Although social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis eliminated the in-person, hands-on approach we usually take toward community service, throughout the pandemic, we were honored to support community agencies and people in need across our footprint, including matching contributions to the American Red Cross, financial support for Feeding America, and meals for first responders and front-line health care providers. A more expansive list of the organizations we supported during COVID-19 is here.
The southwest Georgia city of Albany was overwhelmed by COVID-19 in the spring, becoming one of the hardest-hit areas in the country on a per-capita basis. Synovus donated $25,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts at Phoebe Putney Health System, a not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system that serves more than 500,000 residents in southwest Georgia. Synovus’ contribution helped provide essential support to Phoebe Putney employees and their emergency response efforts to keep the community healthy and safe. In addition, Synovus provided more than 1,900 meals to the hospital’s COVID-19 and Emergency Center staff as well as Dougherty County EMS workers throughout the month of April.
Delivering thanks and meals in Albany, GA.
In Nashville, Synovus partnered with a local sandwich shop to provide meals for more than 1,000 medical personnel at St. Thomas-Midtown and Vanderbilt hospitals. The meals were delivered in brown paper bags and included a note of appreciation from Tennessee Division CEO Rob McNeilly. Also in Nashville, Angela Rice, a senior commercial assistant, knitted mask extenders for health care staff at NorthCrest Medical Center in Springfield, TN. Following the delivery of her batch of mask extenders, NorthCrest Medical Center requested 100 more!
In South Florida, Retail Market Manager Lina Figueroa regularly volunteers with Gang Alternative, a Miami-Dade County nonprofit dedicated to providing underserved children and families with alternatives to crime, violence, dependency, and delinquency through a holistic approach to academic, physical, social, economic, and spiritual development. Before Easter, Lina and several friends and family members helped Gang Alternative assemble 55 Easter bags bursting with holiday meal supplies and candy-filled plastic eggs. Lina and her husband delivered the bags to families in Little Haiti the day before Easter.
Retail Market Manager Lina Figueroa snaps a photo while delivering Easter meal supplies to Little Haiti, one of Miami’s most underserved communities.
Feeding Our Future
During the “Feeding Our Future” food drive in the fall of 2019, team members collected nonperishable food items and hosted financial literacy classes for more than 50 food banks and agency partners throughout our footprint. Team members delivered more than 61,000 meals to food banks and logged over 260 hours providing financial education lessons to more than 1,000 participants.
Feeding our future in Hendersonville, TN,…
… and in Columbus, GA.
In 2019, team members collected more than 15,600 bottles of water, three tons of peanut butter and jelly, 1,170 books, and volunteered for more than 50 projects across our footprint during our spring Here Matters Outreach. Some of the community organizations we supported during the spring project included more than 28 local food pantries in Atlanta, City of Lights in Jasper, AL, Manna Food Bank in Pensacola, and Harvest Hope Food Bank in Columbia.
In Columbus, students from Truth Spring Academy, Fox Elementary and residents of the North Highland neighborhood joined us for a block party, celebrating our month-long Here Matters partnership with Truth Spring Academy. Synovus team members served breakfast to all students three days a week and helped procure supplies for students and teachers.
In Montgomery, team members joined the scholars at Valiant Cross Academy to learn about financial responsibility and operating a small business for the school’s community garden.
In 2018, team members collected nearly 28,000 diapers and more than 4,500 10-item toiletry kits (including shampoo, soap, deodorant, shaving cream, razors, etc.) for Synovus’ first Simple Needs Project. Boxes of diapers, baby wipes, toothpaste, mouthwash—73,000 items in all— were assembled into kits, packed, and delivered to more than 80 community service agencies across our footprint, including Nashville Rescue Mission, Tuscaloosa One Place, St. Pete Free Clinic, and Transitions Homeless Center.
Meeting Simple Needs in Columbus, GA
Team members also collected nearly 5,000 children’s books for more than a dozen community, education, and literacy organizations including Books for Keeps in Athens, Georgia; United Way of Nashville; and the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Chattahoochee Valley.
Columbus Market Executive Heath Schondelmayer reads with Boys and Girls Club members.
We also celebrated military members, public safety officers, and first responders as part of an “Honoring Our Heroes” outreach in 2018. Picnic lunches and meal deliveries to fire stations and precincts were provided to on-duty first responders throughout the footprint.
Fire, police and EMS from Columbus/Muscogee County, GA, and Russell and Lee Counties, AL, gathered for a picnic at Synovus headquarters.
Not every initiative is planned in advance. After Hurricanes Irma and Michael ripped through Florida and South Georgia in 2017 and 2018, respectively, team members in Columbus dispatched relief convoys. Using branches in impacted markets as staging areas, the team distributed hundreds of cases of water, gas generators, lumber, carpentry tools, and other supplies, and provided assistance with clean-up efforts. Around the footprint, team members raised more than $26,000 and the company contributed an additional $16,000 for distribution to team members with immediate needs and for community relief efforts.
Synovus team members clear trees in Lee County and Collier County, Florida.
As part of Here Matters, Synovus provides financial and volunteer contributions to local agencies such as United Way, which we support in many of the communities in our footprint, and Feeding America food banks. We also have long-standing relationships with many elementary, middle, and high schools as part of Here Matters’ focus on education. And Synovus’ team member-funded Jack Parker Scholarship fund has helped hundreds of team members’ children attend college.
Honoring our Team Matters
Leteria Waters, 2019 William B. Turner Community Impact Award Winner
Leteria Waters, a 25-year Synovus veteran, has delivered hundreds of financial presentations to individuals of all ages and volunteered with dozens of civic and professional organizations in Huntsville, AL, where she serves as retail market manager.
John Clidas, 2019 William B. Turner Community Impact Award Winner
In South Florida, John Clidas, relationship manager, has a long-standing passion for youth and young adults, whom he has served through his work with the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County and The George Snow Scholarship Fund.
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Synovus Community Outreach in 2019 by the numbers
$1,000,000: contributed by team members and corporate giving to the United Way
$110,500: Jack Parker Scholarship dollars awarded through 133 scholarships
39,000: volunteer hours supporting Here Matters community projects
5,600: Here Matters community projects completed