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A Family Philosophy of Greater Generosity

June 7, 2019

Five generations of the Thomson family have called Cresco, Iowa home, and all five generations have been part of leading the family business, CUSB Bank, with a philosophy focused on community. 


“My family has always been very philanthropic with the community because we felt the bank only does as well as the community does, so it was our responsibility to give back our time, talents, and of our monetary abilities,” said Scott Thomson, President of CUSB Bank. “It’s been an important generational philosophy of our family.”


Scott and his wife Stephanie have lived their life by this philosophy, volunteering for organizations, leading community projects, and treating their bank employees like family. These are all a way of life Scott learned from his dad, Jack, whose example of leadership in business and community inspires the couple. It also prompted a conversation to ensure his legacy would be carried out the way he wanted after he was gone.


“Two years before he died, we sat down and talked about the fact that I was very fortunate to be born into a community-minded banking family,” said Scott. “I just said to him I don’t want your money. I don’t want your stocks or your bonds. Together my dad and I agreed we could put it to work in the communities we serve.”


Scott and Stephanie are now honoring Scott’s father’s wishes. One of the organizations Jack wanted to support was the Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools Foundation. So, in December of 2018, Scott and Stephanie hand-delivered a check for $100,000 to the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa offices for the Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools Foundation Fund, held with CFNEIA, in honor and memory of Jack.


“It’s so important for us to have a school in our community. With all the budget cuts to education, there isn’t a budget for the extra experiences. The Schools Foundation is able to help teachers get needed supplies, IT hardware and software, and furniture and furnishings for the classroom that enhance the student learning experience,” said Stephanie.


Scott, who serves as president of the Howard-Winneshiek Schools Foundation, added, “We’re looking at this long-term and trying to build the fund by leading by example and asking people to follow.”


The long-term outlook of the Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools Foundation Fund, the benefit of the Endow Iowa 25% state tax credit to donors of the fund, and the Foundation’s rate of return are some of the reasons Scott values the Community Foundation. 


“By investing in the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa long-term, we’re making a bet on our community that we’re going to be here in the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years and we’re going to have a school. We think it’s a good bet, and the money is in a good place,” said Scott.


Scott and Stephanie believe in Cresco and work as business owners, employers, and community members to strengthen the town of around 3,800 residents. It’s a family legacy of treating the community like family.


“That’s what makes our community great, people with the ability or good fortune to give back however they can. It makes us feel good that we are doing our part for the community,” said Scott. “I want to make sure local organizations keep thriving after I’m gone. They are all important pieces of our community and what makes our community so great.”