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Plenty Of CU Stories Ignite Unite For Good Campaign
MADISON, Wis. (9/3/13)--The credit union world is full of stories, human ones, where credit unions have made life better by sharing their people helping people tradition and making a difference. But many people still aren't aware of the things credit unions that are so different.
 
Click to view larger image Credit Union National Association Vice President of Marketing and Communications Amy Nigrelli gave a tour of the revamped CUNA.org, which launched in March, during new league staff orientation last week in Madison, Wis. The site offers improved navigation and search functionality and allows CUNA to better highlight major events and campaigns, such as the Unite For Good and the Don't Tax My Credit Union campaigns. The Unite for Good site is collecting stories about the good credit unions do.
The Credit Union National Association and the state leagues created the Unite for Good campaign so that credit unions share their stories and show they bring value not only to their members, but to the community at large. The campaign rallies around three prongs--building awareness, fostering service excellence and removing barriers--to help credit unions move to the shared vision of Americans choosing credit unions as their best financial partner.
 
Unite for Good was one of the programs discussed last week in a league staff orientation and training session conducted on the credit union campus in Madison, Wis.  Staff from CUNA and other organizations discussed the various programs, including Unite for Good and the efforts to preserve credit unions' tax status. CUNA's Madison campus staff also attended, receiving one of their many regular updates on credit union issues and programs.
 
Click to view larger image Jeff Carpenter, Credit Union National Association vice president of membership development, highlighted CUNA's Unite For Good campaign, which works toward the shared vision in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner, during league staff orientation at CUNA's Madison, Wis., location last week. (Photos provided by CUNA)
CUNA's Unite for Good website, www.uniteforgood.org, is collecting examples of what social good credit unions are doing. Other sites such as the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas cusocialgood site also are inviting credit unions to share their work, and several leagues are collecting examples and helping promote credit unions' good work in their state.
 
In a nutshell, here are four examples of the most recent ventures credit unions have undertaken to help others. Note that in each instance, the members take away information or skills they can use for the future, and in some cases the credit union works along with the members it is helping.
 
In Indianapolis, FORUM CU launched Bright Start, a youth entrepreneur program that promotes early entrepreneurial skills for kids and teens. The credit union said it believes an entrepreneurial spirit can positively impact a child's life by teaching responsibility, promoting financial independence, improving communication skills and inspiring self esteem. It also provides detailed steps--such as conceptualizing an idea, marketing and running the business--youth can take to create and run their own business.  FORUM's program also sponsored a contest for kids with their own business. Youth ages 8-19 could submit a two-minute video explaining their business and what they've learned from it. Forum awarded $100 to each of three winners.
 
In Wichita, Kan., a team of Meritrust CU employees, including President/CEO James Nastars and two leadership teams headed by Byron Stout, vice president of human resources, and Jamie Taulbee, vice president of marketing, spent Saturday, Aug. 26, priming and painting the finishing touches for one of the new Habitat for Humanity homes being built in the Cottonwood Corner community in north Wichita. The homes are for well-deserving families who themselves have put in sweat equity toward building the homes.
 
A part of a Habitat for Humanity Community Challenge, Meritrust partnered with several businesses to build the home.  Helping our neighbors is a priority for Meritrust," said Nastars.  "These folks have worked hard to fulfill their dream of home ownership, and we're honored to be a part of helping them reach their goal."
 
While youth often receive financial education, one credit union, FivePoint FCU in Nederland, Texas, partnered with five nonprofit organizations in Jefferson, Hardin and Orange counties to teach and provide financial education to adults. The credit union reached 266 adults in 18 financial education sessions and 20 financial counseling sessions, both in person and through webinars. FivePoint FCU was awarded a first-place state level Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award by the Cornerstone Credit Union League for its program (Leaguer Aug. 27).
 
At Northwest FCU in Herndon, Va., 85 children and one oversized dog--Westie, the credit union's Youth Savings Club mascot--enjoyed a day of storytelling at each of its six branches. The summer reading program was a "thank you" to its youngest members for saving their money in the club.
 
Members of the Yorkshire Volunteer Fire Department joined in at Northwest's Manassas branch. Firefighters read stories and shared safety tips and stickers with the children, who had a chance to climb aboard and explore a fire engine. Northwest staff and firefighters also visited the nearby Children of America Education Childcare and Academy to read and discuss safety.
 
At the Leesburg branch, Northwest's youngest business account holder, 14-year-old Grayson Albers, CEO of GG's Frozen Treats, provided refreshments. Children received goodies and a copy of Westie's Triple Decker Decision, a book written by Joelle Hahn, senior marketing specialist.  "It's a tale of mascot Westie's special 'Allowance Friday' and teaches the importance of balancing how you save, spend and share your money," Hahn said. The book also teaches sign language for the key words "save," "spend" and "share."
 
Northwest President/CEO Chris McDonald said it is important that parents help shape their children's attitudes and understanding of money early on. "These lessons learned in childhood go a long way in creating a next generation of financially responsible adults."
 
Credit unions with programs that demonstrate their difference can share their stories at www.uniteforgood.org.
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