8 Ways To Give Back Beyond #GivingTuesday

For the credit union movement — and its history of community volunteerism and charitable give back — any day can be Giving Tuesday.

#GivingTuesday has joined Black Friday and Cyber Monday as post-Thanksgiving traditions, but in contrast to those shopping days, this one is about the holiday spirit that extends beyond spending.

Created in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York City, the simple idea of celebrating and encouraging giving has gone global. According to the organization, the purpose of the day is to bring people together around the values of service and giving back. That sounds like a good fit for the credit union movement, which recognizes Concern for the Community as a cooperative principle.

Giving back for credit unions is a year-round activity that occurs in shapes and forms as diverse as the communities they serve. To celebrate that fact, here are eight examples from the year nearly past.


Fore The Brave

Affinity Credit Union ($110.5M, Des Moines, IA) hosted its 24th annual charity golf outing in September. This year’s theme was Fore the Brave, and the credit union raised $7,000 for the Puppy Jake Foundation, a Des Moines-based group that provides service dogs to veterans.

Sixteen members of the Affinity team volunteered their time to make sure it was a fun day on the course, and financial help from CUNA, Allied Solutions, and CO-OP Financial Services helped make it a financial success. Affinity has raised and donated more than $300,000 to local charities in the quarter-century it’s been holding the annual event.

From left, Leslie Torres from Affinity Credit Union, Maggie Donovan of the foundation, and Affinity staffers Jamie Rumsey and Kindra Chandler pose with Puppy Jake, the namesake of the Puppy Jake Foundation, which selects, trains, and places service dogs with wounded veterans.

More For Good Dogs And More For Veterans

The PenFed Foundation, the charitable arm of Pentagon Federal Credit Union ($24.1B, Tysons Corner, VA), made the first investment of proceeds from its annual gala. It directed $150,000 in three grants to three organizations that train service dogs for veterans: the Animal Rescue Foundation, Canine Companions for Independence, and Leashes of Valor.

Another year-round initiative for the foundation this year is its newly launched Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program. More than 600 people attended the annual gala at a Washington, DC, hotel, which also included a surprise donation of $500,000 from Allied Solutions and a $500,000 match from the foundation for the new program to fund veterans with promising business ideas and a need for capital.

Wounded Warrior Luis Avila sings God Bless America beside his wife, Claudia Avila, who received the PenFed Foundation’s Caregiver Award at the PenFed Foundation’s 14th annual Night of Heroes Gala on May 2 in Washington, DC. The foundation raised more than $2.5 million at the event.

Take It From The TopLine

TopLine Federal Credit Union ($458.2M, Maple Grove, MN) was one of 49 credit unions and partners of the Minnesota Credit Union Network that celebrated the federal Columbus Day holiday, this year on Oct. 8, with the network’s third annual CU Forward Day.

The idea is to go out into the community to spread kindness and encourage the same from others. TopLine employees did their part by doing a deep clean and then re-stocking of the Keystone Community Services Foodmobile and participating in a BizTown event for the Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest.

Spiffing up the Keystone Community Services Foodmobile inside and out was one of the tasks of the day for volunteers from TopLine FCU participating in the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s annual CU Forward Day.

BECU Brings The Budgeting Basics

BECU ($18.8B, Tukwila, WA) sent nearly 2,000 of its employees out of a workforce of approximately 2,100 FTEs into the community to help high school students get a taste of reality.

BECU’s reality fair assign students a persona, family, and income and then works with the youngsters as they go from station to station to simulate how they would manage their expenses through various budgeting situations. And, of course, there’s an app for that, which helps them track their journey.

Talking turkey about finances with high school students was one way BECU employees celebrated the credit union’s Annual Day of Service on Oct. 8. The credit union hosted financial reality fairs for more than 8,000 students at 16 high schools in the Puget Sound and Spokane areas. This shot is from Garfield High School in Seattle, WA.

Refresh The Rims

Valley Credit Union ($266.0M, Billings, MT) sent a team out under the big sky to help neaten up a local park as part of the Montana’s Credit Unions Giving Time 2018 campaign to give back on International Credit Union Day on Oct. 18.

Statewide, credit unions reported donating 3,990 individual hours of volunteer service, cruising past least year’s total of 2,017 hours in efforts that also included volunteering at local food banks, teaching people about financial planning, painting a house, and even building a school garden.

Valley Credit Union employees volunteered for a clean-up effort for the Billings Parks, Recreation & Public Lands department during the Giving Time campaign by the Montana’s Credit Unions network in October.

Helping Teach Heritage

More than 230 volunteers from Nusenda Credit Union ($2.3B, Albuquerque, NM) marked this year’s Columbus Day federal holiday which many states, cities, and organizations are ditching in favor of Indigenous People’s Day by helping to sort and prep at the state’s largest food bank, cleaning up the grounds of a community medical center, an elementary school, and a wildlife refuge, and helping the National Hispanic Cultural Center teach and share the community’s shared heritage.

Giving back is in our DNA, says Michelle Dearholt, Nusenda’s chief retail and performance officer. Our connection with our member-owners goes beyond simply providing a product or service. As a financial cooperative, we consciously work for the betterment and sustainability of our communities.

Nusenda Credit Union sent a team to the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM, to put together teacher kits, make sugar skulls, bag up decorations and icing bags, and build an ofrenda for Dia de los Muertos. Shown here are, from left, Liza Balderrama, April Apodaca, Esco Gallegos, Krista Martinez, and Brittanae Brown.

More Help For The March Of Dimes

Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union ($457.0M, Rocky Hill, CT) presented a check to the March of Dimes in a May 15 gathering at the credit union’s headquarters in Rocky Hill.

The credit union was a presenting sponsor for the Connecticut community’s March for Babies/Run for Babies 5K on April 29, and the staff pitched in themselves by wearing purple on the Friday before the event to raise awareness. They also kicked in more than $1,000 in donations.

Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union donated $43,000 this year to the March of Dimes. Shown here with the big check are, from left, Deborah Fafard of the charity’s local chapter, Nutmeg state president and CEO John Holt, and Nutmeg compliance and risk analyst Kiri Thomson.

Point Breeze Makes A Point

Point Breeze Credit Union ($767.4M, Hunt Valley, MD) earlier this month became a sponsor of a new Neonatal Couplet Care program at a local hospital. The credit union’s board chairman took to the podium at the hospital’s annual auxiliary ball on Nov. 3 to announce a $25,000 donation to the effort to be added to the $25,000 that Point Breeze already committed to the new program through its sponsorship of the ball.

The Neonatal Couplet Care program allows newborns who require specialized care to remain with their mothers in a comfortable, monitored room through their hospital stay.

Through this show of philanthropy, Point Breeze will make an enormous impact on the lives of babies and families in our community now and for future generations, says Ellen Finnerty Myers, the hospital’s chief development officer.

Point Breeze Credit Union board chairman Michael Gallagher takes to the podium to announce a $25,000 donation to help fund a new neo-natal program at Carroll Hospital.

November 26, 2018

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