ATLANTA (5/23/14)--Georgia credit unions raised more than $1.68 million for charitable initiatives around the state, including $400,000 for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, according to a Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA) survey.
"We are a service organization and our employees always enjoy giving back to our community," said survey respondent Debbie Smith, president/CEO, $957 million-asset Georgia United CU, Duluth. Her credit union donates a day of service on a federal holiday each year. In 2013 the Georgia United CU team assembled and donated 8,000 meal and hygiene kits for the Gateway Center homeless service organization, doubling the total from the previous year.
The Helping People Afford Life 2014 Outreach Report showed employees of responding credit unions donated an average of 385 hours in support of local causes, and 88% make direct monetary donations to charitable programs.
"Credit unions stand side-by-side with working people in the middle class," said Mike Mercer, GCUA president/CEO. "This means digging in right alongside them trying to make the lives of their families and their neighbors better. Credit unions exist to serve members and help them afford the lives they aspire to in the communities they care about."
Sometimes that means serving the global community. Platinum FCU, Lilburn, Ga., with $51 million in assets, raised more than $10,000 from members and staff, and the credit union contributed an additional $5,000 to the Aga Khan Foundation to support projects in developing countries in Africa and Asia.
"There are so many people in the world who are lacking the basic necessities that we take for granted," said Platinum FCU CEO Kabir Laiwalla. "We are a collaborative, cooperative organization. This gives us an opportunity to put the values of our credit union to work in areas of the world that can really benefit from our support."
More than half of credit unions surveyed offer or plan to offer programs designed specifically to help low-wealth members save. Eighty-eight percent offer used vehicle loans to low-wealth members, and 68% have credit builder programs. Almost 90% held financial educational events last year, with 13,747 Georgia consumers attending.
Additional findings from the report on Georgia credit unions' outreach activities include: