedication to volunteer work and other area efforts. Those efforts will continue throughout this month as nearly all 22 employees at the Hibbing bank will likely volunteer in one form or another.

“The Grocery Grab went fantastic,” Gardeski said. “We brought the food to the Salvation Army today and it was around $750 dollars worth. We partnered with Cobb Cook and it was nice to work with them on that.”

Up next is a free taco bar lunch featuring Taco Johns, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, September 12, at the Security State Bank Parking lot at 710 E Howard Street. Bank staff are also offering popcorn in the lobby each Friday throughout September.

Other upcoming activities planned include participating in Adopt a Highway and the United Way of NE Minnesota’s Buddy Backpack program. Employees will also be hosting their annual Winter Gear Drive and are seeking new or gently used coats, jackets, gloves, hats and boots for both children and adults to donate to United Way. In addition, they are set to serve up free “baked goodies” from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 17, at McDonalds in Hibbing.

“Participating in this fits in with the core values here the bank,” Gardeski said, highlighting that the volunteer activities benefit their customers, employees, community and shareholders.

Source: Hibbing Daily Tribune