Community Spirit Award

Honoring outstanding individuals that have shown great commitment to their communities.

Celebrating dedication to community

The Community Spirit Award honors an outstanding individual at one of our member financial institutions in Indiana and Michigan who has shown a commitment to improving their community through vital partnerships. These individuals are advocates for their communities and work hard to help create diverse, equitable and inclusive communities. In addition to the recognition, FHLBank Indianapolis makes a donation in the recipient's honor to a nonprofit organization or charity of their choice.

Nominate Someone for the Community Spirit Awards

Help us recognize someone at our member financial institutions who exemplifies excellence in any of these areas, regardless if they have participated in any grant program from FHLBank Indianapolis:

  • Affordable Housing – exceptional effort to increase or strengthen affordable housing opportunities or partnerships in their community (e.g., single or multi-family projects, unique housing strategies or partnerships, involvement in AHP or Homeownership Initiatives)
  • Economic Development – exceptional effort to foster economic development in their communities through supporting unique projects or partnerships (e.g., small business, business growth, involvement with CIP or Elevate)
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – exceptional dedication to advancing the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion within their financial institution or community (e.g., internal DEI initiatives or programs or external partnerships)
  • Emerging Leader – exceptional emerging leader in building diverse, equitable and inclusive environments within the financial institution or within their community (e.g., Demonstrate initiative, deliver remarkable results and go above and beyond to serve their community)

 See past recipients

2023 Spirit Award Winners

SusanRSusan Ruch

Small Business Lender | The Farmers Bank | Frankfort, IN

2023 Community Spirit Award Winner, Indiana

Susan Ruch, Small Business Lender at The Farmers Bank in Frankfort, Ind., received the 2023 Community Spirit Award for Indiana. Susan was nominated for her excellence in affordable housing, economic development and as an emerging leader. Through her leadership, The Farmers Bank has participated in several FHLBank Indianapolis grant programs including the Accessibility Modification Program, Neighborhood Impact Program, Elevate Small Business Grant and the Affordable Housing Program which has brought a total of $1.5M to her local community. Susan leads the Mentorship Program at the Farmers Bank – a six-month program, currently in its 3rd cohort – with the most participants yet. As part of the cohort, Susan helped lead the team to propose a process for helping employees build a career portfolio to have a visual of how the employee has progressed over the years. Susan is one of the first to volunteer for any community activity the bank may sponsor. When she sees a need in the community, she harnesses resources both internally and externally to the bank to help the family, organization or effort. Community Development is her passion and she shares that joyfully with others.

MichelleLMichelle LaClair-Ziembo

HR Manager | United Bay Community Credit Union | Bay City, MI

2023 Community Spirit Award Winner, Michigan

Michelle LaClair-Ziembo, HR Manager, at United Bay Community Credit Union in Bay City, Mich., received the FHLBank Indianapolis 2023 Community Spirit Award for Michigan. Michelle was nominated for her excellence in promoting a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture and as an emerging leader at United Bay and throughout the community. Michelle’s efforts have added programs that impact United Bay members and employees. She led a 12-month program that earned a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging & Accessibility (DEIBA) certification. The program included policy review, intense social discussions, interviews and ongoing education, with metrics tied to a viable DEIBA plan. She also created Employee Resource Groups, led community partnerships with minority-owned businesses, launched wellness and new benefits programs, and inspired numerous volunteer activities. She was also instrumental in promoting forward-thinking, positive messaging for staff that resulted in a Top Places to Work win in 2022, and Top Culture awards in 2021 and 2022. Michelle’s leadership has transformed the United Bay’s culture into one that is truly invested in the communities they serve.