INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. (10/23/14)--The nation is taking time to appreciate cooperatives this October for National Co-op Month, and financial cooperatives, commonly known as credit unions, have joined in on the celebration.
The festivities are in full gear in Minnesota, as the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) kicked off the month by hosting a "Community Connected" press event at Heartland CU, Inver Grove Heights, Minn., with $102 million in assets, to recognize the impact cooperatives of all kinds have on their communities.
Speakers at the press event, which included credit union and cooperative leaders from throughout the state, including Mark D. Cummins, MnCUN president/CEO, spoke about the community-oriented work performed by cooperatives in Minnesota.
Minnesota was one of the first states to enact a law authorizing credit unions and the first state to celebrate an official co-op month in 1948.
The state is also home to the most cooperatives and cooperative memberships in the United States.
"The credit union mission goes beyond serving the financial needs of members," Cummins said. "By providing thousands of volunteer hours and leading community initiatives, member-owned credit unions and cooperatives in Minnesota build better communities for all of us to live in."
Also in attendance was Casey Carlson, vice president of marketing and strategic planning for SPIRE CU, Falcon Heights, Minn., who spoke about the $626 million-asset credit union's program that offers members the opportunity to win money for their favorite co-op when they shop with a co-branded Visa card program.
"This program is a triple win," Carlson said. "Our members win, our local co-ops win and our communities win overall as well."
On Wednesday, the celebration reached the nation's capital, as the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) CLUSA International hosted representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Small Business Administration and the cooperative community at large at the National Press Club for a panel discussion about how cooperatives and the government intersect.
Thanks to the NCBA, credit unions nationwide can participate in the month-long celebration using the association's 2014 Co-op Month communication toolkit, which includes posters, social media graphics, sample social media posts and email invites.