"We've been in Wilmington for 186 years, this month. In fact, we were founded the same week as the City of Wilmington, from a corporate perspective. We were both incorporated in the same week. "
– Mark Turner, CEO, WSFS
Why We Lead
WSFS is a community bank, founded in Wilmington in 1831 and for 186 years providing for the banking needs of Wilmington consumers, small businesses and large businesses through deposit products, loans and other services. We are an organization with a strong culture that embraces integrity, transparency, ingenuity, collaboration and diversity. We respect and care deeply for our Customers, Owners, Communities and our Associates. Our mission, “We Stand for Service” is our daily call to action. When you stand for service, you seek opportunities to serve.
How do you get to be over 180 years old in a world that's constantly changing? For us, the answer has always been the same: create a team of Associates who are passionate about serving the community, and success will follow. Our Mission and Values serve as essential reminders about who we are and how we do business. We Stand for Service® is our mission and our daily call to action. Since 1832, WSFS has been a service-oriented, locally managed community banking institution serving Delaware Valley families and businesses of all sizes. We strive to meet our Customers’ ever-changing banking needs and promise to exceed their expectations each and every day. As we serve, we strengthen, and as we strengthen, we have more opportunities to serve. It’s a virtuous cycle that enriches our organization and our community.
WSFS believes that leadership and commitment will be the way that Wilmington moves toward a more dynamic future. We foster leadership and growth internally, from CEO to Branch personnel we provide leadership in local initiatives and local nonprofits that create positive change in Wilmington. Leadership includes Board positions on nonprofit organizational boards, and Committee work. Every one of our Executive Management team serves in a leadership capacity on various local Boards. A majority of our Senior Level Management team serves in the same capacity or is involved on a non-profit committee or in a volunteer role.
WSFS also believes in helping to educate and empower new leaders through education and mentoring. A large focus of leadership in Wilmington has blossomed through the growth in workforce development programs such as IT Works, ZipCode Wilmington and Teen Sharp.
IT Works offers technology-focused workforce development to people 18 to 26, who are out of school, out of work and without a college degree. This program helps to educate and create career opportunities for Wilmington residents like WSFS very own Aundre Chambers. Aundre earned his education in Information Technology from the IT Works program, which helped him to find his role at WSFS as a Service Desk Analyst. Aundre has been named an IT Alumni Ambassador for IT Works in 2018.
Our purpose is we stand for service, and service in every realm. When you stand for service, you seek opportunities to serve.
Most of the members of our board are from the local communities we serve. They understand the value of a community-based organization in doing these things, not in only our basic business model but above and beyond our basic business model to make our communities strong.
It’s been very important that we continue to have a pipeline of talented technology people, who we can, then, continue to bring into our company, further invest in them, allow them to continue to develop, and have them, as we hope, for a good part of their career and help us advance what we’re doing in the realm of technology.
We look for opportunities to bring people into the company, who wouldn’t have, necessarily, had that opportunity somewhere else, and/or had worked elsewhere and choose us to be their next, and hopefully, final employer. We want that for those people and we want that for us. People are the cornerstone of our strategy. Everything we do starts with, runs through, evolves through, and it’s all a part of our people. Everything stems back there and grows from there.
Our commitment is to our community. A major focus for WSFS and WLA is education. The WSFS Foundation was founded in 2003 with Skip Schoenhals at that time leading the organization. It was very important to him that education in the State of Delaware was focused. He felt that WSFS as a community bank could help to affect change, especially from the standpoint of public policy.
The Education Foundation was established and funded from the corporation and has tried to serve in that realm of affecting things to happen in the education space that will make significant and impactful changes in the state. Now as we have expanded our footprint in all of the areas that was this state.
The WSFS Education Foundation provides grants for educational programs that demonstrate innovation and success in K-12 public schools. Our largest grant to-date from the WSFS Foundation was granted to Teach For America’s “Lead for Delaware” Initiative. In addition to funding, CEO Mark Turner serves on the Lead for Delaware Advisory Board.
Other Educational Initiatives that WSFS supports:
- Summer Collaborative
- The Delaware Restaurant Associations Pro-Start high school culinary/hospitality curriculum
In 2017, Teen Sharp received a grant from the WSFS Foundation in the amount of $50,000 in support of the College Access Ambassador Program (CAAT) designed for 9th -12th grade students in Delaware.
These funds were used to engage students in academic success skills building through intense college-readiness seminars. The opportunity to be prepared for acceptance at some of the nation’s top tier colleges and universities that this program is affording talented students of color is a worthy one.
The intended goal is to accelerate the student’s academic proficiencies, college readiness, and connections to premier leadership opportunities, in addition to their training as peer ambassadors of higher education within the communities they live.
In 2018, the WSFS Foundation will receive an additional $1.5 MM from WSFS Bank for future grant investments in the community.
There are some great organizations that we have tapped into, IT Works & ZipCode are a variety of really impassioned people around technology. The level of intellect and talent among these students who have such a passion for technology, is remarkable.
Safety and Livability
Safety is a key core area that must be addressed in order for Wilmington to move forward. A safe city will come with living wage jobs, revitalization of blighted areas, re-use of vacant properties, increased homeownership and financial stability, and available housing that is affordable to workers of all income levels. To address these issues, our organization is involved in many local initiatives including:
o Providing Technical Assistance and funding to key community development initiatives that focus on improving neighborhoods suffering from blight and disinvestment including:
⦁ West Side Grows
⦁ East Side Rising
⦁ Northeast Wilmington Blueprint Community
o Using Federal Home Loan Bank Program to sponsor successful nonprofit applications for affordable housing subsidies to organizations including:
⦁ Central Baptist CDC 4
⦁ Be Ready CDC
⦁ Habitat for Humanity of NCC
Wilmington Leaders Alliance Announces Partnership with Wilmington Renaissance Corp to Create the Wilmington Alliance
Connect with WSFS
Use the #WLAGrowth and #Wilmovation on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!