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Credit Unions Raising Funds, Supporting Causes, Helping Communities

Credit Unions Raising Funds, Supporting Causes, Helping Communities By Cyndi Cohen
Published September 18, 2012
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“People Helping People.” It is the credit union motto but what does it really mean? Most people know that credit unions exist to help people financially. They offer members exceptional service, helpful advice, better rates, and lower fees. However, what many consumers may not know but that credit unions members experience first-hand is a credit union’s commitment to making the world a better place.

Unlike most other financial institutions, credit unions are committed to improving the communities in which they serve, on a local level, and lending their support to humanitarian efforts, on a global scale. And one way that financial co-ops put their philosophy to work in the real world is through dedicated fundraising efforts. Supporting a gamut of social causes from animal abuse to world hunger, using all types of events from golf outings to expos, all credit unions have a universal goal when it comes to “People Helping People”…aim to help those in need, making a difference in communities and people’s lives.

Kissing Pigs for Financial Literacy

TruMark Financial Credit Union (Trevose, PA) will host its second annual Kiss-A-Pig Financial Literacy Fundraiser on Wednesday, October 3, 2012, at the Piazza at Schmidt’s in Philadelphia, from 5 to 7 p.m. In this aptly named fundraiser, participants agree to recruit family, friends, and colleagues to make a donation to see them kiss a pig. According to Randi Marmer, AVP Community Relations, last year TruMark Financial raised $17,000 and awarded $5,500 grants to three schools to use for personal finance resources. “Funds raised allow schools to provide youth with the tools needed to make informed choices as they save, spend, borrow, or invest money.”

TruMark’s effort comes at a time when many Pennsylvania schools are truly in need of assistance. Confronting a huge deficit in the overall state budget, Pennsylvania’s education funding has been slashed and vital programs have been impacted. Without programs like the Kiss-a-Pig Financial Literacy Fundraiser, students may be left behind and become another statistic plagued with debt. Partnering with The Philadelphia Foundation, a public charity and community foundation, which manages more than 800 charitable funds, the credit union has established a goal for raising $20,000 with the Kiss-a-Pig Fundraiser to donate toward financial literacy.

The recently created Kiss-a-Pig fundraiser is a result of TruMark Financial CU’s long-time commitment to promoting financial literacy in the community. “Last year credit union employees conducted 120 presentations on topics such as saving, potential of credit card debt, budgeting, investing, and identity theft -- often referred to as life skills, students and teachers find the presentations beneficial and informative,” reports Marmer.

The Kiss-A-Pig Financial Literacy Fundraiser takes the credit union’s commitment to the next level by heightening awareness for the need for financial education in the community. Along with their $20,000 goal, six teachers are serving as fundraisers along with 15 other business owners and professionals to support the event. As a result, the credit union will award grants to their schools to be used to purchase personal finance resources such as textbooks, DVDs, videos, workbooks, and games.

This year three TruMark employees also volunteered to serve as fundraisers while credit union vendors and business partners have made donations. To add to the excitement surrounding the event, members who donate can write their name on pig cutouts, which are displayed in the branches. “The unique aspect of the fundraiser is a diverse group of individuals — business owners, teachers, credit union employees, community leaders and professionals — join forces to heighten awareness for financial literacy,” explains Marmer.

In addition to their website and newsletter, the credit union worked with local radio stations to promote the event. Radio personality, John DeBella of WMGK will host the event while radio personalities Marilyn Russell of Ben-FM and Tony Bruno of 97.5 The Fanatic will make guest appearances. Marmer says this has resulted in an overwhelming response. “Members have requested information on the financial literacy program and have referred teachers they know to contact the credit union -- people are interested in signing their school up to participate next year.”

“It is something special to see enthusiastic community leaders, business owners, friends, and colleagues working toward a common goal — to provide schools with personal finance resources needed to help students understand the value of money, the importance of budgeting, and the consequences of overspending,” contends Marmer.

Inspiring Hope and Standing Up Against Cancer

Like TruMark Financial, Diamond Credit Union (Pottstown, PA) is dedicated to raising funds for an important cause that hits home but also affects the community at large. For the seventh consecutive year, Diamond made the American Cancer Society Relay For Life a fundraising focus.

“Seven years ago Diamond employees came together with one simple goal – to help our co-workers, family and friends who were dealing with their fight against cancer – that is when the Diamond’s Hope team was born.” shares Todd Rothenberger, VP of Marketing. In those few years, the credit union has contributed over $415,000 and it is their goal to exceed $500,000 next year. The Diamond’s Hope team crushed their previous record of $71,777, set in 2011, as they announced their 2012 total will be $81,190.46. John Faust, President/CEO of Diamond Credit Union, says that it is shocking to see this grand total during this particularly challenging economic time. “I am touched by the generosity and support we’ve received from members, volunteers, and community members who have donated to our team.”

Throughout the year, Diamond hosted a variety of fundraising events, each organized by staff members who volunteered their time. The team held their Annual Golf Invitational, Designer Bag Bingo, Beef and Beer, Shredding Event, Jeans Days, and several hot dog and bake sales, as well as fundraising at the teller line, Reading Pet Expo, Bark For Life, and Relay For Life. “I am incredibly proud of our team -- our total was accomplished not by a few people, but by every member of the staff and board standing up against cancer,” says Faust.

In 2012, Diamond was the Presenting Sponsor of the Berks County Relay For Life events, as well as a corporate sponsor for the Pottstown Relay For Life. Diamond’s Hope takes pride in knowing that the American Cancer Society uses the money they raise to support patients, prevent cancer for future generations, and work to find a cure.

Also a supporter of the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, Western New York Federal Credit Union (West Seneca, NY) raised over $15,000 this year and over $62,000 to date over the last nine years. The credit union’s biggest and longest fundraiser, the West Seneca Relay For Life starts in January or February and runs through June.

According to JoAnn Gorman, Marketing Manager, Western New York FCU also adopts the Kathleen Mary House, a home for victims of domestic violence in which they help residents during the holiday season. “Our staff helps organize and volunteer time and gifts while members buy raffle tickets for prizes and donate all year long to different things,” explains Gorman.

Promoted on their website, Facebook page, and in their newsletter, the credit union receives a great deal of recognition in the community for all of their fundraising efforts while members mention the efforts often. “In the spirit of People Helping People, credit unions are known for giving back to their communities and helping people every day the best they can,” says Gorman.

If you want to feel the impact of “People Helping People” and be part of a financial institution that is working toward a brighter future for all, find a credit union and join today. Are you already a member? Check out your credit union’s newsletter and website for details on current fundraisers and to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

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