Not My Job

A few days ago, I got a phone call. This time it wasn’t the usual neighbor or one of my coworkers. It was the United Way of Abilene. CCC has been a United Way community partner on various projects in our twelve years as an Abilene nonprofit, but this time it was more of a networking call. On the phone, I learned that a local construction company had reached out to them in search of a financial literacy course for its employees. While a couple of churches in town have great ministries that use financial literacy and coaching, many of the company’s employees are not religious. So they were really looking for a non-church option.

The United Way has kept up with us as we have launched our financial pilot program this year called Save Up. Our pilot started with a financial literacy course taught by expert volunteers from our partners at First Financial Bank. The participants who completed the course are now opening Individual Development Accounts and making monthly savings deposits towards things like higher education and homeownership.

Because of our pilot, United Way was calling to see if we knew of a good option for these construction employees. Since financial literacy is only one piece of our Save Up program, and it wasn’t our staff who taught the courses anyway, I offered to pass the opportunity along directly to First Financial Bank.

After I got off the phone, I noticed I felt good about being a connector. I got to take two business groups and put them together for common good. Connecting caring communities, you might say. I don’t even know if things will work out between these two companies. Maybe it won’t. But later that night, I realized what all had to happen before I even got that call. First, a local bank had to put work hours into finding curriculum and knowledgeable volunteers, making themselves available for the community. AND a construction company had to decide that they were not going to let financial hardship fall on its employees just because they might not be familiar with traditional banking practices.

Too often when opportunities to care present themselves, we hide behind excuses like, “Yeah, well, that’s not my problem.” But the funny thing about caring is that it’s good for business. Having employees that are better equipped to make good decisions with their earnings would add stability to this company’s workforce. And when a bank establishes trust by teaching healthy financial habits, where do you think the participants go when they want to open an account? Apply for a loan?

I would have expected most companies to say, “Financial education? That’s not our job.” Technically, for a construction company and even a bank, it’s not.

But caring? Caring is everyone’s job.