Each year around the holidays, Sunrise Banks employees come into the office to find an envelope of cash on their desk.
The money is part of the bank’s Pay it Forward campaign, which gives each worker $25 and asks that they use the money towards benefiting a person, organization or cause in their community.
Pay it Forward is an annual tradition at the bank and gives employees a chance to give back in any way they see fit. That could mean giving the money to a stranger or donating it to a charitable organization. The only requirement is that the money is used to “pay it forward.” Pay it Forward takes place around the first of the year.
CEO David Reiling writes a letter that accompanies the money, and also gives an additional $25 to the first 20 employees who share their stories.
“The holidays are a great time to reflect on the joys and blessings in our lives while also being aware of others who are in need,” Reiling’s letter reads. “Here at Sunrise, we know that each employee is uniquely invested in their own community, and we want to give everyone the ability to make a difference in their own way.”
This year, the first 20 employees shared their stories within two weeks. These employees alone put $500 back into the community.
Some employees gave to local organizations like the Animal Humane Society; others used their money to support colleagues who are undergoing financial hardships due to medical costs; we also had participants put their money towards anti-violence campaigns and helping the homeless.
Teller Operations and Training Coordinator Angela Vang gave her $25 to Love Myself, an anti-violence campaign created in partnership between boy band BTS and UNICEF.
“The Love Myself campaign is aligned with the passion I have for helping the youth, and also self-love,” said Vang. “I think it’s awesome that BTS are promoting an inspiring message and urging those who listen to their music to be kind—not just towards others, but also towards yourself.”
Emily Bauer used her money to support the family of a police officer who died unexpectedly last year.
“I can’t imagine my little boy having to grow up without his father around. There is a GoFundMe page that was set up to raise money for the family that I donated my $25 towards,” she said.
Christy Benda, a database developer at the bank, donated to the local Animal Humane Society.
“This year, I paid it forward by donating to the Animal Humane Society here in the Twin Cities. In addition to purchasing shelter supplies (leashes, food bowls, blankets, toys, litter, cleaning supplies), I used my Pay it Forward money to fully pay for the adoptions of three cats (all three have since been adopted!),” said Benda.
Pay it Forward allows Sunrise Banks to live out its values, and helps employees do so in a way that’s meaningful to them.
“I hope you’re as inspired as I am by the generosity your colleagues have shown this season,” read Reiling’s letter to employees.
Find more information about Sunrise Banks’ community involvement and social impact here.