Above, left to right: Rose Yardito, Webster Bank; Theresa Santoro, RVNAhealth; Michele Varno, Webster Bank; Patt Alexander, Webster Bank; Alice Meenan, RVNAhealth
You don’t ordinarily hear the terms “finance,” “furnishings” and “flu shots” in the same sentence. But Webster Bank is no ordinary bank, as this brief history of the Webster Bank and RVNAhealth partnership will demonstrate.
Webster Bank is a community-minded, values-guided bank whose rich history dates back to 1935 when founder Harold Webster Smith borrowed $25,000 from friends and family to launch his enterprise. The bank’s founding purpose was to help make home ownership a realistic dream for more people.
Webster Bank has since expanded to become a leading regional bank across the Northeast, with more than $30.4 billion in assets and 157 banking centers – including Ridgefield, Southbury, and many more of the 28 towns that RVNAhealth serves.
It All Began With Some Furniture …
In 2009, when Webster’s Ridgefield branch was preparing to relocate from its location on Prospect Street (now home to the Prospector Theater) to its present location at 14 Danbury Road, Branch Manager/Vice President Patt Alexander had a collection of furnishings and paintings that weren’t going along for the move. Eager to donate them to a worthy organization, she contacted RVNAhealth.
“Needless to say, we were thrilled,” says Theresa Santoro, RVNAhealth president and CEO. “At the time, our offices at 90 East Ridge had a rather tired collection of hand-me-downs, so this was a wonderful and much-appreciated gift.”
Alexander’s own desk was relocated to Santoro’s office and a friendship and partnership was born, founded on the common values of community and generosity.
Since then, both organizations have grown, and Webster Bank has continued to support the RVNAhealth organization and mission, helping the agency serve an expanding set of patient and community needs.
As Alexander explains the relationship, “RVNAhealth serves the communities where our customers live. And, like RVNAhealth, Webster Bank is committed to keeping our customers strong, healthy, and independent through exceptional care and service. We relate to each other through this common goal.”
Sponsoring and Hosting Community Events
Webster’s commitment to supporting healthy communities is reflected in many ways, including the events they host and sponsor, from flu clinics, to fundraising events, to the RVNAhealth annual meeting.
In recent years, the Bank has hosted flu clinics, offering vaccines to their customers and the public in Ridgefield and Southbury branches and spreading the word on RVNAhealth services.
They also sponsor and support such RVNAhealth events as the annual Spring Breakfast, Southbury Spring Breakfast, Autumn Dinner, Spelling Bee and, since 2018, the RVNAhealth annual Wellness Fair. Webster Bank is a member of the RVNAhealth Governor Society, through which they ‘bundle’ their sponsorship to support events and programs that are meaningful to them and their own organizational goals.
Webster Bank has also been the sole sponsor of the RVNAhealth Annual Meeting and Incorporator’s Reception year since 2015. The event, attended by committed RVNAhealth donors and open to all, features a state-of-the-agency report on activity, accomplishments and growth in the previous year followed by a truly lovely and collegial reception to share stories and celebrate achievements.
“The annual meeting is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to RVNAhealth for all they do in our communities,” says Alexander, “and to be sure all of their supporters know how much we appreciate all they do.”
Invested in the Community
Webster Bank’s full range of financial services is delivered by almost 3,400 employees serving the territory from NYC to Boston. Despite significant growth over the decades, the bank’s core values have remained unchanged. They put people first — one of the company’s guiding principles, also known as “The Webster Way.”
Webster donates more than $5 million annually to nonprofit organizations across their service footprint, focused on strengthening the well-being of their communities. Webster employees log an estimated 130,000 hours of volunteer time each year and all employees receive two paid volunteer days annually to use at the organization of their choice.
Alexander, who has been the Ridgefield branch manager and vice-president since 2003, is a fixture in the local community. She is a board member of the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce and volunteers her time to many causes.
“Patt Alexander is the real deal,” says Santoro. “Not only is she a successful and insightful businesswoman, she is genuinely invested in the community. Her actions and sponsorships are meaningful and intentional, and Patt is a wonderful ambassador of RVNAhealth. We are proud to have her as part of our extended team.”
Webster Bank supported the opening of our Center for Exceptional Care in 2016 with the purchase of a paver (left) on our beautiful Pathway to Health – an enduring part of our legacy. Meanwhile, some of those originally donated paintings can still be seen today in the board room at our 27 Governor Street headquarters!