As a community bank, Crown Bank’s mission is to serve the people in the communities in which its branches are located. One way it accomplishes this goal is by offering quality, personalized financial services.
Another way it does this at its Edina and Minneapolis locations is by its involvement with Every Meal. After learning about this nonprofit when it was featured on KARE 11 last December, CFO Paul Moen felt a strong connection.
“They were visiting with Rob Williams, the founder of Every Meal, and they were celebrating their 10 millionth meal delivered,” he says. “It just so happened to be taking place at Centennial Elementary School in Richfield where my daughter [Mackenzie Moen-VonAhnen] teaches third grade. It became personal for me because I realized some of those kids are probably in her classroom.”
The very next day, Paul introduced the idea of supporting Every Meal to the bank’s leadership team, and he says there was no hesitation at all. “Edina is probably considered above middle class, but there is hunger here,” he says. “We always think it’s somewhere else.”
According to Every Meal, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, more than 300,000 children in Minnesota live with food insecurity. Its mission is to change that, and is doing this by focusing on filling the food gaps children face on weekends, extended breaks, and summer when they’re not able to access school meal programs.
Crown Bank partnered with Every Meal last December and has already made a significant impact. “I sat down with Rob and asked him how much it would cost to sponsor the meals at Centennial Elementary School from January through December of 2023. He told me it would be $11,000, so last December, we presented them with a check for $11,000.” This fall, the bank donated another $25,000 towards Every Meal’s $1,000,000 Challenge Capital Campaign, and plans to donate another $11,000 for the upcoming year.
Giving money is not the only way Crown Bank is helping. The bank’s employees are just as enthusiastic as Paul about Every Meal.
“The easy part, in my opinion, is giving money and a lot of businesses do that, which is great, but I wasn’t going to allow us to stop there,” he says. “Many nonprofits need more volunteers and I'm so proud of our staff for their willingness to help out.”
Over half a dozen employees take part every other week in Every Meal’s packing events. “Our employees drive up to Roseville where their offices are and help pack the bags that get delivered to the children,” says Paul. “And, every other Friday we actually deliver those bags to the kids in an elementary school in Bloomington. We put them right into youngsters’ backpacks.” As soon as his employees return, they always ask when they can go again. Thus far over 95% of the bank’s staff has participated in either the packing event and/or stuffing the backpacks on multiple occasions.
Right from the beginning his staff was all in. “We're talking about kids here and we all have kids in our lives, whether it's our own children, nieces and nephews or grandchildren, and they're the most vulnerable population sector. I think that's why it certainly spoke to me, and also to our staff.”
Paul states that he and the bank’s employees’ commitment is stronger than ever. “When you go to the schools and see the evidence that there are actual students that get those bags, then it's real, and that's when I get emotional. There are children in our community who wouldn’t have food on the weekends if we and Every Meal weren't there to provide it to them. It’s unbelievable.”
Crown Bank, which was established in 2000, is primarily a business bank. “This means we deal primarily with small business entrepreneurs, and this is another reason that Every Meal is a good fit with Crown Bank's core value of giving back to the communities that we serve. Rob is an entrepreneur who started this organization in 2010. Today, he is serving 75% of the schools in Minnesota that have contacted him.”
Adds Paul, “We built our bank with entrepreneurs – businessmen and women who want to start up a company and we're here for them.”
A lot of customers have been with the bank since it opened, as have many of its staff members. “We don't have a lot of turnover and I think a big advantage of Crown Bank versus other banks, especially bigger banks, is that when you walk in the door, you're going to see that same person you did if you were a customer for the first time 10 years ago. We are huge on relationships and we're going to take care of those folks who are willing to put their money in our bank and/or take out a loan with us.”
Paul’s goal this past year has been to make a difference and he believes that Crown Bank has done that by becoming involved with Every Meal. “There are so many organizations for a community bank like ours to get involved with, but the passion has to be there. It's no use getting involved in the community if it isn't something you're passionate about.”
To learn more about Crown Bank and Every Meal, go to Crown-Bank.com and EveryMeal.org. For those interested in banking with Crown, call 952-285-5800 or visit their Edina office located at 6600 France Ave S #125 for more information.