Ep. #41 – How a Program Inspired by Oprah, has raised  22 million dollars for People In Need. Special Guest Julie Peterson Klein, Chief Culture Officer at Bell Bank


Bell Bank, one of the country’s most prominent family and employee-owned banks, has gained recognition for its remarkable Pay It Forward program. Inspired by the global Pay It Forward Day, the program empowers Bell Bank employees to make a positive difference in the lives of others by providing them with funds to give back. With over $22 million donated in the past 14 years, Bell Bank’s Pay It Forward program has become a symbol of kindness and generosity.

Understanding Bell Bank’s Pay It Forward Program

At the core of Bell Bank’s Pay It Forward program is the belief in the power of giving. Each year, full-time employees receive $1,000, and part-time employees receive $500 to donate to needy individuals, families, or organizations. The program encourages employees to choose beneficiaries close to their hearts, reflecting on their own experiences and personal connections. This thoughtful approach allows employees to give back and provides therapeutic value as they connect with causes that resonate with their own life stories.

Employee Engagement and Impact Stories

The Pay It Forward program has profoundly impacted Bell Bank employees. Their enthusiastic response to the initiative has led to countless heartwarming stories of compassion and support. From assisting families dealing with loss to mentoring children facing adversity, employees have demonstrated their commitment to making a positive difference. The program has fostered lasting relationships and created a sense of community between Bell Bank and the beneficiaries.

The Spread of Pay It Forward and Emulation by Others

Bell Bank’s Pay It Forward program has transformed the lives of those it has touched and inspired other organizations. Recognizing the contagious nature of kindness, Bell Bank openly shares its program with others, offering guidance and support to those looking to implement similar initiatives. The hope is to create a ripple effect of kindness extending far beyond Bell Bank’s reach, ultimately making the world better.

The Fargo Community and Bell Bank’s Role

Bell Bank’s headquarters in Fargo, North Dakota, reflects the community’s values of resilience and kindness. Fargo is known for its warm-hearted residents and their unwavering commitment to helping others. Bell Bank is proud to be part of this community, where employees embrace the Pay It Forward program and actively contribute to making Fargo an even better place to live.

The Power of Random Acts of Kindness

While Pay It Forward Day serves as a reminder to engage in acts of kindness, the impact of such acts extends beyond a single day. Random acts of kindness can transform lives, promote empathy, and create a more compassionate society. By encouraging readers to embrace kindness in their daily lives, we can collectively positively impact individuals and communities.


Bell Bank’s Pay It Forward program exemplifies the transformative power of kindness and giving. The program has not only changed the lives of those in need but has also enriched the hearts and perspectives of Bell Bank employees. By sharing their stories and inspiring others, Bell Bank spreads kindness and creates a culture of compassion. Let us all embrace the spirit of Pay It Forward, engaging in acts of kindness to make the world a better place, one selfless gesture at a time.

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