TD Bank’s community involvement has left its mark on the Upstate since it came to the region in 2011. Its overall corporate giving in the Upstate is more than $1.2 million each year, and in 2017, employees volunteered 6,950 hours in South Carolina.
The key to the bank’s successful efforts in the community is the way its leaders envision involvement from the bottom up.
Cal Hurst, regional vice president of TD for the Upstate, came to the bank three and a half years ago and has become deeply involved in the community-service aspect of his job.
“I consider our role in community involvement to be twofold — to help manage the dollars and TD’s approach to community engagement and involvement; so yeah, take the dollars, that’s fine, but to help manage TD’s approach and what we know we want to do in our communities and boil that down to what is important in Greenville and the Upstate,” Hurst says. “The other part to me is external, which means individually being a good civic partner to organizations, whether it’s as a friend of the organization or even board member, but trying to be an advocate for organizations and trying to maintain good relationships to make sure they understand that we value what they do and that when we are able we’re making investments in their work.”
Hurst believes that you have to tackle the issues from the root and ensure you aren’t just putting a Band-Aid on them. “Part of my role is to direct that focus into the Upstate and say, ‘This is where we want to make our mark,’” Hurst says.
TD works with many organizations in the Upstate. “We have a huge number of wonderful organizations around the Upstate that are doing work that has to be done, which mean that someone gets from one day to the next in better shape,” Hurst says.
TD tries to focus on a few particular areas of community involvement, including the arts, financial literacy, and affordable housing.
Alan Ethridge, executive director of the Metropolitan Arts Council, says, “TD Bank is one of the most community-minded and philanthropic businesses in the community. The bank supports virtually all major arts initiatives, and their management team members truly recognize how important the arts are to a thriving community.”
Don Oglesby, president and CEO of Homes of Hope, also boasts about TD’s financial and volunteer efforts for his organization. “TD Bank gets it, from the top down. They are not only thought leaders, but they are leaders in terms of actual investment and willingness to address root causes, not just pick low-hanging fruit.”
Hurst explains that TD Bank is committed to helping the community both financially and with physical volunteer hours. “There is no better way to get engaged with an organization than to figure out what they do and do it with them,” he says. Hurst explains that this is why each of TD’s employees is paid 40 hours of volunteer time to work with organizations of their choice.
The bank’s parent company, TD Bank Group, which is based in Canada, has a new program, the TD Ready Commitment, which is a $1 billion pledge that the bank plans to invest through 2030.
“As a business, we spend a lot of time making sure that we are ready for what the future holds. This is our attempt to do that same thing in our communities,” Hurst says. “The communities that we serve have needs beyond their banking needs. We feel confident that we are ready for what the next 10 to 15-plus years holds as a business. We want to make sure our communities are ready for the exact same thing.”