Before the CUNA Lending Council Conference attendees learn about the latest trends and updates in the world of lending, they got their hands dirty transforming a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., woman’s home.
The CUNA Lending Council partnered with the city of Fort Lauderdale’s Neighbor Volunteer Office on an Adopt-A-Neighbor program, which helps low-income, elderly, or disabled homeowners bring their properties into compliance.
Bruce Taylor, vice president of consumer lending at Collins Community CU in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, hauls a large branch to the brush pile during a volunteer event Sunday at the CUNA Lending Council Conference. The council partnered with the city of Fort Lauderdale’s Neighbor Volunteer Office on an Adopt-A-Neighbor program, which helps low-income, elderly, or disabled homeowners bring their properties into compliance.
A group of volunteers paint the side of a woman’s Fort Lauderdale home. Forty-five volunteers completed landscaping tasks—such as trimming trees and bushes, pulling weeds, and raking debris.
Choua Yang (front), a consumer loan officer at $1 billion asset Hiway Federal CU in St. Paul, Minn., and Lindsey Benson, a loan officer at $154 million asset Soo Co-Op in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., paint. The volunteer opportunity is “an amazing opportunity to get involved in the community” and network with other CU professionals, Benson says.
Volunteers trim a large avocado tree.
J.T. Blau, vice president of risk management at $370 million asset Call Federal CU in Richmond, Va., drags a tree branch to the brush pile. “The idea of people helping people is what CUs are all about,” and volunteering to landscape and paint at the woman’s Fort Lauderdale home fit that philosophy perfectly.
Donna Brown, vice president of lending and marketing at $250 million asset Memphis City Employees CU, hauls debris to a brush pile. “I love this. Our CU volunteers for all kinds of things, so this is a great opportunity,” says Brown, who lost count of how many trips she made to the brush pile.
Knowing there would be painting during the volunteer event, Doug Seaney, vice president of lending at $440 million asset 4Front CU in Traverse City, Mich., made sure to pack his painting clothes. “It spreads the CU philosophy of people helping people. It’s nice to contribute to the town and it makes a big different in a short time.”
Ron Celaschi, senior vice president of lending at $980 million asset Clearview Federal CU in Pittsburgh, dumps brush onto the debris pile. “I missed my workout at the gym this morning. And this is a good cause, right?” Celaschi jokes.
The painting and landscaping took the 45 volunteers about two hours. This is the pile of debris removed from the yard of the Fort Lauderdale woman’s home. “This means a lot to her to see her daddy’s house brought back to its former glory,” says Liz Burt, a volunteer with the city of Fort Lauderdale’s Neighbor Volunteer Office.
The 45 volunteers, who painted and landscaped a Fort Lauderdale home Sunday during the CUNA Lending Council Conference volunteer event, pose for a group photo.
The event took place Sunday in advance of the CUNA Lending Council Conference in Fort Lauderdale.
The volunteers completed landscaping tasks—such as trimming trees and bushes, pulling weeds, and raking debris—and painted the exterior of the bungalow.
With a team of 45 people, Frankhouse says the group was able to accomplish the same amount of work it would have taken on person five weeks to complete.
This type of volunteer event “gives back to our host city,” says Dale Frankhouse, CUNA Lending Council executive committee member and director of business services at $480 million asset Sun Federal Credit Union in Toledo, Ohio. “We try to leave something behind.”
Claire Ippoliti, chief lending officer at $460 million asset People First Federal Credit Union in Allentown, Penn., was the driving force behind establishing the first volunteer event at the CUNA Lending Council Conference eight years ago.
Ippoliti organized the effort after seeing the impact out-of-town volunteers had on the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.
“We are always challenged with awareness and getting the word out about what credit unions do,” Ippoliti says, adding that volunteer events give credit unions the chance to work with people in the community and share what we’re all about. “We’re not just financial institutions; we’re about people helping people.”
Liz Burt, a volunteer with the Neighbor Volunteer Office, says she was impressed with the credit union volunteers. They were self-motivated to make a difference in the Fort Lauderdale homeowner’s life and knew exactly what needed to be done to transform the home, which the elderly woman’s parents built years ago.
“This means a lot to her to see her daddy’s house being brought back to its former glory,” Burt says.