There’s a significant day at the beginning of May: Fifth Third Day—5/3 on the calendar—when Fifth Third’s employees offer a helping hand in an effort to meet the basic and immediate needs of the communities they serve.
On Fifth Third Day each year, the Bank’s regions work with food pantries and other similar organizations to provide meals and personal care items to those in need. In many cases, employees work alongside volunteers from nonprofits to stock shelves, distribute food and package items for families. By coordinating canned food drives, volunteering to serve meals and raising funds for food pantries, employees in each region work toward a single philanthropic goal: feeding their communities.
How did it all start?
In 1991, two of Fifth Third’s Ohio-based offices—the Toledo and Findlay branches—were slated to be combined into one. Fifth Third Day was created as a way to bring employees from these two regions together, and in the 25 years since, the spirit of the day has spread across the bank’s national footprint.
As the years went on, Fifth Third incorporated community service into the special day—which isn’t surprising, given the Bank’s long-standing commitment to improving lives. In 2012, for the first time, employees across all areas of the Bank worked toward a common goal—to fight hunger. Since then, Fifth Third Bank has focused on feeding their communities each Fifth Third Day.
“This special day has become an opportunity for us to recognize our employees, celebrate our customers and above all, to serve our communities,” said Brian Lamb, EVP, Chief Corporate Responsibility and Reputation Officer at Fifth Third. “Of course, this is what we do. We do it every day, but we do it bigger and better on Fifth Third Day.”
What kind of impact does it have?
Living with hunger can have a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities. In the United States, one in six people lives with hunger, often going without food for several meals or even several days. Some 42 million Americans live in “food insecure” households, including 13.1 million children, according to FeedingAmerica.org.
Since Fifth Third’s focus has shifted toward alleviating this issue, the Bank has provided more than three million meals to individuals and families in need. Last year, the Bank observed the 25th anniversary of Fifth Third Day, and each of the bank’s regions created its own plan to fight hunger. Here’s what happened:
- Fifth Third Bank (Cincinnati) partnered with the Freestore Foodbank to assemble Power Packs, which were distributed through local schools on Fridays to give at-risk children healthy and nutritious meals for the weekend. The Power Pack program addressed a vital need for nearly 100,000 hungry children in this area who may not have known where they’d find their next meal.
- Fifth Third Bank (Central Ohio) worked with Port Columbus International Airport to install collection points for travelers to donate their pocket change before heading through security. The Empty Pockets, Full Plate program benefited the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, and since it launched two years ago, has generated more than $2,100 to help feed families in need. The devices are in place year-round and serve as an extension of the region’s Feeding Our Communities efforts.
- Employees at Fifth Third Bank (Chicago) engaged in “random acts of kindness” on Fifth Third Day. One of the Bank’s eBuses, otherwise known as Fifth Third Bank’s Financial Empowerment Mobile, made surprise stops at three local homeless shelters. In addition to the services offered through the eBus, Bank employees served lunch and provided personal toiletry items to the shelter residents.
- Fifth Third Bank (Kentucky) hosted a cereal drive for employees and the public benefiting Dare to Care Food Bank in Louisville and God’s Pantry Food Bank in Lexington.
- Fifth Third Bank (Georgia) supported the Golden Harvest Food Bank, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Rehoboth Food Pantry and CARE Center Food Pantry through employee service events and “Strike Out Hunger” events in partnership with Druid Hills Youth Sports, the Augusta GreenJackets, the Kennesaw State University Athletic Association and the Gwinnett Braves.
What were last year’s results?
Last year, Fifth Third Day was extra special, as Fifth Third re-launched its brand on the same day. The Bank showed employee appreciation by providing lunch at work, t-shirts and the opportunity to express appreciation through shields of recognition.
Each region also led support for a workplace food drive, in which Fifth Third aimed to collect enough food to provide one million meals across the entire Fifth Third footprint. They worked toward this goal with a food drive in each branch, each headquarter location and at the corporate headquarters in Cincinnati. Additionally, each region encouraged food-focused volunteerism.
From serving our customers to serving our communities, we are all in,” says Lamb. “There’s no greater example of that commitment than Fifth Third Day when we kicked off our commitment to provide 1 million meals for those in need. This level of commitment will have a lasting impact on all the communities we serve.”
How does this reflect Fifth Third’s mission?
Fifth Third Day is just one of many of the Bank’s endeavors as it aims to serve low- and moderate-income communities via lending, investments and charitable giving. Fifth Third has made a public commitment to empower the underserved throughout the year. The Bank has donated more than $6 million, for instance, to Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) for cancer research, and offers financial classes to both students and adults to empower them.
In each community it serves, Fifth Third’s impact has been considerable:
- In Chicago, the Bank invested nearly $27 million in affordable housing projects.
- In North Carolina, Fifth Third employees have worked with 86 local boards and committees of non-profit organizations in the area, volunteering more than 5,300 hours.
- In Georgia, the Bank has given more than $250 million to organizations such as the United Way and the Urban League of Greater Atlanta.
- In Indiana, the Bank has reached 12,500 students and more than 2,500 adults with financial education.
In all, the Bank has pledged to invest $30 billion in its communities through the year 2020—and one year in, they’ve already invested more than a quarter of the total.
“Our Community Commitment is designed to improve lives in the communities we serve,” said Lamb in a press release. “Our year-one results demonstrate significant progress against our five-year plan, but more than that, the numbers demonstrate the impact we can make when we work with communities to accomplish great things.”