The Region

An Update on Community Involvement

Top of the Ninth

Delbert Johnson | Chairman, Board of Directors, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Published September 1, 1992  | September 1992 issue

Soon after I took office as chairman of the board in January 1991, I set forth on the pages of the Region magazine a challenge to Fed employees to get involved as volunteers in the community. A year has passed and I'm pleased to report that the bank's employees have made considerable progress.

Soon after I encouraged a program of corporate volunteerism, the Fed Employees Action Team (FEAT) was formed with an 11-member volunteer board to direct volunteerism activities. The board was designed to select appropriate group projects for sponsorship, promote individual community volunteer opportunities and recognize those volunteer efforts.

Once FEAT was on its feet it indeed identified several specific areas of community need and sponsored group projects aimed at problems of education, hunger, the elderly and homeless, and the environment.

In a few short months the FEAT team then managed to:

  • Sponsor a Halloween party for inner city children
  • Form a minority group mentorship with a local junior high school through a relationship with the Minneapolis Youth Trust
  • Conduct a month-long food drive which yielded over 1,400 pounds of food for local food shelves
  • Serve beverages at a local/national fundraising event for hunger (Taste of the Nation)
  • Walk for AIDS
  • Staff a volunteer network telethon
  • Serve lunches for a Multiple Sclerosis Bike-a-thon
  • Paint three homes for elderly residents

Some FEAT projects took on a unique character like PAWS (Pets Are Wonderfully Supportive), an information network for people to volunteer with their pets at nursing homes and hospitals, or the "Sox for FEAT" drive for troubled teenagers during the holidays.

All these activities demonstrate a willingness by employees to share time and talent along with a commitment to improve our community. I also believe there is some fun and camaraderie involved as well!

It's obvious the spirit of volunteerism has become part of the corporate culture at the bank resulting in some very positive achievements. In all, over 150 Fed employees and retirees have become involved in a variety of FEAT-sponsored group activities.

I see a great deal of employee enthusiasm and energy directed toward worthwhile causes. Apart from the obvious benefits to the community, these efforts strengthen relationships and enhance the experiences within our own Fed "community." That means it's good business for us, too.

The Minneapolis Fed has now joined hundreds of corporations across the United States in sponsoring an employee volunteer program. In fact, it is the first formal program among the banks in the Federal Reserve System.

I am proud to say that FEAT has now established a foothold at the bank and I expect this attitude and willingness of employees to give something back to the community can only deepen and grow in the years ahead.