By Mark Hallum
Ridegwood Savings Bank employees volunteered 2,400 hours and collectively raised over $67,000 to donate to various charities throughout the city over the course of 2016.
Since 2004, Ridgewood Savings has operated a community reinvestment program called “Spirit of Ridgewood,” which engages employees to volunteer through local 501c3 organizations. This year 340 employees offered a hand to the charity of their choice, with 147 associates volunteering 10 or more hours and 29 volunteering over 20 hours of service.
“Through the ‘Spirit of Ridgewood’ program we participated in 68 events and raised over $67,500 all through the efforts of our employees,” Leonard Stekol, Ridgewood Savings Bank’s president, said. “This incredible effort is rarely recognized outside the charities we help, but so appreciated by the directors and the deserving people each charity helps.”
Charitable organizations such as The Interfaith Nutrition Network, St. John’s Bread and Life, Room to Grow, The East 233rd Street Senior Center, Yorkville Common Pantry, World Vision, and Forestdale were some of the organizations that were involved.
Although ‘Spirit of Ridgewood’ has only been in existence since 2004, Ridgewood Savings has offered help to charities in the program for much longer.
Volunteer work from Ridgewood Savings Bank extended beyond city limits to The INN, a Hempstead based non-profit.
“Ridgewood Savings Bank has been a huge supporter of The INN for over 20 years,” Jean Kelly, executive director, said. “Employees are front and center at our fund-raising events and familiar faces as volunteers in our soup kitchen. They have donated countless items that guests desperately need for daily basic survival, including food, clothing and personal care items.
Rachel McNeil of the Bronx-based East 233rd Street Senior Center said the volunteers offered meaningful work to help the elderly at their facility.
“The Ridgewood Savings Bank employees stop in, bring food, organize the pantry and even cook the food that is given to the seniors at the center. I love that they are actively helping our cause,” she said.
Room to Grow is a Manhattan-based organization dedicated to offering care to impoverished children for the first three years of their lives.
“Ridgewood’s generosity and their teams of volunteers help support Room to Grow in our mission to enrich the lives of babies born into poverty throughout their critical first three years of development,” said Bethany Brichta, external relations for the organization. “Room to Grow provides one-on-one parenting education and all the needed baby essentials to families dedicated to giving their children the best possible start in life.”
Ridgewood Savings is a Queens-based bank founded in 1921 and serves communities in Manhattan, the Bronx and Long Island. It is the largest mutual savings bank in New York state, with over $5 billion in assets 34 branches.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall