Look within any business, big or small, and you’ll find it’s comprised of people who live in and care about their community. Inspired by this idea, Jessica Hewitt, Vice President Community Relations Manager at Bank of America in Portland, creates volunteer opportunities for employees that allow them to explore their passions while giving back to the community.
“It’s rewarding to create volunteer experiences and bring people out of their comfort zone, then have them tell me ‘that was amazing!’ or ‘I’m getting more involved!’”
Jessica began her career in the nonprofit sector after graduating from the University of Oregon. She spent many years working at United Way of the Columbia Willamette, connecting corporate groups to volunteer opportunities, fundraising, and learning about community needs here in Portland. She explains, “I enjoyed working in the nonprofit sector and gaining a good understanding of the key issues in our community. And today I enjoy working with Bank of America colleagues to introduce them to key nonprofits in the community and volunteer together to solve problems.”
Bank of America has been a generous supporter of Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East since 2002 on both a national and local level. The national Bank of America Foundation is a strong supporter of Habitat for Humanity. Locally Bank of America has invested over $200,000 in the past 10 years and local employees have worked hard volunteering on build sites across Portland—raising walls, hauling sod, and completing the little tasks that help make a house a home. For eight years, Habitat has welcomed summer interns from Bank of America’s Student Leaders Program. These bright young students help with office projects, on the construction sites and at the ReStores.
With many Habitat builds under her tool belt, Jessica can still recall a special moment while volunteering at Habitat’s Helensview community in NE Portland. She and a few colleagues carefully painted what would become a child’s bedroom. At the key dedication, Jessica was able to view the finished home and welcome the family that would soon purchase the house. “That was incredibly special,” Jessica remembers, “to know that a house I worked on would be for those kids.”
“Whether it’s at the build site volunteering, or meeting a homeowner at events like key dedications, I always leave feeling really inspired by the work we are able to accomplish together.”
Thank you, Jessica, for your continued support of Habitat for Humanity.