Even small gifts change lives

Pay It Forward

Tribulation Leads to Inspiration for Bell Employee

It can be hard to count your blessings when you’re up with a teething baby in the middle of the night. When the stress of trying to parent and work through a pandemic was at its worst for Bell Bank’s Rachel Johnson, she was inspired to not only count her blessings, but also find a way to help others.

“This year more than ever, it really struck a chord with me that I can do more, and I want to do more.” – Rachel Johnson, Bell Bank treasury management analyst


Bell Employees

Rachel Johnson, Treasury Management Analyst
Bloomington, Minn.


Baby’s Space Minneapolis


The Need

While struggling to work from home with her 2 young sons in the middle of the pandemic,
Rachel Johnson, who works in treasury management at our Bell Plaza offices in Bloomington, Minn., realized her problems were small compared to what some people go through every day.

“It’s been hard to find a new balance in life and feel productive at work while also being a good mom,” Rachel explains. “I was up with my teething 6-month-old and imagining what it would be like if I didn’t have a job or know where my next meal for my kids was going to come from. There are real, stressful situations out there that really didn’t compare to what I was dealing with.”

That’s when Rachel was inspired to make a difference for other families. She started looking for an organization to support that helps parents and kids, when she found Baby’s Space, a child development center in Minneapolis.

The Impact

In addition to offering high-quality childcare and education, Baby’s Space emphasizes the importance of family services and community engagement to promote “successful children, healthier families and transform neighborhoods of poverty.” Programming, which includes parent education, is created from the baby’s point of view, focusing on relationships, social and emotional development, and innovative learning environments.

“I’m just so moved by what they were doing in the community to support families,” Rachel remarks.

Rachel donated the $2,000 in Pay It Forward funds she received in 2020 to the organization, as well as baby clothes, a stroller and toys.

“When the center had closed down temporarily, a lot of these families felt lost,” Rachel notes. “They depend on the center for their livelihood. To acknowledge I could do more in my community was the silver lining of this experience. This year more than ever, it really struck a chord with me that I can do more, and I want to do more.”

Through the Pay It Forward program, Bell gives employees money each year to donate to people and causes they care about.