The Central Bank of Boone County is a force multiplier for Columbia. Arts, education, health care, business, sports and other community events have benefited in one way or another through the bank’s involvement.

We talked to the president of the bank, Joe Henderson, about the company and what it does in the community.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Why do you feel it is important for the bank to be deeply involved in the Columbia community?

One of the things we talk about all the time is taking care of the community. When we onboard new people into the organization, we talk about how it’s part of our DNA and how it’s been our responsibility to the community. You know, we’re 160 years old this year, and so we’ve been part of the fabric of this community and the growth of this community for a long time. We’ve been actively involved in doing things for the community throughout our history and so we just continue to do it on a day-to-day basis because it’s a natural thing for us to do.

How does the bank select which events to sponsor and which nonprofits to donate to?

We support anywhere from 120 to 140 organizations a year, and our annual budget for that is in the neighborhood of $350,000 per year. So it’s everything from supporting a not-for-profit who wants to start a new program for education to sponsoring a table at an annual event for an organization to doing things like supporting Innovation Week, which we recently did for the university. When we make a decision, we think about how the organization and the events we are going to support help the community in terms of the number of people that they’re going to touch and the overall effect over a long period of time. We’re more inclined to work with organizations that have programming that will be sustainable over a long period of time and that have a significant impact on the community as a whole. It’s about lifting the community up and economic development, and economic development benefits everybody in the community.

We heard the Central Bank of Boone County has a lot of employees who do volunteer work in the community. Is there any specific organization you prefer to work with?

We have about 340 employees at the bank, that includes our branches in Hallsville, Sturgeon, Boonville and South County, and every one of our employees is involved in some sort of volunteer activity. We ask everybody to pick an organization in the community that they are passionate about and they want to work with, and we ask them to invest their time. We are now trying to do a better job tracking our volunteer hours and so just a rough rough estimate: We believe last year in 2016 that our employees had over 3000 hours of volunteer time. We’ve got a community involvement committee here in the bank that’s made up of employees, and at the beginning of the year they select four organizations they want to work with, one per quarter. While everybody is volunteering on their own with various organizations, we’ve got four organizations highlighted by the volunteer committee, and we do something each quarter with each one of those organizations.

What does being nominated for this award mean to the Central Bank of Boone County?

It’s a great honor to be recognized for what we do. We do so much of this as part of our day-to-day way we go about business that it will always be that way. And it won’t necessarily be about seeking recognition for it, but the fact we’re being nominated is certainly a very great honor, and I’m sure the other nominees are very well qualified as well and do an awful lot for the community.

  • Fall 2016 Community reporter. I am a junior studying magazine editing and German.

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