Five Years Later: PNC Fairfax Connection is a Thriving Model for Community-Corporate Partnership

Posted October 17, 2017

corporate engagement

Five years ago, the PNC Fairfax Connection—an innovative new place for community engagement—opened its doors. What had been a non-descript building housing a dry cleaners and a pizza shop in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood was transformed into a thriving community resource center where neighborhood residents can sharpen their work and life skills. In the past 18 months alone, almost 80 members have gained employment with the help of the center.

The PNC Fairfax Connection is unlike any other service offered by a bank. Designed with the community rather than for the community, ESI Design and PNC created an adaptable model for community engagement and empowerment. Based on weeks of meetings with the neighborhood’s cultural, educational and faith-based organizations, ESI developed the interior design and interactive media for the center, as well as programming that directly addresses the community’s needs. The center acts as a social gathering space for the neighborhood and beyond, boasting 16,000 visitors in 2016 alone and over 6,000 members. The constantly evolving programming features 30 different programs, including: financial and technological literacy classes, healthy cooking classes for kids, college prep, and more.

The experience design of the center is key to the overall success: visitors get RFID fobs that identify them and prompt a greeting from the entrance screen, the center features state of the art digital production equipment and a giant touchscreen used for everything from live streaming to displaying a Google map that tells the ever-expanding story of the neighborhood. Paul Clark, PNC Regional President, says of the map and its custom Fairfax layer:

“You can touch on a house and then write a story about, ‘This is where I grew up.’ You can attach your favorite pictures, your family members, your favorite people, pictures of your senior prom at a local hotel, your favorite recipes, whatever it may be.”

Watch the PNC Fairfax Connection and its members in action:

Want to learn more about the PNC Fairfax Connection and community-corporate partnership?

On October 17th, 2017, ESI Design’s Gideon D’Arcangelo will be speaking about this project on the “Power of Audiovisual Experiences in Banking” panel at the American Bankers Association’s Annual Convention in Chicago. We’d love to see you there!

Olivia El-Sadr Davis

Olivia is a former member of ESI Design’s Marketing and Business Development Team, blogging about the latest happenings at ESI and beyond.

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