Credit Unions Carry On Year-Long ‘Season of Giving’

For most, the time set aside each year for generous gifts and charitable donations ended weeks ago, giving way along with the recycled wrapping paper and boxes to the return of everyday life.

Of course, for credit unions, generosity and charity are integral parts of everyday life, so it comes as no surprise that their gifts, donations and community outreach efforts continue to be as strong and consistent as ever this month.

Take Valley Credit Union, for instance. This past December, in conjunction with Green Acres Landscape, Valley collected diapers, cleaning supplies and hygiene products to support Family Building Blocks, a nonprofit organization that works to break the intergenerational cycle of child abuse and neglect by providing services for high-risk families. Thanks to the generosity of staff, members and the local community, more than 3,000 diapers were collected and donated along with baby wipes, toilet paper and other simple necessities.

“The support shown to us by Valley Credit Union and Green Acres is a wonderful example of Family Building Blocks’ community partnerships that provide critical funds and support when they are needed most,” said Patrice Altenhofen, executive director for Family Building Blocks. “We are proud to tout Valley Credit Union as one of our most enthusiastic partners.  Thank you for your efforts on our behalf – from diaper drives, to fundraisers, to sponsoring numerous events – the list is endless.”

And all the fund drives and charity work are as unique as the credit unions themselves. Each year, the staff of Wauna Federal Credit Union coordinates fundraisers to raise money and awareness for one designated community-based, local non-profit organization.

Last year, Wauna’s staff and members raised money for the Helping Hands Outreach organization, which provides assistance for people in transition due to crisis situations, including overnight services, training, education and other re-entry programs. The fundraising effort culminated in a $6,624.64 donation.

The staff of Peninsula Credit Union in Shelton, Wash., recently announced that it had surpassed a fundraising goal of its own, making a $7,200 donation to Credit Unions for Kids, the credit union movement’s charity of choice, after an enthusiastic staff easily pushed the credit union past its $2,500 goal. As a result, Peninsula was invited to participate in the 2012 Miracle Season program, which was broadcast live on KOMO Channel 4 in December and raised nearly $120,000 for uninsured children and their families. Peninsula Credit Union President and CEO Jim Morrell was among the volunteers on-hand to answer phones during the telethon.

“The fundraising efforts of Peninsula Credit Union employees and members, epitomizes the giving nature of credit unions throughout the U.S.” remarked Joe Dearborn, senior director of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. “We are extremely proud of our partnership with Peninsula Credit Union and will always be indebted to them for the wonderful support they offer the kids treated at Seattle Children’s Hospital.”

OnPoint Community Credit Union, meanwhile, is once again the title sponsor of the OnPoint Community Credit Union Celebrity Spelling Bee, a signature fundraiser of the nonprofit Schoolhouse Supplies that raises funds to support the Free Store for Teachers, which has provided $16.7 million worth of free school supplies to local classrooms in need.

“OnPoint was founded by a group of Portland teachers in 1932 and we have a long history of supporting classrooms in our community,” said Rob Stuart, OnPoint president and CEO. “We are a proud supporter of Schoolhouse Supplies and sponsor of this event that celebrates the work of teachers and provides important resources to help students succeed.” 

This year’s Celebrity Spelling Bee will be held on Jan. 31 at the Portland Art Museum from 5-9 p.m. Celebrities include 2012 Spelling Bee Winner and actress Pat Jankowski, President and Co-founder of Dave’s Killer Bread Dave Dahl, Zia McCabe of The Dandy Warhols, and Mayor Charlie Hales. Judges include celebrity journalist Byron Beck and the Portland Timbers’ own Timber Joey.


It All Adds Up

In 2012, Advantis Credit Union donated a total of $116,284 in cash and in-kind contributions to organizations in the Portland community, and the credit union’s staff volunteered a total of 284 hours.

Oregon Community Credit Union reported $114,000 in sponsorships and financial literacy (for non-profit, community-based or school-related organizations) in 2012, as well as $353,500 in college scholarships, 2,095 hours of employee volunteerism on company-paid time, and $4,881 in staff donations.

When the season of giving lasts all year long, the numbers start to add up quickly. But for credit unions, which were founded on the “People Helping People” philosphy, it’s just business as usual.


Do you have questions or comments? Do you have a story or an idea to share? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem editor:, 206.340.4815.

Posted in Community Impact.