State ed. board honors 2 Texas CUs for school volunteerism

October 31, 2014

FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (11/3/14)--Two Texas-based credit unions were picked by the Texas State Board of Education this month to receive the Employers for Education Excellence award, which recognizes organizations that promote staff participation and volunteerism in public schools (Leaguer Oct. 31).

Complex Community FCU, Odessa, was given the Gold award by the board.

Since 2008, the $422 million-asset credit union has supported the Ector County Independent School District (ISD) by sending employees to participate in many of its projects and programs.

The credit union also has supported the local Advancement Via Individual Determination program through providing an annual motivational speaker, teaching financial literacy and providing teacher supply scholarships.

The credit union's staff has taught more than 2,700 hours of financial lending, budgeting, delayed gratification, check writing, savings and investments, and setting college goals courses to about 4,900 students in the district.

"Making a difference in the lives of our future leaders is a part of our strategic plan," Jason Berridge, Complex Community CU president/CEO, told Leaguer.

Smart Financial CU, Houston, was awarded the Silver designation.

The $588 million-asset credit union encourages staff to participate in many community service activities throughout the Houston area, and particularly those that will improve the quality of life for the community at large.

As part of the credit union's active participation in Houston's ISD, Smart Financial has established an in-school, student-run branch of the credit union where students learn how to save and manage money, balance checkbooks and budget.

"The students are learning first-hand about the financial life skills needed to carry them through the next phase of their lives," said Gloria Gatlin, assistant vice president of business development for Smart Financial. "Once a year, we conduct a real-life simulation called Mad City Money. This experience allows students to reevaluate their financial choices and helps them to manage their money effectively."

Smart Financial also has instituted a student advisory board on the high school's campus, participates in the Houston ISD's back-to-school event and continues to find many ways for staff members to donate time and money to educational causes.

Mad City Money