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Montana FCU's Pay It Forward: Doing Good On the Fly
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (11/13/13)--With Veterans Day observed by the federal government, most financial institutions were closed on Monday. But one credit union based in Great Falls, Mont., gathered Monday for a community service seminar that resulted in a whimsical effort to improve peoples' lives with scant planning and a pocketful of cash.
 
Click to view larger image Kevin Hollingworth, left, and Martha Kennedy of Great Falls-based Montana FCU examine a child's coat with Western Ranch Supply manager Larry Kelly.  They were part of nine groups of credit union employees who were given $73 each to do some good on the fly. (Photo by Larry Beckner provided by the Great Falls Tribune)
Employees at Montana FCU, encouraged by seminar organizers to act on good intentions, were split into nine groups of six-to-eight people, and given $73 and two hours to make a positive impact on the town's residents (Great Falls Tribune Nov. 11).
 
 The two-hour time constraint and a $73 budget "is kind of a stickler," so the project needed to be along the lines of a pay-it-forward concept, said Becky Timmons, seminar organizer and Montana FCU vice president of marketing. She told the Tribune the groups had to use the money to make somebody's day "a little bit brighter."
 
Inspired by a Great Falls Chamber of Commerce project that encouraged community participation, the groups were dispatched to different parts of Great Falls and told to spend the money at neighborhood businesses.
 
One group picked up the tab for customers at a drive-through coffee house and convinced a store to donate a child's winter coat--while making purchases for an elementary school's charity winter clothing drive--before rounding out its impromptu cash mob buying sodas and coffees for people at the Veteran of Foreign Wars post.
 
Although she is not one to drop everything and do this type of thin, "this is really fun," remarked Montana FCU employee Amy Hodges remarked during the micro-spree.

Organizers decided to give each group $73 in honor of the 73rd anniversary, commemorated this year, of Montana FCU's founding. That added up to $657 in random disbursements on Monday.
 
Montana FCU, which has $196 million in assets, has given $115,000 to community organizations over the past two years.
 
The Credit Union National Association encourages credit unions to participate in such events as part of the leagues' and CUNA's Unite For Good campaign, which spreads awareness about the community-oriented focus of credit unions and their value.  For more information, use the links.
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