Member News: Credit Unions Give Back


Northwest Community CU awards $58,000 in mini-grants to Oregon educators

Through its annual mini-grant program, Project Community, Northwest Community Credit Union awarded $58,000 to Oregon schools late last year. This month, 64 educators from 54 schools in 19 Oregon communities were presented with checks during Northwest Community CU’s surprise visits to classrooms.

“The opportunity to visit onsite and surprise teachers and classes in person gave us all added insight into the needs and challenges of public education today. We are honored to be able to celebrate these teachers and help them create meaningful learning experiences for students,” said Kim Clark, Northwest Community Credit Union Community Relations Coordinator.

Project Community helps educators create meaningful learning experiences for kids that might not otherwise be funded by school budgets. Educators submitted requests for classroom supplies, technology, and books, as well as special classroom projects, programs, or field trips.

This is the Project Community mini-grant program’s third year. To date, a total of 187 educators have been awarded over $164,000 in funding.

In 2018, these grants will be used to support creative curriculum and classroom experiences for elementary, middle, and high school students. Here are a few examples of initiatives the grants will make possible this year:

  • David Brannen at Grants Pass High School will purchase supplies so he can offer a new guitar building elective class. This class has been on the back burner with 100 students on the waiting list until it was made possible this year with help from the funding.
  • At Table Rock Elementary in White City, Rachel Bluth’s 3rd grade students will be able to visit the planetarium at North Medford High School. Rachel managed to land a spot in the popular field trip destination’s schedule for the first time but had no idea how she was going to fund it until Medford branch manager, Kelli Cox made the surprise check presentation visit.
  • At Willamette High School in Dain Nelson’s class, funding will go toward building an augmented reality sandbox. The sandbox will project 3-D topographical maps that respond to real-time changes, simulate water flows, and encourage student experimentation with geographic concepts.

“Education is crucial for strong local communities. We’re committed to helping teachers and students throughout Oregon,” said, John Iglesias, Northwest Community Credit Union President and CEO.

The full list of Project Community 2017 grant winners is available here. Check out the credit union’s celebration video highlighting the winning educators.

Harborstone Credit Union Mobilizes for United Way’s Slow Cooker ProjectHarborstone CU gives to United Way of Pierce County's Slow Cooker Project.

Harborstone Credit Union is committed to helping its staff seek out and organize opportunities to improve quality of life for the people in the communities it serves.

Its staff volunteer group, called Harborstone United Giving Support (H.U.G.S.) Team, helps fulfill that commitment. The team unites community partners and Harborstone staff by identifying needs within the community, and communicating opportunities in which staff may participate to make an impact.

This month, one of the credit union’s H.U.G.S.-sponsored opportunities benefited the United Way of Pierce County’s Slow Cooker Project. Through the project, the United Way distributes slow cookers to families in need. Two to four times per month throughout the year, these families receive “soup kits” with cooking instructions. Each recipe is designed to feed roughly eight people, and each is simple enough for an older child to prepare.

Mobilizing to aid the Slow Cooker Project’s efforts and promote the welfare of families in their communities, Harborstone employees organized a soup kit assembly event in Lakewood. Harborstone purchased hundreds of pounds of ingredients, as well as 100 Crock Pots, for the United Way program. The credit union’s in-kind donation to the program totaled $2,885. Harborstone employees mass produced three separate recipes during the event, making about 310 complete soup kits, which will feed about 2,480 hungry folks. The leftover ingredients were also donated to the United Way.

“The Slow Cooker Project has been a great way to engage more of our Harborstone peers with the efforts of our volunteer group,” said Mary Shuster, Project Manager/Business Analyst at Harborstone. “Bringing an opportunity to give back into the workplace has allowed staff that may not have as much free time at home a way to help their community.”

Posted in Around the NW.