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Trailblazers 2022 Honoree: Wintrust


Wintrust, founded in 1991 in the northern suburbs of Chicago, is a leader in the community-banking industry. Wintrust operates fifteen community bank subsidiaries, with over 170 banking locations located in the greater Chicago and southern Wisconsin market areas. In 2019, Crain’s Business named Wintrust the 4th largest bank in Chicago by deposits. They use their resources to leverage and allow these local community banks to stay true to who they are. By working with Wintrust, one receives all of the perks of a big corporate bank, but the benefit of community banking culture, which is very special.

Despite growing substantially within the last 25+ years, Wintrust has maintained their culture and relationship-centric approach with their clients. They are a community bank at heart. Wintrust strives to understand the scope of our mission, work and programs to the fullest extent.

Here at Search, our relationship started with Wintrust over 12 years ago through a relationship with the Managing Director of Government, Nonprofit, Healthcare Banking, Kandace Lenti.  Kandace is now a Search Board Member as of January 2022. For these 12 years, Wintrust has helped fuel Search’s growth by being a partner in solving business programs that allowed us to grow and prosper with our goals for the future.

From the debt crisis of 2008 to our recent financial crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic, to their assistance with applying for the PPP loan, Wintrust has helped Search navigate these troubling times with comfort and confidence. That’s when you need a bank like Wintrust – a bank that you can trust and feel confident in while we focus on our mission and programs for those we serve.

Additionally, in 2021, we were honored to have the Wintrust Mural on I-90/94 during the months of April/May. The theme of this mural connected to our 2021 Trailblazers event, Creating Inclusive Communities – Piece by Piece. The design featured a quilt-like look made up of patches in a variety of colors and imagery. These patches represented the impact collaboration can have on a community, specifically our Search community. Some patches were imagery from our very own Visibility Arts artists and some were photos from of Search participants. The mural also featured powerful words that related to our mission and values, such as advocacy, inclusion and empowerment. Overall, every piece on this work of art was stitched together by a shared vision: the creation of an inclusive community for people with disabilities.

For their relationship-centric approach to banking and for having a strong and positive financial impact on our work, we are thrilled to honor Wintrust with our 2022 Trailblazers Award.

Learn more about Trailblazers 2022 here.

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