Northwest Credit Unions Embrace the “People Helping People” Philosophy on International Credit Union Day


International Credit Union Day has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October since 1948, and is a day when credit unions around the world embrace the Credit Union Movement, show appreciation for their members, and give back to the community. This year, credit unions across the Northwest wholeheartedly embraced the day’s spirit of giving.

The Southwest Washington Chapter of Credit Unions conducted its first-ever Community Day. The credit unions of the chapter worked together to clean up neighborhoods, and do garden work and painting through a Habitat for Humanity partnership.

Harborstone Credit Union held an essay contest with the ICU Day 2017 theme, “Dreams Thrive Here.” Members and potential members were entered to win a $500 certificate account for telling Harborstone about their dreams and how the certificate could help them make those dreams a reality.

Portland, Oregon-based Sunset Science Park Federal Credit Union participated in CU Lunch Local on Oct. 17, an initiative in which credit unions support local businesses through a “cash mob.” Sunset Science Park FCU selected two local businesses, Bandito Taco and a coffee shop called Poppa’s Haven, and handed out two dollars to anyone visiting the business to apply toward their purchase, along with a credit union brochure.

Wauna Credit Union celebrated all month with $50 weekly giveaways to coincide not only with International Credit Union Day, but also with its 50th anniversary. On Oct. 19, it also gave away fun promo items, refreshments, and held raffles.

Exemplifying the cooperative spirit, volunteers from 20 Spokane-area credit unions gathered to renovate and revitalize Crosswalk Teen Shelter in Spokane. From cleaning and organizing to painting and basic maintenance work, credit union volunteers provided an entire day of service to Crosswalk. The non-profit emergency shelter serves more than 1,000 homeless teens, ages 13 to 17, each year. In addition to a safe place to sleep, the shelter provides lifesaving and life-changing programs dedicated to breaking the cycle of youth homelessness.

In addition to volunteer efforts, area credit unions donated more than $20,000 of goods and services to Crosswalk. This included updating the entertainment area, buying much needed computers for the organization, and a cash donation.

Credit unions providing financing, volunteers, or both included:

  • Alaska USA Credit Union
  • Avista Credit Union
  • BECU
  • Cheney Federal Credit Union
  • Firefighters Credit Union
  • GESA
  • Global Credit Union
  • Horizon Credit Union
  • Inspirus Credit Union
  • Numerica Credit Union
  • PrimeSource Credit Union
  • Progressions Credit Union
  • Sears Federal Credit Union
  • Safeway Credit Union
  • Spokane City Credit Union
  • Spokane Federal Credit Union
  • Spokane Law Enforcement Credit Union
  • Spokane Media Federal Credit Union
  • STCU

The project team in Spokane was joined by Troy Stang, President and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association.

Gesa Credit Union partnered with Second Harvest to serve those in need by hosting a Mobile Market (mobile food bank) on Oct. 19 in each of Gesa’s six regions – the largest Multi-Mobile Market event for Second Harvest. These Mobile Markets are open to the public and provide free, nutritious food. No documentation or proof of need is required.

“At the heart of credit unions is people helping people,” said Don Miller, President and CEO of Gesa Credit Union. “Food insecurity is a problem facing many in our communities and we are happy to lend our Member Service Centers as a convenient site for those in need.”

Second Harvest Community Impact Director Michele Roth said, “Gesa is a natural partner for this inaugural event. A common thread amongst both our mission statements is to create stronger Eastern Washington communities. The volunteerism, hunger advocacy, and financial support that Second Harvest has received from Gesa will enable us to serve hundreds of families that are facing food shortages at home.”

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