WECU Gives $110,000 to Local Organizations


WECU has announced Whatcom Dream, BAAY, Lummi Youth Academy, and Opportunity Council are the credit union’s 2019 recipients of Education First Grants, totaling $110,000. An internal panel reviewed 30 local applications.

“We did not anticipate such an enormous response,” said Reid Frederick, Director of Community Impact and Education First Chair. “There are so many nonprofits looking to do good work and need resources. We are proud of our team of dedicated community members and staff who volunteered their personal time and talents to review and assess each application.”

The volunteers worked in collaboration with The Giving Practice, a philanthropy consultant, and contributed individual expertise in areas of financial literacy, K-12 education, and nonprofit business analysis.

“As a financial institution, it is our duty to support financial literacy in our community,” Frederick continued. “We cannot expect to break the cycle of poverty without giving people the tools needed to succeed.”

When asked about other social issues in Whatcom County, Frederick spoke to the challenges faced by families.

“We know that, due to transportation and other economic struggles, educational institutions and their partnering nonprofits are well-positioned to meet the families where they are. This, combined with our desire to honor the educational roots of our cooperative, is why WECU committed to Education First.”

Jennifer Kutcher, WECU President and CEO, expects that the Education First Grant program will continue in 2020.

“WECU’s mission is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our members, and we commit ourselves to facing community challenges head-on.”  

2019 Education First Grant Awardees:

Whatcom Dream

Creates poverty-reducing pathways to build a community where marginalized individuals feel accepted, understood, connected and valued. Key programs are financial literacy courses, private financial counseling, poverty IQ workshops and simulation events.

Lummi Youth Academy

Residential shelter for vulnerable adolescents and young adults at risk of homelessness or experiencing adversity at home. Residential aids, an academic team, and medical professionals support youth by promoting a safe housing and learning environment, which is located directly across from K-12 Lummi Nation School.

Opportunity Council, Project X-it

Provides multi-generational financial literacy to income-eligible families. Adults participate in an incentivized savings program to meet predetermined goals while receiving mentorship and peer support. Children ages 3-5 enrolled in pre-school services receive age-appropriate financial education.


One of three branches of BAAY, EduArts provides after-school enrichment activities, bringing affordable arts education to public schools. The program includes elements of theatre, improv, visual arts, choir, guitar, and creative dance and is present in 10 local elementary and middle schools.

Posted in Member News.