Comerica, CAAN Transform Common Interests Into Community Engagement
Encouraging an inclusive culture and embracing the differences in the community have become the foundation for the long-time success of Comerica’s African American Network (CAAN), a pillar of the Comerica Promise that paves the way on how the bank conducts business externally and internally.
CAAN is one of the bank’s many employee engagement groups that lead meaningful involvement in diverse projects inside the bank and throughout the community.
Established in the 1980s by a group of African American bankers who supported career advancement for their colleagues and business relationships within the African American community, CAAN is one of eight Michigan market Employee Resource Network Groups (ERNG), which are groups of employees who gather around a common interest.
It is also the bank’s oldest.
Community engagement and service has become CAAN’s calling card and plays a role in Comerica’s commitment to diversity and service. The resource group volunteers time fostering an encouraging environment to help others grow and succeed. It also vows to improve overall quality of the communities which the bank serves.
Aided by CAAN’s leadership, Comerica impacts the community through several outreach initiatives, including the recent United Negro College Fund Detroit Walk for Education on Belle Isle.
For the ninth consecutive year, the bank has supported and participated in the annual UNCF fundraiser as CAAN spearheaded an effort that contributed more than $22,000 for college scholarships.
“Having Comerica Bank’s involvement in the UNCF’s Detroit Walk for Education is key,” said Patrice Neal, area development director of UNCF Michigan. “Not only does Comerica provide important funding, but they also bring public awareness of our organization’s needs to a whole new audience.
“Comerica is an extension of the UNCF and having their support for the past 31 years really showcases how partnerships like ours can benefit the community.”
Since 2011, Comerica has contributed nearly $140,000 to the UNCF Detroit Walk for Education.
Involvement in events like the UNCF Walk brings numerous colleagues together for a common cause which also amplifies the social impact.
Back in March, Comerica colleagues began fundraising efforts for the American Heart Association. Eventually, Comerica doubled its initial fundraising goal of $20,000 with a final donation of more than $40,000, resulting in the bank finishing as one of the top four companies supporting the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk.
CAAN assisted Comerica’s participation in the American Heart Association’s annual event, as more than 100 Comerica employees from across the bank’s management, operations and branch teams participated. In all, the work generated more than 450 contributions from colleagues, grants and donors.
“Social responsibility is extremely important to Comerica Bank, and it’s something we take great pride in,” said Nancy Heaston, vice president and human resource consultant at Comerica Bank who served as the bank’s event manager for the Heart Walk. “We always ensure we provide value to the communities we serve.”
In addition to the fundraising walks, CAAN helps Comerica partner in educational initiatives such as Career Day at the Detroit and Redford Service Learning Academies in June. There, Comerica volunteers met with students and provided advice on their education and future career paths.
Each year, community involvement begins on Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service. This past January, Comerica assisted Mission Continues, a group that collectively supports the quality of life for Detroit residents and youth by improving public parks and green spaces. Comerica and Mission Continues served together at the Boys and Girls Club-Diehl Clubhouse in Detroit to improve the facility by repainting areas of the building and assembling new furniture.
As Comerica has increased its financial empowerment sessions delivered throughout Detroit, several CAAN members have stepped forward and volunteered their time to the bank’s Financial Education Brigade.
Involvement and diversity are two of Comerica’s seven core values that have empowered the bank over 170 years, and CAAN has helped lead the charge for over three decades.