Knitting needles and a ball of yard are the mechanisms that drive employee engagement and community giveback at TopLine Federal Credit Union in Maple Grove, Minn.
For several employees at the $458 million asset credit union, their lunch break turns into a chance to knit, crochet, and catch up with co-workers each week during the Knitting Club at Noon.
The knitting and crochet club started in October 2017 after an employee made a suggestion in the credit union’s “We Hear You!” forum, which allows employees to submit ideas to enhance the workplace.
The employee suggested the club to bring employees together who share a common interest.
“The knitting and crochet club has helped to develop and foster relationships across the organization and support the credit union’s overall mission of social responsibility and philosophy of people helping people,” says Vicki Erickson, senior vice president, marketing and communications. “It has created a powerful message: A simple idea can have a much larger impact on caring, sharing, and giving.”
While the club started as an outlet to work on projects, share ideas, and teach beginners, it quickly morphed into an avenue to give back to the community.
“The club quickly decided they should knit for a purpose,” Erickson says.
In 2018, the club knit more than 200 scarves for “The Red Scarf Project,” a program started by Foster Care to Success, a nonprofit that works with college-bound foster youth.
The club also created 200 purple baby hats for “Click for Babies,” a grassroots campaign that supports families and brings awareness to purple crying and shaken baby syndrome, and 70 red baby hats for the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts Program, which donates hats to babies during American Heart Month.
In 2019, the club’s efforts will benefit North Memorial Health Hospice, as club members knit prayer shawls and lap afghans for hospice patients.
“We are highly committed to supporting our communities and nonprofits to help make a positive difference in peoples’ lives,” Erickson says. “It was remarkable to see the collaboration and connections that were made by our staff with our members, community, and nonprofit partners.”