Credit Unions Support High School Rebuilding After Arson

The South Albany High School Choir performs last year at Disneyland. The choir’s classroom, robes and other equipment were destroyed in the fire.

Northwest credit unions are rallying to raise money for South Albany High School in Albany, Oregon after an arson attack destroyed the building housing their cafeteria and band facilities, causing over $1 million in damage. The Northwest Credit Union Foundation (NWCUF) has committed $5,000 to seed a rebuilding fund, to which you can donate by clicking here.

“Education is at the heart of credit unions’ commitment to our communities,” said Denise Gabel, Executive Director of the NWCUF. “Seeing South Albany High’s cafeteria and band facility destroyed impacts our region. Credit unions are proud to step up and support the project of rebuilding.”

The cafeteria made an estimated 80,000 meals per month for students throughout the region, many of whom come from low-income families and rely on the reduced-cost or free school lunches. Losses in the band facility included instruments, choir facilities, uniforms and more.

Isaac Andrew, South Albany High’s band director, said the band facility was more than a structure. “More than just a building or classrooms, the band and choir rooms are like a second home for many students,” he said. “Many memories are made there each year and we teach and learn much more than just how to play and sing and read notes.”

Andrew is confident that South Albany High’s music program will thrive, despite this setback. “Even now we have loaned instruments for the students to use the rest of this year and we will perform our scheduled concerts and festivals,” he said. “With the support of our community and each other we will persevere and recover stronger than we were before!”

A number of credit unions have already responded with pledges of support, including Red Canoe Credit Union, which pledged $3,000 to the rebuilding fund.

“When we heard of the devastating fire at South Albany High School, we joined with other local credit unions and our state association to pool funds together and help provide emergency food services to local area kids,” said Amy Davis, vice president of marketing at Red Canoe. “We’re proud to join the many other citizens and local businesses who are donating money to help stabilize school food service and ensure children will not be at further risk of hunger.”

Aimee Addison, development director at the Albany Public Schools Foundation, said that the community was rallying behind South Albany High in an inspiring way. “Ever since the fire we’ve been getting calls with offers to donate instruments or other things that were lost,” said Addison. “It’s been remarkable to see this community rally together.”

Addison added, “We are really grateful for the support of Northwest credit unions in responding to this tragic event. It speaks volumes about their investment in the community to see how quickly and generously they are responding.”

To join in the rebuilding effort, click here to add your support to the NWCUF South Albany High School Rebuilding Fund.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790,

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