Olympia Federal Savings – Giving Back To The Community


You’d be hard pressed to find another business that puts as much time and resources back into the community as Olympia Federal Savings.  Oly Fed, as they are more commonly known, strives to provide “personalized competitive financial service that will consistently exceed our customers’ expectations.”  That’s true of most financial institutions, but what sets Oly Fed apart is its commitment to Olympia and Thurston County through support of countless local non-profits.  At the heart of the organization is the principle of community involvement.

Founded in 1906 as the Olympia Building and Loan Association, Olympia Federal Savings has grown to a seven branch operation.  They employ 92 people, primarily in Thurston County.  Combined, those employees dedicate approximately 1800 hours of community service over the course of a year.  Last fiscal year alone, the bank contributed $362,000 (over 10% of their profits) to local events and non-profit organizations.

According to Sandy DiBernardo, Vice President/Marketing Director for Oly Fed, “It is more than financial support.”  Although the bank provides sponsorship money for numerous events, it’s the personal commitment of the employees that is impressive.  Some participate in auctions or golf tournaments while others serve meals or purchase tables at sponsored events.  “Several fundraisers have walks and we usually have employees volunteer to be team captains and we get a group of employees together who enjoy participating,” says DiBernardo.

Staff members from Olympia Federal Saving participate in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids' Sake in 2011.

“Sometimes we get involved with new organizations because an employee brings it to our attention,” explains DiBernardo. “Many of our employees volunteer for charitable causes that they are passionate about, but a couple that stand out are Dana Dederick an Operations Assistant who has volunteered for Big Brothers-Big Sisters for several years and has been the top fundraiser for the Bowl for Kids event many times. Dana has also been able to put together five or six teams of Oly Fed employees that bowl at that event. Another employee, Shelley Kinney, one of our junior loan closers, is very involved with the South Sound Buddy Walk to benefit Down syndrome and helps with the Special Olympics.” 

A suggestion by an employee spurred the bank’s involvement with Santa’s Castle, an organization that provides holiday toys to children whose parents are on military deployment.  “Several of our employees worked together to sew a quilt which we then raffled off with all the funds going to that organization,” says DiBernardo. According to DiBernardo, even if the bank isn’t involved as an business, it will still match personal contributions by employees up to $100.

The bank has always supported Lakefair and has even accommodated parade announcers on the balcony of its downtown branch.  Last year they were approached to help with the Lakefair Royalty Scholarships.  “We felt providing funding for the education of some of the outstanding youth in our community was a worthwhile investment.”

After taking a four year break, Oly Fed is back this year as a sponsor of the Beach Party during Sand in the City.  And again, they’re not just providing money.  “We are sponsoring the Boys & Girls Club sand building team with some of our employees joining in.”

A team from Olympia Federal Savings participates in Rebuilding Together in 2010

Although managers are expected to be involved in the community, there is no volunteer mandate for employees of Olympia Federal Savings.  C.E.O. Lori Drummond is involved in a number of boards and, according to DiBernardo, “She really demonstrates what it means to be a good citizen who really cares about our community.”  She continues, “Since Olympia Federal Savings is an organization that not only supports non-profits financially, but also understands the value in donating time, I think our employees recognize this and are empowered to volunteer.”

You name the cause, and, no doubt, Oly Fed is involved at some level – heath and human services, youth, diversity, arts and entertainment, education, affordable housing, seniors and environmental conservation – they care about it all.

Oly Fed appreciates recognition for community support, but according to DiBernardo, “We certainly don’t expect any kind of payback.  I think because of our philanthropic generosity we have maintained a good reputation in our community. And I would like to think people may consider banking with us if they share similar values as far as improving and sustaining our community.”

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