News & Notes: Here’s What’s Happening Around the Northwest

WECU Donates $46,220 to Local Nonprofits

Whatcom Educational Credit Union (WECU) made $46,220 in donations to 39 non-profits—and that’s just the second quarter tally.

The organizations were selected by WECU’s Social Responsibility Committee, which awards quarterly grants to support education, health and community concerns.

With over 72,700 members, WECU is Whatcom County’s largest member-focused, nonprofit financial cooperative, serving all residents of Whatcom County. The non-profits receiving donations this quarter include:

  • Alternative Humane Society – $500
  • Alzheimer Society of WA – $500
  • American Cancer Society – $500
  • Animals as Natural Therapy – $1,000
  • Arthritis Foundation of WA – $2,000
  • BALANCE – $3,060
  • Bank On North Sound – $500
  • Behind the Badge Foundation – $480
  • Bellingham Jazz Festival – $500
  • Bellingham Mountain Rescue – $2,000
  • Bellingham Senior Activity Center – $1,000
  • Bellingham Community Meal Program – $1,200
  • Blaine Family Service Center – $1,000
  • Blue Skies for Children – $900
  • BTC Child and Family Studies Program – $2,500
  • Drayton Harbor Music Festival – $300
  • Farming for Life – $250
  • Ferndale Art in the Park – $400
  • Ferndale Star Park Playground – $1,485
  • Growing Veterans – $1,200
  • Health Support Center – $1,350
  • Honor Works – $500
  • Lions Camp Horizon – $2,000
  • Lions Club – $925
  • Mount Baker Theater – $2,500
  • Muds to Suds – $300
  • New Way Ministries Playground – $920
  • Raspberry Festival – $5,000
  • RE Sources – $1,000
  • NWIC Scholarship – $1,000
  • WCC Scholarships – $2,000
  • Sean Humphrey House – $500
  • Volunteer Center of Whatcom County – $500
  • Whatcom Center for Early Learning – $2,000
  • Whatcom Sports Commission – $1,200
  • Whatcom Young Writers – $1,000
  • Wild Whatcom – $2,000
  • WWU Beta Alpha Psi – $250

The next deadline is August 7, 2014. Applications and further information about the Social Responsibility Committee can be found at or by contacting Maya Hartford by email at

Unitus Offers Free Lunch Fridays

There is such a thing as a free lunch—just ask Unitus Community Credit Union.

The Portland-based credit union’s “famous Free Lunch Friday” events at Unitus Plaza were in high gear on two Fridays in July, when Subway and On the Border Mexican Grill entrees were served. The next Free Lunch Friday event is August 1, when Famous Dave’s BBQ will be served.

Unitus invited attendees to “snap a selfie” during a free lunch event, post it to their Facebook page, and be entered to win a $50 VISA gift card.

Gesa, Members Raise over $90,000 for Community Shelters

Early in July, Richland-based Gesa Credit Union announced a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $15,000 to support the continued operation of the Safe Harbor Support Center and My Friend’s Place Teen Shelter in Kennewick. Well before the July 18 deadline, the community responded by exceeding the goals of the fundraising drive.

With Gesa’s match, Safe Harbor and My Friend’s Place will share $90,649.94 in donations.

“On behalf of our credit union members, volunteers and staff, I want to express my sincere appreciation for everyone who answered our call to help raise funds to keep the doors open at Safe Harbor Support Center and My Friends Place,” said Don Miller, Gesa’s president and CEO. “Credit unions exist to help not only their members but to improve the communities where their members work and live. When we support programs like the Safe Harbor Support Center and My Friend’s Place Teen Shelter we do just that: this organization works every day to make the Tri-Cities a better community for all.”

Credit Union Community Invited to WABC Summer Meeting

WABC Summer Meeting attendees will learn more about how Save to Win helps unbanked and under-banked consumers build their assets.

The Washington Asset Building Coalition will hold its Summer Membership Meeting on August 21, at JA World in Yakima, WA. Executive Director Stephanie Bowman has extended an invitation to credit union professionals, and registration is open online.

Formed in 2006, the WABC consists of private, public and nonprofit members including financial institutions, social service providers and housing and micro-enterprise groups. The coalition’s policy agenda focuses on expanding financial fitness, supporting savings and investment, and removing barriers to asset-building.

Amanda Brenneman, program manager for the Northwest Credit Union Association, is speaking about the Save to Win program. Designed to help under-banked and unbanked consumers build their financial assets, the program is now operating in six Washington credit unions and is available to others. Save to Win incentivizes savings with monthly, quarterly and annual cash prize drawings ranging in size from $50 to $5,000. The prize pool and operating expenses are provided by the member credit unions and the Northwest Credit Union Association, so money deposited by account holders stays in their accounts.

Questions about this story? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225,

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