Kennebunk Savings was honored to participate in Maine’s 3rd Annual Opioid Response Summit, leading a discussion on Recovery Friendly Workplaces and stigma reduction.  The Annual Opioid Response Summit, initiated by Governor Mills’ administration, is part of Maine’s commitment to addressing Substance Use Disorder (SUD). The Summit convenes leaders from across the state to share ideas, strategies, and best practices to help Maine people and families affected by this public health crisis.

Bank President and CEO Bradford C. Paige moderated a panel that included John Burns, Director of SOS Recovery Community Organization and Shannon Bresaw, Program Director of Recovery Friendly Workplace in New Hampshire.

“It might seem a little unusual – a bank presenting at an Opioid Response Summit – but it’s not unusual to us,” said Liz Torrance, Social Responsibility Manager at Kennebunk Savings. “We’ve always had a strong sense of responsibility to our community. As a mutual bank, doing the right thing for our neighbors is at the core of our company culture.”

In fact, the Bank’s Spotlight Fund which is part of their overarching Community Promise giving program, is designed to  identify societal issues affecting the members of its communities and make a concentrated commitment to direct resources to address those issues. The Spotlight Fund proactively seeks out nonprofits in Maine and New Hampshire focused on its targeted cause, helping them expand on their great work and providing public awareness on the issue. For the last 3 years, the Spotlight fund focused on SUD and recovery, allowing the bank to gain a strong sense of the issues surrounding SUD and providing them with an opportunity to connect with invaluable experts in the field. Becoming a designated Recovery Friendly Workplace was a logical progression of that work.

The Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW) designation is a New Hampshire-based initiative started by Governor Sununu’s office and is intended to support employers encouraging wellness and recovery from substance use disorder (SUD) among their employees and their loved ones.

“Becoming RFW-certified was important to us,” said Paige. “We wanted to acknowledge that this affects us all – and to turn inward and bring our vocal support for the recovery community home.”

In addition to donating over $400,000 to nonprofits working to aid in substance use disorder prevention and recovery in our communities, the bank has taken action. They have used their social media reach to share public information campaigns about stigmatizing language and overdose awareness, and leveraged their branch network to distribute Deterra bags free of charge – the bags deactivate unused prescription medication safely and easily at home, keeping them from getting into the wrong hands.

“We were very proud to present this year,” Paige said. “2021 happens to be our 150th anniversary. And the significance of a longtime community financial institution participating in the Opioid Response Summit hopefully demonstrates to our friends and neighbors affected by problematic substance use that the entire community is here for them. And while it is true that a business incorporating recovery supports is in fact, good for business – it leads to a healthier, more engaged, and retained workforce—but I want to be clear that we’d be doing this regardless. It’s a moral decision for us – and an easy one to make, I would add.”