Annually, we donate thousands of meals, support hundreds of organizations and educate consumers on various financial literacy topics. We work closely with our employees to identify needs and collaborate with nonprofit organizations to lend our resources, whether in the form of volunteerism, material donations (such as food, clothing or toys) or financial support. We focus on nonprofit organizations that promote affordable housing, financial literacy/education or health/wellness and assist organizations of all sizes, from some of the largest in the area to local grassroots organizations.
We also provide support through the Sandy Spring Bank Foundation, which was established on April 13, 2018, the 150th anniversary of our founding, to enhance our commitment to the communities we serve. Like the Bank, the Foundation supports selected, local nonprofit organizations in four areas: affordable housing, health and wellness, education and personal growth.
The Best Buddies Friendship Walk is the leading walk in the country supporting inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Held virtually in 2020, more than 200 Sandy Spring Bank employees participated, some walking in small, socially distanced groups and others walking with their families in their own neighborhoods. Altogether, our employees helped raise over $23,000 for Best Buddies.
Financial Literacy and Education
For over 10 years we have partnered with EverFi, an education technology company that provides learners of all ages education for the real world through innovative and scalable digital learning. In 2019 we shifted our in-person, high school focused financial literacy program with EverFi to an online adult consumer financial education program. This resource, which we named The $tation, is available on our website and offers an assortment of interactive financial education learning topics, with subjects including building emergency savings, mortgage education and retirement planning. The site had over 10,000 visitors in 2020.
Sandy Spring Bank has supported Howard Community College’s educational programs and scholarships for 30 years. In 2020, Sandy Spring Bank Foundation got involved in the partnership and donated $25,000 to Howard Community College Educational Foundation. Our contributions supported several programs in the 2019 – 2020 academic year, including the Multicultural Banking and Finance Training Program, Skilled Immigrant Program, and Silas Craft Collegians.
The college’s Banking and Finance Training for Bilingual Speakers program is designed to provide skills training to adult English language learners who have an interest in banking and finance. The Skilled Immigrant program provides courses on workforce and career development for mid and advanced level English speaking, bilingual, and multi-lingual credit and noncredit students. Through the Silas Craft Collegians program, a select group of students – most from low- to moderate-income families – receive personalized attention, mentoring, and peer reinforcement. Participants also receive scholarships that help bridge the gap in the financial aid they receive. Our partnership sponsored five students in the program.
Health and Wellness
For over five years, our company has been a partner of the Capital Area Food Bank and the Maryland Food Bank. Each year we donate thousands of meals through our Season of Sharing, and employees volunteer their time at local distribution centers. Last year, the Sandy Spring Bank Foundation also donated $25,000 to each food bank to support school pantry programs that serve families in Maryland and Washington, D.C. These programs play an important role in providing families with the healthy food they need in a dignified and accessible way.
In 2020, COVID-19 put an increased burden on hospitals and front-line health care workers. The Sandy Spring Bank Foundation responded with donations of $50,000 each to 12 area hospitals (total of $600,000).
Sandy Spring Bank has collaborated with Habitat for Humanity through fundraising and volunteer events for more than 15 years, including its annual Women Build program. We also have a long-standing relationship with our local chapters of Rebuilding Together, which provides free critical home repairs, energy efficiency upgrades, and accessibility modifications to vulnerable residents of our communities.
Casual for Cause
Casual for Cause is an employee-driven giving program that supports local nonprofits. One day each month, employees have the opportunity to contribute to a different organization in exchange for wearing jeans or other casual clothes to work. Each year, employees nominate and select the organizations that receive our support. Since 2016, Sandy Spring employees have raised nearly $70,000 for more than 45 organizations across our footprint as part of the program. Because many employees worked remotely in 2020 due to COVID-19, the company contributed $5,000 to each organization selected in lieu of employee contributions.
2020 beneficiaries of our Casual for a Cause program:
National Pancreas Foundation (National Capital Region Chapter)
National Foundation for Cancer Research
Friends of Guest House
Girls in the Game
Best Buddies, Maryland
Junior Achievement of Central Maryland
Woman to Woman Mentoring
Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center
The IIIB’s Foundation
N Street Village
Our employees play a central role in advancing our commitment to our communities by volunteering with nonprofit organizations. Employees are encouraged to sign up for volunteer activities and events throughout the year, especially during our year-end Season of Sharing – an annual tradition of employees getting involved to serve organizations across our footprint. Throughout the fourth quarter of each year, we hold a number of community service activities and fundraising activities – from assembling meal kits and collecting toys to holding online silent auctions and cookie bake-offs – that bring employees together to support those in need. During COVID-19, we continued our tradition by ensuring social distancing and proper PPE was worn.
In 2020, Sandy Spring Bank was ranked by the Washington Business Journal as the #1 mid-sized company in the Washington, D.C., metro area for employee volunteerism.
Employees are encouraged to record their volunteer hours on the company’s intranet. Once submitted, the employee is entered into a monthly prize drawing.
2020 beneficiaries of our Season for Sharing:
Toys for Tots
D.C. Metropolitan Foster & Adoptive Parent Association
Howard County Food Bank
Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless
Capital Area Food Bank
Outside of work, many of our employees are involved in other nonprofits such as schools, places of worship and community groups. To encourage our employees to pursue their passion in the community and to show our appreciation, we created Dollars for Doers. When an employee volunteers at least 50 hours annually to a particular organization, we make a donation to that nonprofit in recognition of our employee’s service.