Astoria Federal Savings (AF) won two free tickets to the Super Bowl for its commitment to community service. Then the bank sought to double down on philanthropy by giving them away.
The Long Island City, N.Y., bank received the award because of its work with a partner charity, The Interfaith Nutrition Network, which provides hungry and homeless people in the Long Island area with soup kitchens, emergency shelters and a long-term housing program. Astoria collaborates with the INN through its employee-volunteer program, sending staff to prepare and serve food and sort clothing and canned goods donations.
When Astoria received the top award from Companies With a Mission, an organization that aims to encourage community service in the workplace, it passed on the prize package the two tickets, and $25,000 to the INN. The $25,000 went as required by the contest to further the INN's fight against hunger. The fate of the Super Bowl tickets was a trickier question.
"We wanted the INN to raffle the tickets to raise funds," says Astoria executive vice president Brian Edwards, "but the rules were against it, so they raffled the tickets off to employees."
Did parting with a pair of prime seats at MetLife Stadium which were Astoria's to keep if it had chosen to cause a twinge in the hearts of Astoria employees?
"Nobody was disappointed," Edwards says. "They were just disappointed that we couldn't find a way to raise further funds [for the INN] with that terrific package. Not one of our employees ever said once, 'Gee, I'd love to go.' "