Oregon Community, Unitus Community, Advantis Honored for Philanthropy

Three Oregon credit unions are among the state’s most philanthropic companies.

Oregon Community Credit Union, Advantis Credit Union, and Unitus Community Credit Union all have been honored with the Portland Business Journal’s 2013 Corporate Philanthropy Awards, which recognize local companies that direct the most money to nonprofits. Business Journal publisher Craig Wessel announced the winners at a luncheon in Portland last week.

The awards are based on total dollars given to nonprofits, Wessel said, but they also recognize volunteer hours, in-kind contributions and other forms of generosity. Given that criteria, Advantis president and CEO Bob Corwin says, it’s no surprise to see credit unions on the list.

“Supporting local nonprofits is a natural extension of the credit union philosophy of people helping people,” Corwin says, “and we take every opportunity to assist the organizations that are working to make our communities strong.”

OCCU, the state’s second-largest state-chartered credit union, contributed $494,915 in 2012, the Business Journal says, and its employees volunteered nearly 2,100 hours at schools and community organizations. In exchange for wearing jeans on Fridays and Saturdays, employees also had the option to contribute to a “Jeans Fund,” which served as a reserve for unexpected charitable requests.

When Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and St. Vincent DePaul sought funds for the Home for the Holidays program last year, OCCU stepped up in a big way. The goal was to raise $40,000 for the program, which pays first and last month’s rent, deposits and rental fees to help homeless families find long-term housing. OCCU donated $20,000, almost $54,000 was raised and 54 families were able to find a new home.

Advantis was honored in the small-business category for the fourth consecutive year. In 2012, the company contributed $141,469 to nearly 50 nonprofit organizations, the Business Journal says, and its employees volunteered for nearly 450 hours.

Through its GROW fund, Advantis continues to support small- and medium-size nonprofits with grants of up to $10,000 for one-time capital expenses. Members and the public can vote for their favorite projects online; since 2011, the campaign has awarded $150,000 to 21 community organizations.

Unitus also was honored in the small-business category after contributing $66,890 in cash donations and raising $49,609 for nonprofit partners through internal fundraisers like Wine on the Willamette, an annual event that benefits Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Unitus employees volunteered nearly 1,200 hours in 2012, including serving as mentors in a unique Adopt-a-Class program that Unitus has sponsored since 2006. Last year, the credit union partnered with a third-grade class at Vestal School in Northeast Portland; in addition to four onsite visits, mentors wrote letters to students, gave each one a book during the annual Book Fair and participated in a year-end field trip to the Oregon Zoo.

The commitment to helping children and families didn’t stop there. Through its monthly Random Acts of Kindness program, Unitus made more than $12,000 in in-kind contributions to local charities and partner schools. It collected more than 3,300 new supplies in its back-to-school drive, and more than 3,700 items of food, clothing, toiletries and more in its annual holiday drive.

“Unitus is privileged to work with local organizations committed to improving the lives of individuals and families in the communities we serve,” says Patricia Smith, Unitus president and CEO. “This award is really about them—their daily sacrifice and commitment to make a positive difference in someone’s life.”


Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216, gstein@nwcua.org.

Posted in Awards.