Wisconsin’s STAR Credit Union, the first youth-chartered credit union in the world, won The Pitch competition Thursday at the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference in San Antonio.
STAR’s big idea for The Pitch, an audience-driven contest sponsored by Mills Marketing, was a financial literacy-themed summer camp called Camp Millionaire.
“It was crazy,” says Kristel Renn, youth development director of the $36,000 asset credit union in Madison, Wis., after winning the audience vote. “I am so excited for the kids to hear about it. I think their reactions are going to be even better. They are going to be stoked. And the difference that we can make with this is huge.”
Many of the credit union’s young members and young employees were featured in Renn’s presentation via video.
The credit union’s mission is to instill financial literacy and responsibility in its young members by providing access to financial services and the opportunity to participate in the development and operation of the credit union.
Members learn the importance of savings, earn incentives, and participate in programs that teach everything from budgeting to investing to entrepreneurship.
“For a lot of them, it changes their lives,” Renn says.
Now the credit union has the opportunity to do more. With a $10,000-prize and support from Mills Marketing the dream of a summer camp program will become a reality.
“It is a perfect fit,” says Mills Marketing President Sarah Bacehowski of getting to work with STAR. “It is really a great opportunity to partner with someone that really needs our help and that is what is really special about The Pitch.”
The other finalists that presented during the contest were $96 million asset ANECA Federal Credit Union in Shreveport, La., and $749 million asset Seattle (Wash.) Metropolitan Credit Union.
ANECA offered a project that would increase participation with their credit union through member-directed philanthropy, leveraging existing products such as CDs and card transactions to direct donations to causes.
Seattle Metropolitan presented a project that would encourage and empower front-line staff to make a difference for members by giving front-line staff a small quarterly stipend to award to members as they see fit, whether a cup of coffee for someone having a bad day or a small grant for a needy college-bound member.
Each presentation impressed attendees and Bacehowski.
“I thought they all were great. This is our third year and every year they get better,” she says.