As a financial institution, Byline Bank is well-versed in the art of investing. But as a community bank, Byline understands that its role extends beyond just accepting investments; it also actively invests back into its community.
In the last year, Byline Bank donated over $60,000 to local non-profit organizations in Oak Park and River Forest, gave over $30,000 in grants, and over $1.1 million in community development loans. In addition, Byline employees volunteered over 400 hours with Oak Park and River Forest organizations (and 1,200 in the greater Chicago region).
“Our involvement in the community is organically driven,” said Susie Goldschmidt, Byline’s Oak Park and River Forest market president. “We’re here. We get to know local organizations who are on the ground and problem-solving, and we get to know local people who ask us to get engaged — we try to answer those calls.”
In answering the call, Byline has helped advance a number of Oak Park and River Forest initiatives including those related to animal welfare; the arts; diversity, equity and inclusion; education; financial literacy; food security; mental health; and family support. Some highlights include:
- The arts. Byline sponsors Music & Potlucks, the Oak Park Festival Theatre, the Oak Park Art League, the Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest, Heritage Chorale, the Michael Teolis Singers, and One Voice for Arts. These sponsorships enhance access to locally driven entertainment and provide the community with an opportunity to come together and unite behind its shared love of the arts.
- Diversity, equity and inclusion. Byline supports organizations such as the Oak Park Area Lesbian & Gay Association, Oak Leyden, Opportunity Knocks, Place to Belong, Thrive Counseling Center, AgeOptions and the West Suburban Special Recreation Association. These efforts contribute to fostering a more inclusive and equitable community — a place where success is attainable for all.
- Food security. Byline Bank is deeply committed to Beyond Hunger, a charitable organization dedicated to combating hunger through various programs and services. Byline provides essential community development grants for operational needs and sponsors the nonprofit’s annual fall benefit concerts. Goldschmidt also sits on the Beyond Hunger board of directors. In addition, Byline is a sponsor of the Suburban Unity Alliance community fridge in Oak Park, which is located at the Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church.
Byline’s community involvement is not limited to traditional philanthropy within nonprofits. “We of course give where there’s a pressing need,” Goldschmidt said, “but we find it’s meaningful to invest in the economic ecosystem and the community as a whole.” For example, during lunch meetings at its Oak Park and River Forest branches, Byline arranges for catering from nearby eateries — a small yet meaningful way of supporting the local economy, says Goldschmidt.
Consistent with its status as the top Small Business Administration lender in Illinois, Byline advocates for local businesses as a member of the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce and a sponsor of Takeout 25. Goldschmidt also serves as president of Downtown Oak Park and as a member of the Village of Oak Park Business Association Council. In addition, Byline has a presence at most Oak Park and River Forest community events, including the Memorial Day and Juneteenth parades, Oaktoberfest and Thursday Night Out.
“We want Oak Park and River Forest to thrive,” says Goldschmidt. “Well-functioning charities, well-supported businesses and a tight-knit community equates to more opportunities for our customers, their families and our employees who live and work here. We’re giving back and pitching in because it’s what neighbors do.”
©2023 Byline Bank. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.