When Citi opened its call center in Florence, it was to function as a service center for the company’s primary North American consumer banking products. But, the leading global bank, with more than 200 million customer accounts across 160 countries, wanted to be more than just a source of jobs and tax revenue to the Northern Kentucky region.

Citi also has made a concerted effort to integrate itself into the local community.

“At all of our Citi sites, we work to make a positive difference in the community,” says Janis Tarter, Citi senior vice president. “From our site in Northern Kentucky, we support more than 35 community organizations on both sides of the Ohio River.”

Citi, which now has approximately 2,300 employees in Florence (259,000 globally), supports the United Way, March of Dimes, Vision 2015, the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati, Success by 6 and Children, Inc. Over the past 12 months, Citi has committed more than $700,000 in financial contributions to the surrounding community, half of which are donations from Citi employees who’ve devoted more than 16,000 hours of volunteer work.

Despite its expansive global reach, Citigroup, which reported second quarter earnings of $1.34 per share and revenues of $20.5 billion, remains community focused. One example is the Future Focus Program, which was created to provide an opportunity for local high school students to gain employment at Citi after graduation and pursue higher education with help from Citi’s tuition assistance program.

“It also helps Citi to build a diverse business culture and to create additional pipelines to hire talented employees,” says Tarter.

Future Focus is a key part of Citi’s education strategy. “Future Focus was designed to provide students with a broad range of job skills training and to encourage continuous education,” says Tina Shell, Citi’s Florence site president. “We see this as our opportunity to build our future workforce and recruit loyal employees who will continue their educational track and go on to become leaders within our organization and our community.”

The Citi Foundation recently approved a $150,000 grant to fund Citi L.I.F.E (Leaders Investing in Financial Education), a program in which Citi employees help teach financial education to fourth grade students. The goal of Citi L.I.F.E. is to increase student knowledge of basic personal finance and economics concepts and improve assessment scores in social studies.

“Targeting children with basic economic education is an opportunity to introduce fundamental economic concepts such as productivity, supply, demand, markets, money and investment,” says Jan Mester, president of the Kentucky Council on Economic Education, which helps support the L.I.F.E program.

The two-hour L.I.F.E class teaches kids about goods and services, buying and selling in a marketplace and giving back to the community. The instructors administer a test to evaluate the students’ understanding of the vocabulary. Citi’s Florence location has added some private label credit card work over the past several months, and the company expects to see an increase in hiring there over the next few months.