Skip Navigation Documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,download Adobe® Acrobat Reader.
Bank Plus

2021 Community Plus Program

2021 Community Plus Program


What started as a simple idea almost 2 decades ago at a locally-owned financial institution to encourage its staff to participate in community efforts, has generated nearly 19,000 hours of volunteer support and more than $20,000 in donations to primarily small, non-profit organizations  in Northwest Iowa from the bank and its employees.

In 2003 the Bank Plus Board of Directors created the Community Plus Employee Volunteer Incentive Program, challenging their staff to provide volunteer support for local organizations, while rewarding those efforts with financial donations to those same organizations in the names of employees who participate in the program.

“The bank wanted to reward our employees for supporting local community efforts with their time and talents, while providing financial support to those same organizations,” explained Bank Plus President Kevin Pernick. “It’s a force multiplier for good. The business and its employees work together to provide a greater level of support in our local communities than either of us could accomplish on our own.”

“We often see pictures of businesses presenting big donation checks to individual community efforts and we do applaud that, in fact we do it too,” Pernick explained. “But with this program Bank Plus wanted to provide smaller community efforts, that are just as important if not more so to our local quality of life, with physical and financial support. Many checks delivered by many helping hands can have a greater impact for more people than just one big check. Besides, we are a bank accustomed to handling a lot of checks, so this approach seemed to be more appropriate for us.”

Every year since 2003 each employee who provided a minimum of 30 hours of annual volunteer service has been rewarded with a $100 donation from the bank, in the employee’s name, to the organization of their choice, explained Pernick.  “We are very proud so many members of the Bank Plus family have responded to this challenge year after year!”

According to bank records, in 18 years a total 77 organizations have received 204 of the $100 checks, amounting to $20,400 in donations. “We have seen that many of our employees who qualify for the donation checks tend to select the same organization to receive the funds each year. In fact, some smaller organizations have received more than $1,000 from the bank on behalf of its employees.”

Even a pandemic couldn’t keep a good program down. Despite COVID-related restrictions over the last year, 14 Bank Plus employees still provided 640 hours of local volunteer support, including 11 who exceeded the annual 30-hour goal resulting in $1,100 in donations from their employer. Although that 640 hours was down from the bank’s annual average of more than 1,000 volunteer hours a year, some employees became more creative in how they helped while observing safety protocols.

“We saw more employee efforts that observed social distancing practices while still providing some kind of support, such as cleaning up community spaces and neighbor’s yards after a storm, directing outdoor youth activities and performing online services for local groups,” Pernick said.  “It has been so much more than just participating in meetings and events.”

In one instance bank employees jumped in to help set up an electronic communication program for one local group so it could continue communicating with its members without requiring everybody to gather for meetings. “They used their knowledge acquired on the job to assist the organization!”

“The Iowa communities where Bank Plus offices are located, in Emmet, Kossuth and Palo Alto counties, are more than just where we work, they are where our friends and families live,” Pernick said. “In 2003 the bank wanted to find a way to be more than just another business in the area and our employees have responded in ways beyond all expectations.”