As the COVID-19 rains kicked in last spring, Truist Financial Corporation threw TreesCharlotte one heck of a life preserver: a surprise gift of $20,850 to salvage the end of our season.
When the N.C. governor enacted shelter-in-place restrictions in March, TreesCharlotte had three major events stranded on the calendar: a pair of 200-plus tree plantings at Mallard Creek High and Parkside Elementary and the final Citywide TreeStore with nearly 1,000 trees to give away.
We decided to dig into reserves to hire a contractor to plant the school trees and another contractor to keep the remaining trees watered throughout the spring until we could hold a TreeStore. It was going to drain thousands from our savings account … until we got an enigmatic email from our friends at the Arbor Day Foundation: A mystery corporate donor would like to gift us a significant amount of money for a Spring event. Do you have something that might work?
It turns out that Truist had planned to engage their teammates to volunteer and plant trees as part of its Earth Day celebration, but COVID-19 changed all of that. Instead, they gifted trees to Arbor Day Foundation to keep their teammates safe and follow social distancing guidelines. Lynette Bell, president of the Truist Foundation, said the environment has long been a key focus area, especially in storm-torn Florida. But the pandemic changed plans. And since Charlotte is home to Truist’s new headquarters, TreesCharlotte made sense as the beneficiary.
“Our intention was to honor the commitment we always wanted to make, so we pivoted,” said Tori Kaplan, head of Corporate Responsibility at Truist. “We wanted an opportunity to stay true to our original intentions, which was to give the gift of trees.”