Harborstone Credit Union Pays it Forward 27 Times
With their internal competition and “12 Days of Pay it Forward,” Harborstone multiplied their impact.
January 12, 2015
Harborstone Credit Union’s President and CEO Phil Jones came back from Spokane with an idea. It was mid-October and Jones had just returned from the NWCUA’s Amplify Convention at the Spokane Convention Center, where the Association unveiled its Pay it Forward campaign for International Credit Union Day.
The campaign was simple: just go out and give away $114, the same amount that Northwest credit unions saved an average member household, and let the recipient know about the value of credit unions. Jones liked the idea, and thought that Harborstone could do something special with it.
He and his team riffed on the Pay it Forward campaign and came up with a plan: they would challenge each of Harborstone’s 27 departments and branches to come up with a way to serve their community with $114, and then Harborstone would fund those ideas.
The Family Justice Center
“My department is a small one,” said Michele Floyd, branch support manager at Harborstone, “so I just proposed my idea and they agreed.”
Two years ago Floyd’s family suffered a terrible tragedy. They lost two members of their family to domestic violence. “I became aware of the Family Justice Center too late,” she said.
In wake of their tragic loss, Floyd and her husband discovered the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center (FJC) in Tacoma, which offers comprehensive support to victims of domestic violence. They began annual toy and hygiene drives for the FJC, not only to offer practical help to people who needed it, but to raise awareness about domestic violence.
“No one wants to talk about it,” said Floyd. “But this is a big issue in our community. That center helps a lot of people out of some icky situations.”
Floyd and her teammates in the Harborstone sales and service department decided to use their $114 to support the FJC. “Originally we wanted to donate hygiene items,” she said, but then she called Craig Roberts, the FJC’s assistant director. “He told me that they have so many kids that come into the center this time of year who may not get a Christmas.”
Roberts suggested the Harborstone team create stockings filled with gifts for the kids who came into the center over the holidays, and they took on the challenge.
12 Days of Pay it Forward
Out of the original 27 projects, the Harborstone board chose the top 12 to be presented to the Harborstone community on Facebook. The community would be given the chance to vote for their favorite project, which would then receive a further $500 donation from Harborstone. They called this the 12 Days of Pay it Forward.
The top 12 projects were a tour de force of community engagement, from warm clothes for homeless people to food for hungry families and beyond, the Harborstone teams put their $114 to tremendous use. And when the votes were counted, Floyd and the sales and service department came out on top, earning the FJC a $500 donation.
“Thanks to the support of groups like Harborstone, the Family Justice Center is able to go above and beyond what a typical government organization can do,” said Roberts. “The money from Harborstone will go to our Victim Services Fund, which allows us to do things like send a cab for someone or put someone up in a hotel room in an emergency. We want everyone to know that we are a resource for them and their family and friends.”
As a special prize, the Harborstone board also awarded the sales and service department a $114 gift that they could use however they liked—a team dinner, lots of coffee, etc. But just as they finished handing over the check to the FJC, Floyd and her colleagues decided to donate the $114, too.
“There’s no better way to use that money,” said Floyd.
Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, firstname.lastname@example.org.