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Robin Scott - Northland Banking Center Manager

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It takes a village to raise a child – but, sometimes, a child can inspire you to take care of a village. That’s what happened with Robin Scott, Northland Banking Center Manager with First Merchants Bank, when her daughter, Charnae, was just four years old.

“At four years old – she hadn’t even entered kindergarten – my daughter developed a passion for feeding the homeless,” Robin recalled. “She’d say, ‘I want to start a business to feed the homeless.’ And she wanted to give money to every person we passed.”

Her sincerity and passion inspired Robin to roll up her sleeves and get involved in volunteerism and advocacy in her community.

“I want to, as a parent, lead by example,” Robin said. “When your kid brings something like that to your attention and lays it in your lap – do you have a choice? If she’s telling me that these are things that she sees, that she thinks are important, that she wants to do – I didn’t know how I could say no and not get involved myself.”

Of course, Robin was no stranger to advocacy work – her grandfather was a long-time minister in the state of Ohio, and had marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in support of civil rights. And Robin has served as a foster parent for nearly 15 years. But she credits her daughter with inspiring her to work for community-wide change.

“Before my daughter’s passion for the homeless, I worked to create change one-on-one – that was my way of giving back to the community” Robin explained. “But she made me look at how I could give back on a broader scale. She made me see the bigger picture, and the ways I could help more than just one or two people at a time. It made a big impact on me – I owe it all to her.”

Now, Robin brings that determination to the Northland neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio – which is in the midst of revitalization. When Northland was selected as the home of a future banking center, Robin worked to find out how First Merchants could best support the community.

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She spoke to community leaders to learn what services the community needed, joined the board of local organizations like Elevate Northland, and decorated the banking center with art by local students.

“I thought it would be important for those families to come in and see their children’s artwork displayed,” she explained. “It lets them know that we’re not just talking about being a part of the community – I want us to be woven into the fabric of this community.”

Robin is also working to arrange financial education in schools and for certain groups.

“Financial education is hugely important to the health of a community,” she said. “It’s one thing that’s going to help the community prosper – not just from a business perspective; I think it shows that they are important to us, not just as customers, but as human beings.”

Robin is also connecting with local community gardens and is leading a First Merchants’ build team partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build a family home in the Northland neighborhood.

For those thinking about how they can give back, Robin’s advice is simple:

“Just do it,” she said. “Find where your passion is and start there.”

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First Merchants Bank’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility compels us to invest in our communities by finding ways to reduce inequalities, improve the quality of our neighborhoods, and promote positive economic mobility through our five community pillars: Employee Empowerment; Community Investments and Charitable Giving; Financial Wellness; Community Home Lending; and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This series features First Merchants teammates who embody the spirit and impact of the company’s Vision: “to enhance the financial wellness of the diverse communities we serve.”