The Ukrainian Children’s Choir Soloveiky performed the Ukrainian National Anthem and “God Bless America.”

Serving with spirit

Credit unions aid their communities during holiday season.

December 7, 2022

The holiday season is a popular time for organizations to serve their communities. Credit unions have jumped to action, serving members and communities with donations and community service.

HFS Federal Credit Union raises money for The Food Basket

HFS Federal Credit Union in Hilo, Hawaii, raised $25,100 for The Food Basket, which aims to end hunger in Hawaii County.

The $838 million asset credit union collected monetary donations across its six Big Island branches throughout October. Donors received an HFS tote bag or cap.

“With inflation increasing the cost of gas, utilities, housing, and food, many families are finding they don't have money left for groceries after paying their bills,” The Food Basket Executive Director Kristin Frost Albrecht says. “This incredible donation from HFS Federal Credit Union will go directly toward purchasing food for our island neighbors in need this holiday season, helping to keep food on the tables of those who are struggling the most.

“Our warmest mahalos going out to HFS Federal Credit Union staff and members for their extraordinary generosity and providing essential food relief to make this season brighter for so many in our Hawaii Island community.”

American Heritage donates $500,000 to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

American Heritage Credit Union in Philadelphia presented the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with a $500,000 check on Nov. 26 to kick off the 15th-annual Grand Illumination.

The event, hosted by the $4.1 billion asset credit union, attracted more than 22,000 community members who enjoyed the illumination of American Heritage’s main campus along with performances, fireworks, food donations, and $25,000 in sweepstakes prizes.

The credit union’s Kids-N-Hope Foundation presented the $500,000 check to continue supporting the Children’s Hospital’s Music Therapy Program.

“Grand Illumination has been a long-standing tradition for our credit union and surrounding area, and we see our kickoff event as our holiday gift to the community,” says American Heritage President/CEO Bruce Foulke, who is chairman of the Kids-N-Hope Foundation. “We hope this event brings holiday cheer and excitement to our community and members all season long.”

The Kids-N-Hope Foundation, founded in 1996, has contributed more than $2.8 million to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The foundation has pledged to donate at least an additional $1.9 million over the next five years.

The Grand Illumination is open to anyone in the community until New Year’s Day.

Frontwave makes 10 Giving Tuesday donations

Frontwave Credit Union in Oceanside, Calif., donated $5,000 to 10 charities in support of the global Giving Tuesday movement.

“We exist to serve our members, and we are so thankful for the communities who have supported us

over the past 70 years,” says Bill Birnie, president/CEO at the $1.2 billion asset credit union. “Today we show our gratitude to them by partnering with 10 charities who strive to be a force for good in the communities they serve, just like Frontwave.”

The 10 charities, which were selected by Frontwave Dream Maker employees, were:

  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, San Diego
  • Animal Friends of the Valleys
  • North County LGBTQ Resource Center
  • North County Veterans Stand Down
  • Rady Children’s Hospital
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • TERI, Inc.
  • The Brother Benno Foundation
  • Women’s Resource Center (WRC)
  • Wounded Warrior Project

“We are grateful for Frontwave’s commitment to bolstering the efforts of agencies like WRC and others

that rely on the support and encouragement of our local communities,” WRC Director of Development and Business Services Lauren-Jane Stephenson says. “Together, we are making a difference in our communities and showcasing the unity and empathetic care that makes North County strong.”

Frontwave’s Acts of Kindness Campaign has been a year-long celebration commemorating its 70th anniversary.

First Tech Federal invests $4.1 million in nonprofits

First Tech Federal Credit Union in Beaverton, Ore., announced in November that it contributed $4.1 million in funding of nonprofit organizations across California, Oregon, and Washington.

Support included $2.5 million in direct charitable giving and a record-breaking $1.6 million in fundraising for Credit Unions for Kids through efforts made by First Tech’s members, employees, and community.

First Tech’s charitable giving program focuses on supporting nonprofit organizations that are removing systemic barriers and providing necessary resources to underserved communities in the areas of education, research, and innovation. First Tech employees will contribute more than 15,000 volunteer hours this year and personally donate an additional $220,000 to nonprofit organizations.

“I’m proud of the work our employees, members and nonprofit partners have accomplished this year to support our community,” says Greg Mitchell, president/CEO at the $15 billion asset credit union. “We strive to exemplify the credit union difference of people helping people, and none of this would be possible without our incredible members who choose First Tech as their trusted financial institution. Together, we’re creating change and supporting organizations that ensure children and families have the resources they need to thrive.”

First Tech also recently wrapped up its annual Season of Giving. The campaign brought together members, employees, and the broader community to direct $225,000 to nonprofit organizations through voting and volunteerism. The program also encourages teams of five employees to volunteer with local nonprofits through the “5 for $500 program,” each resulting in a $500 contribution to nonprofits employees are passionate about.

This year’s community partners included Centro Cultural, HealthRIGHT 360, Junior Achievement of Sacramento, Lotus Bloom, Second Harvest Food Bank, Silicon Valley Education Foundation, Valley Verde, Beaverton Education Foundation, Hillsboro Schools Foundation, Oregon Food Bank, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Oregon Zoo, Food Lifeline, Mary’s Place, Northwest Harvest, Technology Access Foundation, and Washington STEM.

Vermont Federal donates more than $20,000 to local charities

As part of Giving Tuesday, Vermont Federal Credit Union in South Burlington donated more than $20,000 to local charities and nonprofit organizations.

The donations were spread across 10 charities, including Spectrum Youth Services in St. Albans, Enosburg Food Shelf, HOPE Holiday Shop, Addison County Parent Child Center, Pride Centers VT, Jenna’s Promise, Franklin County Humane Society, Vermont Children’s Museum, Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, and Lamoille Community House.

“At Vermont Federal Credit, giving back to our community is part of our DNA,” says Jean Giard, CEO at the $900 million asset credit union. “We feel very fortunate that we can provide financial support to all of these great organizations and are delighted to do so on Giving Tuesday.”

The credit union also partnered with local radio stations 106.7 WIZN and 99.9 The BUZZ to host “Feed Your Neighbor.” The 13th-annual food drive collected more than 7,000 pounds of food for Feeding Chittenden and the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity.

Nusenda collects thousands of coats for kids 

Nusenda Credit Union partnered with KOAT-TV for the 15th straight year to collect winter coats for kids in New Mexico. The KOATs for Kids drive, which ran from Oct. 17 through Nov. 19, collected thousands of coats for those in need.

Nusenda, a $3.9 billion asset credit union in Albuquerque, offered its branch locations as drop-off sites for the winter coat drive. Since partnering with KOAT-TV in 2007 for the annual drive, Nusenda has provided 30,000 coats to kids.

“Each year, we encourage our staff, member-owners, and others in the community to stop by any Nusenda branch to drop off a new coat. We are heart-warmed to see the outpouring of support for New Mexico’s kids,” Nusenda President/CEO Joe Christian says. “For many children in the state, these donated coats are the only ones they own, and we are glad to help make a difference.”

Montana’s Credit Unions raise $25,000 for children’s hospital

Montana’s Credit Unions relaunched the Credit Unions for Kids “Brawl of the Wild” football icon fundraiser benefiting Shodair Children’s Hospital. The 121st Brawl of the Wild, a 55-21 Montana State win over Montana, was held Nov. 19. The fundraiser saw 25 Montana credit unions donate $25,000 to Shodair, Montana’s only Children’s Miracle Network hospital.

Montana State also won the fundraiser, selling 8,655 icons, while Montana sold 7,064. Additionally, more than $9,500 in cash contributions was donated by credit unions, their members, Shodair, and Montana’s Credit Unions.

In just two years, Montana’s Credit Unions accomplished its four-year goal of raising $50,000 to support Shodair’s Building Hope for Montana Families capital campaign. The funds will assist Shodair in constructing a new hospital in Helena.

“An essential part of the credit union philosophy is to give back to our community,” says Karen Smith, Montana’s Credit Unions senior vice president and chief advocacy officer. “Shodair is a beacon of hope for so many families across the state and is a very deserving partner. We have been elated with our credit union and community participation and cannot wait to kick off the new year with more fun initiatives through Credit Unions for Kids.”

Broadview's holiday initiative supporting more than 6,500 people

Broadview Federal Credit Union’s 2022 Holiday Sharing program has raised more than $200,000 to purchase and wrap gifts that will be donated to more than 95 nonprofit organizations who will then distribute them to more than 6,500 New York individuals in need.

“We went from a handful of families to 6,500 Individuals, 95 organizations, and growing. We’re not stopping here for sure because the need is so much greater today than it was 30 years ago. We are here building something. The outcome of which is helping people and giving them hope,” says Michael Castellana, CEO of the $8 billion asset credit union in Albany, N.Y. “This year is special because we are now Broadview. Our legacy organizations (SEFCU and CAP COM) did an awful lot for the community, but this is our first huge effort as one. We are Broadview, and Holiday Sharing is bringing our culture together and has put wind behind our sails.”

The annual Holiday Sharing Program is funded by Broadview along with donations from employees and members. The donations are used to provide people with personalized presents and essentials, including warm clothing, cookware, cleaning supplies, and toiletries.

In addition, Broadview donated more than 2,000 winter jackets.