Acts of Caring: Mobilizing CIT Employees, Customers and Others to Give Back

From the 5th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards Finalist
Nov 20, 2020 10:30 AM ET


CIT is committed to giving back in communities it calls home. Each year, the company spearheads an annual employee volunteer initiative in June called CIT Cares Month.

This year, however, CIT transformed its annual employee volunteer initiative to reflect the needs of the current environment and introduced Acts of Caring – a program that, simply put, focused on doing something good, wherever you are.

Acts of Caring included three main components to support communities across the country during an unprecedented time: an employee volunteer initiative, a customer component to help support nonprofit-led community projects, and a public poll to further give even more.  

By implementing a number of efforts inclusive of multiple stakeholder groups, CIT supported tangible community needs that advanced COVID-19 relief, inclusion, economic and social justice, sustainability and food security.


Beginning in June, Acts of Caring mobilized CIT employees to give back virtually during a unique time of need. Many of CIT's volunteer hours directly benefited COVID-19 relief and front-line workers. Other notable causes included hunger relief, clean-up of the environment, support of economic and social justice and development for at-risk youth.

Building on this momentum, CIT spearheaded an email campaign across its consumer and commercial business segments inviting customers to nominate a need in their hometown and share how the company could support those efforts on their behalf. CIT provided 10 customer-nominated projects a $10,000 grant each. These projects represented a broad representation of priorities across locations where CIT has a significant customer presence:

  • A New Way of Life Reentry Project (CA): Provides housing, case management, pro bono legal services, advocacy and leadership development for women rebuilding their lives after prison.
  • The Arc of the Bay (FL): Provides support and opportunities for people with disabilities to choose and participate in valued adult activities.
  • Flushing Town Hall (NY): Aims to present multi-disciplinary global arts that engage and educate the global communities of Queens, New York and New York City.
  • Mission 22 (OR): Supports the veteran community with three main programs; veteran treatment programs, memorials and community social impact.
  • Musical Arts Institute (IL): Provides music education to many of the far Southside communities of Chicago. Their target population is African American youths ages 5 through 17.
  • The NAACP Ventura County (CA): The largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation.
  • Table to Table (NJ): a community-based food rescue program that collects prepared and perishable food that would otherwise be wasted and delivers it to organizations serving the hungry.
  • Tarzana Community and Cultural Center (CA): A non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Tarzana history & nurturing community engagement in a park-like setting.
  • Three Square Food Bank (NV): Provides wholesome food to hungry people, while passionately pursuing a hunger-free community.
  • Upward Bound House (CA): Helps homeless families find stability and success.

Customers and other stakeholders were then invited to participate in an online poll to determine which of the 10 nominated projects would receive additional support of an extra $10,000 grant. For the poll, voting was bolstered by a robust social media and digital advertising campaign over a 10-day timeframe. Flushing Town Hall received an additional $10,000 grant based on votes.


CIT employees contributed 3,000+ Acts of Caring and nearly 5,000 volunteer hours during the month-long initiative.  Specific support included:  

  • 33% of Acts supporting basic needs and hunger relief
  • 1,580 hours for COVID-19 relief. Support included COVID-19 relief through donations, mask making and support for frontline workers and seniors in isolation.
  • 20% of hours to protect the environment: Support included cleaning local parks and beaches and tracking bird migration routes to support our environment.

As part of customer component, CIT’s Acts of Caring supported the following nonprofits and needs of the communities they serve in the following ways:

  • A New Way of Life Reentry Project: Helped renovate 4,500 square feet of living, communal and visiting space for formerly incarcerated women.
  • The Arc of the Bay: Provided kitchen essentials including food ingredients, personal cutlery kits and uniforms to help maintain the organization’s Culinary Institute.
  • Flushing Town Hall: Helped the organization deliver and maintain their series, Global Arts for Global Kids: Arts Education, Arts Equity, to thousands of families, school-aged children, teachers and community members 
  • Mission 22: Provided up to 25 veteran families with grocery assistance for one month.
  • Musical Arts Institute: Funded a computer lab of Apple iMac computers with Logic Pro X software to help establish a computer lab for students to write and create music, practice instruments and learn music theory.
  • The NAACP Ventura County: Provided 10 college and college-bound students with scholarships
  • Table to Table: Provided fresh food for 100,000 meals via their food rescue program and fresh produce market.
  • Tarzana Community and Cultural Center: Constructed a new greenhouse for the facility’s Children’s Teaching Garden.
  • Three Square Food Bank: Donated 30,000 meals.
  • Upward Bound House: Furnished 10 temporary housing apartments for homeless families.