John Fulone’s outgoing voicemail message says a lot about him. In it, he lists several different contacts who can provide direct help for callers’ specific problems. The way he returns calls says a lot about him, too – he leaves no stone unturned, including appeals from a throng of nonprofit groups.
One such group is Cape Cod Young Professionals (CCYP), which approached Fulone and the The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod to be a lead sponsor of its initiative to address the exodus of young people from the Cape – 26 percent of the age 25-44 demographic left the Cape between 2000 and 2010. At the time, the 2010 census had just come out, “and its data confirmed what we all knew,” Fulone said – young professionals were leaving the Cape in search of better opportunities and more affordable housing. “I have kids in that age group. From a selfish standpoint, as a businessman, I need those young people here on Cape Cod.”
He has established a scholarship foundation for Cape Cod youth, and helped create a similar bank-sponsored scholarship in collaboration with the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod. He also works with veterans’ organizations.
Fulone and his family live on the Cape, but he spent 26 of his 30-year career (so far) commuting to big-bank posts in the Dedham area. He joined The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod in 2011 after posts at Citizens Financial Group and BayBank/BankBoston. “I immediately noticed how different community banking is from big banking,” he said. His professional life distanced him from the skein of community issues. “Now, I see people I work with at church, the dump, restaurants and the mall,” he said. “It’s just so cool to be able to live and work in the community.”
Part of the CCYP initiative is a mentoring program, which pairs young professionals up with others. Fulone is an active participant. He is also a corporator for Heritage Museums and Gardens and a board member for the Boys & Girls Club of Cape Cod and the Cape Cod Children’s Museum. He’s also active in several local Chambers of Commerce and civic organizations.
One of his nominators for a Community Bank Hero award noted that the bank has grown through Fulone’s work. During the last two years, the bank has modernized two branches and opened two new ones, creating jobs with upward mobility. Fulone also oversaw a rebranding of the bank.
Every year, the bank hosts a “Stuff-a-Stocking” toy drive in bank branches to collect new, unwrapped toys, which are donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Cape Cod to be distributed to their constituents.
Fulone received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Assumption College in Worcester. He is a graduate of The Strategy and Service Excellence Program administered through the Harvard Business School of Executive Education.
As a Cape Cod banker, he said, “You see where your volunteer, charitable and sponsorship efforts are going every day.”