Since 2013, BMO Harris Bank has partnered with Housing Forward in our mission to end homelessness. Their support helps ensure that every dollar possible goes directly to the programs and services that help individuals and families we serve. BMO Harris also supports an employee giving campaign through United Way Giving, in which employees can donate to Housing Forward directly from their paycheck. But we can count on BMO Harris for more than just fundraising, because a number of their employees are also volunteers! Ruxandra Hill, an Executive Strategic Leader at BMO Harris, is a former Board member and an active advocate for our organization. In addition, we are grateful to have Laura Ullman, as a member, and Kendal Cross, as the President, of our Associate Board. “There is a strong culture of giving back and being involved in the community at BMO Harris Bank. In fact, that quality was one of the reasons I joined the company almost seven years ago,” says Cross. “Almost every one of my co-workers is involved in an organization, each serving a need where their individual passion lies.”
So why does BMO Harris support Housing Forward? “We take a long-term view of our responsibility to the community, doing what we can to help non-profits like Housing Forward, who are doing life-changing work on the ground,” says Alma Velasquez, Vice President of Community Affairs at BMO Harris. Cross got involved with Housing Forward because she has a strong belief that every person deserves a home. “Housing Forward’s mission is inspiring, their results are impactful, and the strides they continue to make in our communities is powerful. The staff and volunteers work tirelessly to provide more than just shelter and supportive housing to end the cycle of homelessness,” says Cross. Laura Ullman was introduced to Housing Forward’s Associate Board through Ruxandra Hill. “I was so impressed with the comprehensive offering Housing Forward provides that goes above and beyond emergency shelter. They help families and individuals get, and maintain, long term housing,” says Ullman. “And, the support, wellness, and employment services are critical to addressing the underlying causes of homelessness and regaining stability.”
This year, BMO Harris Bank is celebrating their Bicentennial. Over the past 200 years, they have grown to become one of the largest banks in the Midwest with over 600 branches and 1,300 ATMs. They provide a broad range of personal banking products and solutions for everyday banking, financing, investing, as well as commercial and financial advisory services. Community and customer support is a major priority of BMO Harris and in their words, “Our goal in everything we do is to help our customers make sense of complexity, make better choices in investing, saving and borrowing and have confidence... And, we have a deep commitment to the communities where our employees work and live.”
In addition to their support of Housing Forward’s mission, BMO Harris Bank has also partnered with many other community organizations. “As we celebrate our Bicentennial as a company, one thing we’re very proud of – giving back to the communities in which we serve has been ingrained in our culture since we opened up shop in 1817,” comments Velasquez. At Housing Forward, we are grateful to BMO Harris Bank and the positive impact they have on our local community with their ongoing support. We look forward to continuing our partnership to end homelessness.