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Community Bank System, Inc. Culture and Diversity Council

The Community Bank System, Inc. (CBSI) Culture and Diversity Council grew from the ground up. Once the seed was planted, one person raised a hand to foster it, and then another and another. The passion to support this initiative was obvious before it even had a name. Our Mission is to put faces and names to the concepts of diversity and inclusion. We are here to make sure no one feels unheard, unseen or uninvited. Through that effort, we’ll foster a culture that doesn’t just accept diversity, but values it.

Monthly Spotlight

Financial Literacy Month is observed every April as a time plan for a secure financial future, reflect on personal finances and explore opportunities to improve them one step at a time. Financial literacy plays a pivotal role in fostering equity within our communities. Understanding financial concepts can empower people to effectively navigate their personal finances and in turn potentially improve their quality of life. Financial literacy enables people to better understand investment opportunities, manage debt, and make informed decisions about saving and budgeting. By equipping individuals with these skills, financial literacy enhances their ability to build generational wealth and pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, contributing to a more equitable society.

Community Bank is proud to participate in Financial Literacy Month and strives to embrace our role to provide equal access to opportunities to improve financial literacy and economic independence for all our neighbors. Please contact your local branch if you are interested in having us present financial literacy classes to students or community groups.

Autism Awareness Month
Autism Awareness Month

In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, Community Bank is proud to show our support by encouraging employees to wear blue the first week in April. By wearing blue, our team aims to raise awareness of autism and promote understanding and acceptance within our communities. August, a teller from our Lake Placid, NY, branch, provides some thoughts on his personal experience with autism and the importance of educating others and dispelling misconceptions.

“Seeing Community Bank bringing awareness to autism makes me proud to work for a company that cares about and supports its community and the disabilities that they face. I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism back in 2009 when I was going into my freshman year of high school (back then it was known as Asperger’s syndrome). After I was diagnosed, I had to relearn social interactions, how to read body language, and basically re-learn social skills. Luckily for me, I had a wonderful set of parents who learned right alongside me and helped me through that journey. It definitely wasn’t easy, and now at 28 years old, I still find myself learning and constantly growing. I have found that my autism is like a super-power. It has allowed me to do things I never thought I’d be able to do, like play hockey and run a Dungeons & Dragons table. However, there are a lot of people out there that need to be educated on how having autism doesn’t mean you’re not smart and can’t achieve anything in life. Having autism can actually help you accomplish much more! With the right coaching and help, there is nothing you can’t do!”

Celebrating Diversity Year-Round
Center State CEO Foundation Donation
CenterState CEO Foundation Donation

We recently made a $250,000 commitment to CenterState CEO Foundation for its Growth + Equity Fund, which combats market inequalities and promotes diversity and inclusion among entrepreneurs, ranging from high-tech startups to those led by underrepresented founders. Our $250,000 commitment will provide flexible and patient capital to empower innovators, entrepreneurs, and business owners from historically marginalized backgrounds, including people of color, women, veterans, new Americans, and those with low to moderate incomes. Entrepreneurs engaged with CenterState CEO and its partners gain access to the Growth + Equity Fund through small business development programs, receiving strategic planning, customized technical assistance, network access, B2B services, and essential support to overcome barriers to capital access. This inclusive initiative is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs achieve their business goals, having already helped five entrepreneurs of color, including three women, secure nearly $285,000 in grants or loans during its pilot phase. To learn more about CenterState CEO, its foundation, and its Growth + Equity Fund, visit centerstateceo.com.

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