Aligning Purpose, Passion, and Personal Impact with PNC Banker Andrew Perrin

Community engagement at PNC means more than donating money — it gives team members a reason to stay, grow, and flourish.
Andrew Perrin with Children outside at the Early Learning Center

There’s something special about seeing the impact of your efforts firsthand. Maybe it’s the physical nature of getting out there and doing something. Or perhaps it’s the response to the stunning “after” that’s a stark contrast to the disheveled “before.” Often these feelings of satisfaction are reserved for home improvement projects, volunteering, or multi-year business dealings reserved for a select few. However, Andrew Perrin might tell you that he and his PNC colleagues have access to feeling part of something bigger than yourself more easily and often than you’d expect.

Andrew reading to kids in classroom with his 20th Anniversary shirt
Andrew reading to kids in a classroom

It’s a Wednesday morning in April, a typical workday, and instead of a crisp collared shirt, the senior vice president and market leader for PNC’s Treasury Management Group in the Midwest dons a bold blue T-shirt emblazoned with four words that represent so much of what’s kept him inspired and engaged during his 19-year tenure: PNC Grow Up Great. He’s not heading for the office this morning; Andrew’s starting his day reading to students in celebration of the initiative’s 20th anniversary and $10.2MM investment in 2024.


On the surface, PNC Grow Up Great is a snappy naming convention that scratches the corner of the brain that loves alliteration, but the initiative’s impact calls to the forefront something every child deserves—to grow up supported, loved, nurtured and with the foundational skills to do and be anything they want to be. Established 20 years ago by the PNC Foundation, Grow Up Great first set out to help prepare children from birth through age 5 for success in school and life. Today, PNC’s $500MM investment in supporting programs, providing resources and delivering experiences has done more than advance the well-being of children; PNC Grow Up Great has helped drive generational change at home and work.

For team members like Andrew, it’s been the opportunity of a lifetime and has led to a greater understanding of issues impacting the community and the workplace.

“If parents don’t have quality care, they can’t be invested in the workforce,” Andrew says.


The childcare drought and widespread lack of affordable childcare isn’t just a national headline; it’s a local reality. According to data from Early Learning Indiana, the annual cost of care for one child in Indiana comes in at $9,000- nearly the same as the cost of one year of in-state tuition at an Indiana college. And if affording care wasn’t bad enough, finding it is almost worse: Four out of 10 Hoosier kids live in areas with room for only one child out of every three. In these areas, parents are practically forced to exit the workforce or make concessions on hours worked, juggle multiple shifts, or piece together enough care to scrape by.

During the pandemic, access to childcare got even worse, with many centers shutting down. While many people made do by working from home while caring for children, front-line workers didn’t have that luxury.

“Studies show that 90% of brain development is done by age 5, which makes a critical case for investing in early education,” adds Andrew. “There’s a great return for investing in it.”

An investment in early learning today is shown to have a two-generational impact on children and families. With systemic barriers blocking access to care, rates that surpass budgets, and quality in question, initiatives like PNC Grow Up Great are critical to democratizing access to care, advocating for policy changes, and supporting educators directly. In this year’s commitment, PNC Grow Up Great announced a $5MM extension of its support to DonorsChoose, bringing its total support to $20MM since 2017. This education nonprofit connects individual donors with public school classrooms; on April 4, PNC Foundation flash-funded all pre-K and Head Start teacher requests centered on outdoor play and learning, which is at the center of this year’s focus.


Children’s engagement in outdoor play is on a concerning downslide. In 2021, the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) found that 28% of children ages 3-5 play outside less than once a day. As of 2023, that number has nearly doubled, with 49% of kids during their prime brain development years forgoing outdoor play. While some indoor play might involve arts, crafts, and music, a significant amount of time is spent in front of a screen.

The act of play is critical to a child’s brain development, social skills, and potential academic success. And playing outside facilitates unique opportunities for creativity, problem-solving and relationship-building that sitting in front of a screen never could. By focusing this year’s grants and DonorsChoose funding toward programs and initiatives related to outdoor play and learning, including a $5.2MM grant pool dedicated to creating or upgrading nature-based outdoor play and learning environments across PNC markets, PNC Grow Up Great’s work over the last 19 years will continue to be reinforced through spaces that can help spark children’s natural sense of wonder and curiosity.


Andrew Perrin outside Day Early Learning center
PNC 1 millionth volunteer hour

Increasingly, employees want more from their employers than pay and benefits—they want to know they’re a part of something more. At PNC, employees are empowered to get involved, and they receive up to 40 hours of paid volunteer time annually to support early childhood education initiatives.

“When I started at PNC, I wasn’t intending to stay in banking for a career. But I was interested in how we put our money where our mouth is. If we channel a good chunk of it, you can make a meaningful impact. I can have a meaningful personal impact,” adds Andrew.

Making a meaningful personal impact isn’t the half of it. Andrew has volunteered with PNC Grow Up Great since the early days and has been on the board for Early Learning Indiana for almost a decade.

“When I started this, my own children were toddlers and I wanted to ensure other kids were supported,” says Andrew. “It impacts all of us, no matter where you’re at in life. That’s why I love PNC’s investment. It has such a broad impact, no matter what stage in life you’re in, it can have a different meaning for you.”

By providing a meaningful way for employees to engage with their corporate initiative, PNC is driving home their commitment to the communities they serve. Some PNC employees’ children attend PNC Grow Up Great centers and others have children who go on to work in centers as educators.

“As a manager, it’s been really meaningful to support. Not only are we encouraged to and paid to volunteer, but we can earn grants for the organizations we’re volunteering with. We can also do a group volunteer event doing things outdoors, building stuff as a team.”

Andrew has a unique perspective and opportunity as a leader to make a difference, blending what he learns through volunteering in the workplace. Through PNC’s “Men as Allies” program, Andrew’s gained a greater understanding of the unique challenges women can experience in the workforce, like feeling pressure to drop out or as if they can’t bring their whole selves to work.

Visit and to learn more, support, and apply for grants in your community or classroom.

Natalie Derrickson is a writer and communications strategist from Indianapolis. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.



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