Social Media Fans Pick Beneficiaries of GROW Program

The power of social media and the generosity of Advantis Credit Union took a community outreach project to new heights this month.

The Advantis GROW Community Fund pooled $50,000 for community projects this year to help local nonprofits obtain grants of up to $10,000. Programs for underprivileged or at-risk youth, community enhancement, education and the arts were given priority, but the decisions about which of those projects specifically made the cut were determined through social media. In just three weeks, 66,000 votes were cast.

The GROW Community Fund will award grants to seven local organizations. The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank, a food bank that helps low-income families feed and keep their dogs, clicked to the top of the social media campaign.

Pongo gets a $3,460 grant to help fulfill its mission: “…the day when no dog or cat goes hungry simply because their families cannot afford to keep them fed.”

“The generosity of Advantis and their savvy on how to engage the public to speak up via social networking cannot be understated,” said Larry Chusid, the food bank’s executive director. “We are honored to have earned the respect of our community and the generous GROW grant from Advantis Credit Union.”

Other programs receiving grants this year include the Clackamas Women’s Services Shelter, a program that serves hot meals on Sundays when many homeless shelters are closed, two educational programs providing computers to at-risk youth, the Portland Rescue Mission and a nonprofit helping low-income and disabled homeowners with their energy needs.

“The public vote helps us understand the priorities of the broader community, and we want to fund those projects that people who live here value most,” said Wendy Edwards, Advantis’ vice president of marketing and human resources.

Advantis has served the Portland metro area for more than 83 years and has been nationally recognized for outstanding returns to members. The credit union also has a rich community service tradition. Since 2009 alone, it has contributed more than $400,000 and 1180 volunteer hours to charitable causes.


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