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Wednesday, October 17 Business

Union Savings Bank brings the community to its employees

It wasn’t practical to send their employees out into the community, so Union Savings Bank brought the community to them.

To help encourage volunteering and build new relationships, the community bank held its first employee Community Fair in the lobby of the Galleria in downtown Danbury where the bank has its main hub. Close to 20 nonprofit organizations set up booths and Union Savings Bank employees strolled through and talked with representatives of the groups.

Union Savings Bank has about 125 employees in the Galleria and another 35 at the branch across the street. A similar event will be held on Wednesday at the bank’s Park Lane Building location in New Milford, where about 50 people work.

“We brought in community partners to talk about their organizations so our employees can find out what they do,” Michele Bonvicini, director of community relations at Union Savings Bank, said. “We brought the community to the employees because they can’t always get out and see the organizations.”

The employees dropped raffle submissions into a fishbowl before returning to work. A donation by the bank will be made to the nonprofit of choice in the name of the raffle winner.

“Union Savings Bank’s passion is to enrich the communities where we live and work through volunteerism, charitable contributions and financial guidance,” Bonvicini said. “Our employees are truly dedicated to this mission and actively donate thousands of hours per year.”

Belinda Ireland, who has worked for Union Savings Bank for 28 years, is a longtime volunteer and board member of Interfaith. She encouraged young professionals to donate time to a cause about which they feel strongly.

“It’s nice that the bank is heavily involved in volunteerism. Volunteering creates a lot of relationships,” she said. “An event like this makes the opportunities more available. Union Savings Bank is very involved in the community. We’re always giving back.”

Allison Carballo of Family & Children’s Aid, who tended the group’s booth with interns Gina Arconti and Nicole Rossman, noted that four Union Savings Bank employees serve on the FCA board. Susan Giglio of Families Network of Western Connecticut said the bank has had an employee on her board for more than 20 years. Two employees of the bank are on the board now.

“Union Savings Bank is definitely very civic-minded,” Giglio said. “They have been supportive of us for many years.”

The nonprofits represented a variety of interests such as arts, human and health services, animal welfare, outdoor recreation and education.

Sharon Nisch, a volunteer with Women’s Center, said she was thankful for the opportunity to spread the word about her organization. Women’s Center serves the community with prevention, crisis intervention and support services for victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and other crises.

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“It’s good for us because we want to get our word out. The more people we can see and talk to the better. Union Saving Bank’s collaboration with the community is great.”

Bonvicini noted that the representatives of the nonprofit groups were mingling among each other, demonstrating an unintended benefit to the community partners.

“The community partners are talking to each other, too, which is great,” she said. “They are seeing how they can collaborate with each other, as well.”

United Savings Bank was founded in 1866. The Union Savings Bank Foundation, which was established in 1998, distributed more than $140,000 in grants to 14 nonprofits last year.

The writer may be reached at cbosak@hearstmediact.com; 203-731-3338

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