Jeff McDonough became the new executive vice president of human resources and community relations at Union Savings Bank of Danbury on April 14. McDonough, who joined Union Savings in 2016 as senior vice president, will also join the bank’s executive committee and continue to serve as a member. of the bank’s board of directors.
McDonough, who was vice president of human resources at Health Quest before joining the bank, said he was particularly excited about continuing his work with the Union Savings Bank Foundation, which recently reassessed its approach to better serve the community.
“The pandemic has pivoted us a bit in terms of running the foundation,” McDonough said. “We have an annual grant process that was in the middle of the year with grants awarded towards the end of the year. During the pandemic, we quickly realized that there were a lot of our community partners struggling, so what we did was expedite the foundation grant process, so we brought it forward a year. approximately.
“We’re actually in the middle of our grant process right now, which ended on May 1.” “The idea is that we can get that money to our community partners much sooner to support them in their endeavors and the different areas in which they support the community and their customers.”
McDonough said the foundation continued to provide support throughout Fairfield County and in sections of Litchfield County where Union Savings has branches. In addition to restructuring the timeline and process to better meet the current needs of community organizations, McDonough said he oversaw an effort to make fewer but larger grants through the foundation.
“Over the past few years, we’ve worked to give organizations more meaningful awards so they really have more impact on what they do,” McDonough explained. “The awards we give are more substantial than they have been in the past to individual organizations because we felt that when we see a grant application coming in, we would really prefer to look at the grant holistically. and see how it will impact the entire organization.
The result, McDonough said, was that the foundation “probably gives fewer grants to fewer organizations each year, but with larger awards given to those organizations so we can have a more meaningful impact.”
In addition to grants provided through the foundation, McDonough was also proud of the Union Savings Bank Teachers’ Closet, a program that provides teachers with free school supplies to use in classrooms or to outfit their students. The latest development includes a “mobile closet,” which brings a van with supplies directly to schools.
“We had the teachers come to where we brought the van with what they had on their wishlist and we literally filled their wishlists right in front of them. It’s very convenient for them and the teachers really appreciate it,” McDonough said.
McDonough said he is also committed to ensuring Union Savings Bank employees are fully onboarded and trained through a series of programs he has implemented. He was particularly excited about a 12-month program where employees have the opportunity to work for a short time in different sections of the company. At the end of this period, they sit down with a manager and discuss what is best for them, both for themselves and for the good of the bank. According to McDonough, this program has produced excellent results, even compared to traditional management programs.
Human resources had been McDonough’s career passion since pursuing a business degree at the State University of New York at Oswego, and he started in the field immediately after graduating.
“I would say probably within the first 30 days I decided that was my calling,” he said. “Most people would like to live in a black and white world where everything is very clear and regulated, very orderly, but when you work in HR the whole world is gray and your whole day is gray. I really enjoyed this aspect. There is always a different challenge and always an opportunity to provide support and guidance to people in the organization.