Serving the Community
As I’ve learned over the more than 20 years I’ve lived in the Kansas City metropolitan area, our community is a very giving one. Not long ago, I was introduced to a man who gives more than most. His name is Ryan Radecki, and he runs the Community Volunteer program for Bank of America for the KC metro region. Radecki’s path crossed with mine when he reached out to me to assist in one of his volunteer efforts. It was a grill-out lunch for veterans at the VCP Village on south Troost, a community of 49 tiny houses for Veterans experiencing homelessness. He asked if I could provide sides for the 100 or so vets who would be taking advantage of the meal. I said yes, and with the assistance of two chef/restauranteur friends, we had more than enough sides to serve the vets.
I’ve followed Radecki’s efforts ever since and wanted to learn more. So, this time, I reached out to him for assistance. Specifically, details on what he does and how he gets it done. I found his answers awe-inspiring and motivating. I hope you do, too.
“We set a new high-water mark for participation every year (participation is measured as the percentage of individuals who volunteer at least an hour more each year). Last year, our goal was 60%. We came in at 62%, This year, our goal is 65%,” Radecki sharded. “The team gave over a quarter million dollars of volunteer time in 2022, based on the estimated value of a volunteer hour, which is produced by a third party.”
Radecki says his group does all types of volunteer work, but primarily focus on economic development and mobility, and providing financial literacy training to veterans, individuals in need as well as students in predominantly low to middle income areas. “I identify these opportunities by working with nonprofits in our
area- primarily nonprofits the bank has given grants to, but others as well. We’ve done financial literacy training with Veterans Community Project, mock interviews with Connections to Success (for formerly incarcerated individuals), builds with Habitat for Humanity, and serving low to moderate income students through Junior Achievement & Prep-KC interviews, career day speakers, etc. We also work with WEN: Women’s employment network, Big Brothers & Big sisters, Union Station, Harvester’s food kitchen, Bridging the Gap, Pawsperity, and others. The bank also supports the KC Symphony (main sponsor of Celebration at the Station for military members) and the NLBM, which has also received our annual “neighborhood builders award” which is a $100,000 grant, plus leadership mentoring, Radecki said.
Radecki’s volunteer project list is beyond impressive, but like any person so heavily invested in assisting the community, Radecki is always aiming higher. “We have about 545 employees in the KC metro market area. Last year, for Service Month, which is April, we had a pledge of $10,000 and achieved the maximum donation (based on participation), so $11,000 went to the Red Cross of Missouri. This year budgets are more constrained, so I am trying to secure raffle prizes for individuals who volunteer during April. Rieger donated a gift box and tickets for distillery tours, Amigoni is donating wine and perhaps a tour, we have Royals items and possibly a guided tour at the Negro Leagues Museum, and, of course, you and Bradley Gilmore have donated two tickets to your one year anniversary Dave’s Dine-Arounds dinner at Lula Southern Cookhouse in June,” Radecki listed.
“This is my third year as the community volunteer chair and we’re looking to set a new high-water mark again. Last year, I received the Presidential Service Award and I’ve been nationally recognized within the bank- they’ve allowed me to share my best practices with other market leaders, so I like to think we’re helping make a difference all across the country!” Radecki exclaimed. He certainly is, and I’m glad I could help in my small way. Oh, by the way, if you’re ever interested in attending one of my monthly Dave’s Dine-Arounds Dinners where a portion of each meal purchased goes to charity, just head to Facebook and look up my Dave’s Dine-Arounds page. Cheers!