What would you do if you had a ginormous 15-foot balloon duck? Would you stick it atop your corporate headquarters and celebrate it? That is exactly what Kemba Credit Union has done for the last many years. As you drive down Union Center Boulevard, the giant Kemba duck is difficult to miss as it presides over the city of West Chester, Ohio perched on a concrete office building, adding a delightful touch of whimsy and charm to the landscape. Kemba has been a sponsor of the Freestore Foodbank’s most celebrated fundraiser, the Annual Rubber Duck Regatta for the past eight years. The relationship took shape under the guidance of Bob Edwards, who founded the event almost 25 years ago. Since then Kemba has sustained their involvement, rallying behind the efforts of the community to fight childhood hunger in the tristate region, contributing over $430,000 to the Rubber Duck Regatta and sponsoring the famous “Kemba Million Dollar Duck”.
As soon as duck sales open at the Freestore Foodbank, Kemba mobilizes its internal team to organize duck-related celebrations within the company. The President of the company, branch managers and a team of Quackers (staff who keep the employees motivated) meet and chart out the company’s strategy for the season. Every year they follow a tradition of dressing up five-foot ducks and having an internal contest to see which duck is dressed best. Team members come up with great ideas – some clever, some goofy – but all very creative. “The contest adds fun to the event and it gets our employees involved,” says Michael Szaz, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Kemba. “This is an annual event for us. We display the decorated ducks in the lobby and make the atmosphere festive. Our members immediately notice that it is duck season and they start asking how they can participate!”
Kemba specializes in the safe, reliable and efficient handling of money. And they have brought professional expertise and sophistication to rubber duck sales as well. As soon as a member purchases a single duck or multiple ducks, Kemba electronically transfers funds from the member’s account to the Freestore Foodbank. Szaz comments, “The easy and seamless transfer of funds is what we do for a living. So our first move was to get the transactional piece of this process figured out.” Kemba prides itself on making the sale of ducks as easy for the buyer as possible. At Kemba, duck sales close on the Friday preceding the Rubber Duck Regatta and Kemba puts its finishing touch on the event by sending the Freestore Foodbank a complete list of duck entrants with other details almost immediately after sales close. “We are proud of the level of transparency and efficiency we have brought to the process,” Szaz observes. “And we know the process works because a few years ago, one of the ducks we sold won the car! Another year one of our members won the $5,200 gift certificate from Kroger and recently a member won a $500 cash prize.”
Kemba cherishes the unique opportunity to raise awareness about childhood hunger in the community. “We were brought into this most worthy event by Bob Edwards many years ago and we have enjoyed every bit of the experience ever since,” remarks Szaz. “It is a privilege to support the Freestore Foodbank because we believe in their mission. Hunger is not about to go away or take a break. So we need to be diligent in our efforts to combat it, so that our children can stay healthy.” Kemba is in the middle of another busy duck season this year and we cannot wait to see the results. To purchase your own duck, feel free to visit one of eleven local Kemba branches or click here.