Giving seems to be an impulse we glean from our parents—or grandparents, in the case of John MacIntosh, who approached the Bank of Clarke County a quarter century ago about establishing a charity golf tournament in the name of his grandfather, Ammashaddi Moore Jr., the bank’s first president in 1881.
“That’s a great idea,” said John Hudson, now senior vice president and marketing director of the bank, headquartered in Berryville. “We’ll call it the Moore Cup!”
Since then, the tournament has raised more than $100,000 for local charities, the most recent recipients of which took home checks last August. In the bank’s Berryville lobby to receive their donations were Cabell Angle of the New Eve Maternity Home for women and children at risk of homelessness and Chris White of Lord Fairfax House, a residential halfway house for men and women recovering from substance abuse that helps recovering individuals with employment and other skills. Both facilities are in Winchester.
The third recipient was Dr. David A. Goodwin, a neonatologist and medical director of Inova’s expanding neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Inova Loudoun Hospital, for which funds are being raised by Loudoun Rising, Inova Loudoun’s Hospital Foundation. The expanded NICU, opening next April, will be nearly triple in size and include 24 beds and 12 private rooms for parents and two “pods” with four incubators each for babies who need constant observation.
The bank’s giving programs have expanded with its branches in Loudoun County, one each in Purcellville, Leesburg and Ashburn at One Loudoun. This year, John tapped the bank managers in all 12 local branches with choosing the charities that will receive donations from fundraising lobby displays encouraging all its customers to donate what they can. In Loudoun, the charities they tapped are:
• Loudoun Literacy Council, which promotes reading and learning. LoudounLiteracy.org
• Loudoun Hunger Relief, which provides fresh groceries for families in need and networking for other goods and services. LoudounHunger.org
• Carver Community Center, providing programs for all ages, but especially adults 55 and older to stay active and engaged. Loudoun.gov/1143/Carver-Center
It’s not the first year Bank of Clarke County's lobbies have sported donation boxes. Last year, one bank also overflowed with dog and cat food requested by a local animal shelter in addition to financial support. It is the first year that each of the bank’s 199 employees will have the chance to designate their own favorite charity to receive a $25 donation in their names. (And, yes, that’s nearly another $5,000 into community causes.) Since 1992, the first year John began keeping a running tally of the bank’s donations, monetary contributions alone have totaled more than $1.1 million.
As the bank grew, it adopted a philosophy that “a bank is only as good as its communities,” John says. “If a community is struggling, there’s less business for a bank. That’s a win-win for everybody. The stronger the community, the stronger the bank.”
Nonprofits will approach a community bank before a large national institution for donations because they can more readily reach decision-makers. “I think that’s extremely valuable for local charities to be able to do that. As we grew, we became a huge community supporter in the Winchester, Frederick County market, and in 2010, when we moved into the Loudoun County market, we immediately started seeking out the organizations that we would like to support.”
The list of such organizations is closing in on 150—all listed on the bank’s website. This year’s budget for giving is around $160,000, and Loudoun beneficiaries have included The Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, Loudoun Boy Scouts, Ashburn Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Longbranch, The George C. Marshall House, Loudoun Symphony Orchestra, Loudoun First Responders, the Purcellville Cannons and Tree of Life Ministries and Mobile Hope.
“The number of requests we get are phenomenal and non-ending, because there are a lot of organizations that operate in these markets, and we have a formalized process so none of these requests fall through the cracks,” John says. “Our record is in having 14 requests for sponsorship in one day,” he adds. “Every two weeks my digital strategist and I sit down and we go through them. Our ratio of approved to denied is probably four to one.”
All are “quality organizations that deserve our support.” The only other criteria John prefers is that the charities “partner with us to get the word out that we’re collecting for them; that just increases the success we have.” Boy Scout Eagle projects benefiting the community find a particularly receptive ear.
“It’s not forced, and I think that’s the key. You know we do very well. The bank is very successful. Could we be more successful if we didn’t do this? Yeah, on paper. But we wouldn’t be as successful as a community.”
Where did John learn to give? You could say it started with his mom, who worked at Bank of Clarke County for 38 years before retiring in 1996. She began the very popular habit of giving dog biscuits to customers who brought their dogs to the bank window. “She said, we have people who treat their dogs like their kids, so she asked management if she could start giving out dog biscuits and they said, ‘Well, sure, we can try that; it probably won’t catch on.’ Now you wouldn’t believe the dog biscuits we go through!”