Member Spotlight

In April 2019, Mike Newhall, vice president of business and community development, discussed the importance of corporate philanthropy at Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group. A key element of Conscious Capitalism is how community needs mesh with employee engagement and how the company fits, and supports, its local environment.

Giving is a priority at Sentinel, via a program called “Sentinel Cares” which was created to "engage one another to do good things for others...everyday.” he says. "Our community involvement is at the center of our culture and values. We have a vision for our company to be difference makers for those we serve, and it is a passion shared by everyone at Sentinel."

As a fundraiser, Sentinel sponsored a partnership with Boston Children's Hospital and its annual Corporate Cup event for companies. Sentinel hosted a Pi(e)-in-the-face-Day. Nationwide, March 15th is Pi Day (3/15) and children’s hospitals plan pie-themed events.

Employees engaged in a friendly competition, donating money to sponsor a company partner to be walloped by a whipped cream pie. The result: a fun-filled experience with Robert DiMase receiving a pie in the face – all for a worthy cause. Smiles were just one winning outcome, while doing good with a spirited video that lives on to build camaraderie.

Another example of ‘if it matters to our people, it matters to Sentinel’ is a grant program that helps a range of charities and causes. Employees at all levels have access to funds donated to a company-wide pool. Any employee meaningfully involved with a charity through board membership or regular volunteer efforts, can apply for a grant of $1,000 for that organization. In 2019, five grants resulted in $5,000 of added contributions.

Giving every employee the support to make a difference in his or her backyard sets Sentinel apart – making charitable donations with a personal touch about where, and how, to have lasting impact.

 Spotlight: Sustainability

For a Conscious Capitalism discussion regarding climate change, Eastern Bank executives came prepared with actions and measurements by individuals and organizations to help reduce the impact on climate change.

 “Eastern has always been environmentally conscious,” says Tom Dunn, Eastern Bank’s director of general services. “When we’ve undertaken capital projects, we’ve always tried to do them responsibly.” 

Beyond big projects, Eastern focuses on practical everyday steps, people can take – from the office to their own homes. Keeping track of waste reduction, sustainable food choices and other options – including purchases that were avoided or earth-friendly actions. Every decision to reuse rather than ‘buy new’ can help, Dunn adds, the key thing is to get started.

A few examples he cited at the corporate level are a $10 million commitment to finance solar energy projects in Massachusetts. The bank is also participating in a statewide program to provides loans for residential energy efficiency projects and to help low-income households to afford heating oil and gas bills.

Eastern Bank uses 100% renewable energy at offices and branches through the use of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates that support, and create incentives for, solar power.

Other efforts – large and small – add up to help the company’s customers and the bottom-line of their bank. Eastern Bank is the largest, and oldest, mutually owned bank, meaning that accountholders are its shareholders, so savings go right to the bottom-line, not paid out as profits to investors.

Dunn identified a series of other sustainability initiatives:

  • Installed electric charging stations at their largest facility to encourage use of electric vehicles;
  • Circulates more than 55% of customer statements electronically, reducing spending and paper and postage while improving the security of client data;
  • Installed energy efficient LED fixtures and controls such as programmable thermostats and energy-efficient refrigerators;
  • Green office supplies, including recycling 30% of all workplace paper used.

In 2017, Eastern retained CERES, a Boston-based non-profit that provides business advisory services in the area of sustainability. It amplified efforts by Wainwright Bank, which Eastern acquired five years earlier, in the areas of sustainable and socially conscious operations. Those community efforts have grown with the company.

Eastern Bank has about $11 billion in assets and more than 120 offices in eastern Massachusetts, coastal Rhode Island and New Hampshire as of year-end 2019.

Conscious Capitalism Chapter of Boston is a Chapter in Formation of Conscious Capitalism International.  

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