By: Tom Whooley
Vice President, Commercial Lending
One of Justin Gensler’s favorite quotes is “You don’t need money to help others; you need a heart to help others.”
“I always try to live by that,” he said. “It can be easy to think that basic needs like food, water and a roof over our heads are guaranteed for everyone, and this just simply isn’t the case.”
Justin, VP of mortgage lending for INB’s Champaign branch, has long been committed to improving his community through service, and his most recent effort is no exception.
Justin became familiar with the work of the Eastern Illinois Foodbank after his wife, Breanna, worked there and was impressed with the organization and its mission. Once he became aware of the needs in his community, he was inspired to do more.
“It wasn’t until recently I learned how many kids didn’t have access to food when they were hungry,” he said. “I hope to raise awareness for the great work the Eastern Illinois Foodbank does, not just for Champaign but for the 18 counties surrounding it. Most people don’t know that Champaign County has a higher poverty rate than Cook County, and 1 out of 7 people in our local communities struggle with hunger.
“Just imagine kids trying to learn with an empty stomach. It’s a basic privilege most of us take for granted.”
Justin jumped at the chance to participate in a major fundraiser for the food bank, called Prom for Adults. The annual event, which takes place on March 10 this year, hosts a Prom Court with five King candidates and five Queen candidates who fundraise their way to the crown. Each dollar raised is a vote counted for the candidate.
“Everyone dresses up in their desired attire; you see everything from formal tuxes and gowns, to the orange and blue Dumb and Dumber tuxes, all the way to 1980s gowns,” Justin said. “Everyone just has fun with it! This year, there is a casino theme with black jack, craps and other games, so it’s sure to be entertaining.”
Justin is grateful to the way that INB supports its employees as they pursue service projects and work to give back to the community. INB not only gives staff the autonomy and encouragement to serve on nonprofit boards and participate in fundraisers, but also organizes employee service opportunities.
Justin has been involved with numerous nonprofit efforts over the years, including an annual fundraiser he helps to organize in memory of his high school friend.
“I believe that people make time for what they want to make time for. I’ve been blessed with a great career with a great company that allows us to give back,” Justin said. “More than anything with this event, I hope to raise awareness to others that it’s not hard to donate your time to your community; you just simply have to want to do it.”
Justin’s NMLS number is 611367.