More than 80 colleagues in 14 communities across Associated Bank’s footprint recently participated in various events to support the March of Dimes “March for Babies” fundraiser.

Colleagues in Green Bay, Wausau, Rockford, Chicago and Stevens Point hosted casual dress days and other fundraising events like bake sales and raffles to raise money for the March of Dimes. Stevens Point colleagues even came up with a unique “purple hair extension” activity to reflect the March of Dime’s signature purple color scheme.

Heather Wynne at the Stevens Point Service Center shared her personal story with co-workers to help raise awareness for the cause. “The walk was even more meaningful to me this year, because my first great-nephew was born prematurely,” Wynne said.

Sarah Schwarten, Green Bay Associated Center, led efforts to coordinate Green Bay office events, which included assembling a team of 23 walkers. She has been involved with March of Dimes for 10 years and serves on the Board of Directors for Wisconsin’s North Division.

March of Dimes’ objective has evolved over the years from finding a cure for polio to ensuring healthy pregnancies and babies. The organization also provides grants to researchers working to understand birth defects and premature birth and to find treatments and solutions.

Many of the Associated colleagues have personal experience with the assistance March of Dimes provides. In 2004, Stephanie Ysquierdo’s son needed multiple surgeries over four months. The family needed a special car seat and stroller to transport him. March of Dimes helped pay for the equipment and put the family in touch with support groups for special needs children.

“It was amazing to see the March of Dimes volunteers reach out to other families in the hospital during their stay,” Ysquierdo said. She added that they were wonderful with the children — those who were receiving treatment and also their big brothers and sisters, explaining why their sibling was receiving care.

More than $16,500 was raised during the Associated 2013 March for Babies campaign. Schwarten’s goal is to continue raising awareness for the organization, now in its 75th year, and increase total donations to $20,000 next year.

Working together to raise funds for a worthy cause promotes collaboration. “Taking part in these volunteer opportunities with our co-workers gives us the chance to connect outside of the workplace,” Schwarten said. “And it’s great for building strong relationships.”

Associated Bank colleagues in Chicago participated in the March of Dime’s “March for Babies” walk on April 28, 2013. From left: Elizabeth Segura (and daughter Kaylie), Deana Morales and Cierra Williams (and son Octavius).