Her role at Adelante was just part of a multi-faceted role Ms. Ewing has played in her community relations efforts while at the bank.
“Meeting so many people and being able to make a difference,” she said have been the best aspects of her job. “I think I had an opportunity to work directly with people. I had an opportunity to help people get dollars to start businesses, to help people improve their credit score, to establish budgets, to stabilize their families, to be able to help people to purchase homes, achieve their personal and professional goals. I had an opportunity to cross all lines and all age groups. That’s very meaningful.”
One of the most significant ways Ms. Ewing helped the Latino community is making sure the “eBus” made several stops in the Old South End each year when it came to Toledo.
That mobile financial services center taught many Latino families financial literacy skills.
“We tried to find a different location each year and worked with groups like the Sofia Quintero Center, the alliance group and the advisory group there,” she explained. “We worked with the youth going way back, talking about dressing for success and mentoring and the importance of establishing personal and professional goals in terms of education and being able to manage your money. We established that foundation and did it before it became popularly recognized what money means to a family.”
But under Ms. Ewing’s stewardship, many immigrant families overcame their mistrust of the US-American banking system after bad experiences in Mexico.
Many of those families had to learn how to trust the financial services industry again—a large reason the unbanked and under-banked carried large sums of cash and why the Nueva Esperanza Community Credit Union was established.
“I appreciate my brown brothers, I truly do,” she said. “I mean that with affection and the utmost respect. I know I made a difference in their lives. There are many small businesses that are now large businesses and strong and prosperous that we spent time and coached and counseled.”
Ms. Ewing also helped to establish a relationship between Fifth Third Bank and L. Hollingsworth School in East Toledo. She stated that next academic year the bank will help the school to establish a “Young Bankers Club” among fifth graders as a way to teach them about financial literacy.
Ms. Ewing believes her community work will continue, even beyond her retirement. She is hoping she leaves a strong, positive legacy within the Latino community and among other parts of the city she loves.
“I hope people remember how sincere I was. I gave of my time, talent, and sometimes my own personal money to help programs and people,” she said. “I hope and know that the people who come behind me care as much as I did.”
Even in retirement, Ms. Ewing plans to stay busy. She will become the vice chairman of the United Way of Greater Toledo board of directors this fall and “continue to be an ambassador” for the causes she has helped over the years. She also will focus on trying to help her family’s commercial cleaning business to grow.
Ms. Ewing was recently named as one of the seven recipients of this year’s Milestones for Women award presented annually by the YWCA. She and the others will be honored at a charity luncheon next month.
“That is awesome. I cried. I laughed. I’m so honored, so honored and touched by this recognition,” she said. “That truly is the icing on the cake.”
In an email to community partners, Robert LaClair, Fifth Third Bank’s regional president called her “an asset to this community” who will be missed. But the bank honored Ms. Ewing’s wishes to not throw a retirement party or a farewell celebration.
“My 28 years has been a party, because I truly enjoyed the opportunity to work in human resources and the community every day,” she said. “What I did was ask the bank to make a contribution in memory of my late husband and they graciously honored me with that.”
That donation went to the American Heart Association. Ms. Ewing explained her husband Tillis Leroy Ewing II died about 15 years ago from a heart attack related to diabetes.