Credit unions across the southeast have continued to remain vigilant and proactive as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic spreads. Credit unions take pride in helping all people afford life. That’s why many have begun offering assistance in their local communities.
Alabama Teachers Credit Union: Since the pandemic began, ATCU has committed more than $10,000 strictly for the support of local small businesses. Branches ahve purchased gift cards from local restaurants and pass those out in the drive-thrus, distributed food to children in need and even supported local mission centers with supplies.
Alabama Credit Union: To help its business members navigate the unprecedented financial challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the economy, Alabama Credit Union secured $3.2 million in Payroll Protection Program (PPP) funding for 116 businesses, saving more than 500 local jobs. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Alabama Credit Union was not an approved Small Business Administration lender, but when relief funds were announced, Alabama Credit Union moved quickly to secure SBA approval.
All In Credit Union: All In Credit Union recently partnered with The Full Tummy Project of Covington County to donate school supplies to Andalusia City Schools. The Full Tummy Project is currently collecting supplies for children who are in need of them while they are out of school for the remainder of the year, due to COVID-19. Donations were made by All In Credit Union employees in an effort to give back to the community. This donation will allow students to continue their education at home during these times of uncertainty.
“We are proud to assist local schools in supplying their students with materials to continue their education from home,” stated Kathy Scarbrough, All In Credit Union’s Vice President of Marketing. “We know that not every student has access to what is provided in schools, and we are happy to help in any way that we can through these unfortunate circumstances.”
America’s First Federal Credit Union: America’s First Federal Credit Union (AmFirst FCU) partnered with ABC 33/40, The CW 21, and My 68 WABM during the month of July to host a food drive benefiting Community Food Bank of Central Alabama. Through the program, called “Feeding Alabama,” AmFirst FCU collected $25,675 in donations and 20,672 food items, as well as donations. Every $1 donated helped provide as many as eight meals, so altogether AmFirst helped provide more than 205,000 meals for local families in need. Additionally, all of the food donations provided more than 17,000 meals.
ASE Credit Union: The credit union donated to the Small Business Relief Fund through the Montgomery Chamber. This money goes to fund grants for local small businesses that have experienced hardships during this time. ASE also ran the ASE Hunger Games. Everyday for more than a month, the CU featured one locally-owned restaurant on social media. Along with the restaurant’s bio, the CU listed its contact info and any pick-up specials it was having at that time (restaurants were closed except for pick-ups only). This helped keep local businesses afloat during a time when sales were limited. The credit union also implemented the ASE Hospital Snack Delivery Program. Along with the LSCU, ASE purchased single-serve snacks for all the hospitals in the areas it serves. The CU delivered thousands of snacks to healthcare workers to enjoy. The CU also used the ASF and ASE Mask Program: to support the Alabama Shakespeare Foundation by making a donation to their costume department’s mask making efforts. ASF made masks and distributed them to healthcare workers across our area.
Auburn University Credit Union: The credit union is sponsoring a special promotion for local nurses being done with iHeart Media. Listeners can nominate local nurses to win the sponsorship money along with other prizes. The credit union has also donated extra masks to East Alabama Medical Center and has been ordering lunch for the staff on Fridays from local restaurants that deliver. In addition, Auburn University CU will be participating in the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation’s Credit Unions Care Challenge.
New Horizons Credit Union: New Horizons Credit Union’s Staff through charity jeans days and the Horizons Helping Hands program answered the request for The Penelope House, which provides safety, protection, and support to the victims of Domestic Violence and their children, to raise funds to help purchase needed supplies for their shelter. Because collected items cannot be accepted – in case of COVID-19, funds were raised totaling $500 for the organization.
Achieva Credit Union. As the COVID-19 pandemic began to have a negative impact on the communities we serve, we began looking for ways to help our neighbors outside of traditional banking needs. With small business owners urgently looking for guidance and solutions to keep their businesses afloat, Achieva was approached by Chamber of Commerce and other community partnerships and stepped up to put together and host a highly attended educational webinar including other industry professionals, offering guidance and directly answering attendee questions about government funding opportunities including Payroll Protection Program.
Additionally, we recognized the growing food insecurity that many were experiencing and put together a donation drive with our staff, members and the community at large. In total this effort allowed us to contribute $275,000 to six organizations in six counties.
Most recently, we have launched a payroll bridge loan product for teachers experiencing an unexpected paycheck gap. This provides peace of mind for those who are so critical to our community success by supporting the education system in a time when they are undoubtedly experiencing increased stress and uncertainty. The loan requirements are very simple and intended to provide fast and easy approval. To make the process even simpler, the employment verification is managed directly with school administration in order to expedite the process. Additionally, repayment will be automatically deducted from their school payroll to eliminate the need to keep up with additional due dates and payments. This product was created, launched and marketed within a week’s time, receiving tremendous initial response.
121 Financial Credit Union: The credit union is making free financial wellness resources available to the public to help with financial issues during this difficult time. The public can access information on the upcoming stimulus federal payments, their eligibility and likely payment amounts, how the money is to be distributed and a wealth of content from Greenpath Financial Wellness at https://121fcu.org/stimulus. The credit union is also hosting a contest with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp t have members of the community color the Jumbo Shrimp mascot. On May 1, the credit union and the Jumbo Shrimp will award three cash (gift card) prizes: $250 for first place; $100 or second place; and $50 for third.
Addition Financial: Addition Financial donated more than $30,000 to support local school districts, higher education partners and non-profit organizations. These donations will benefit COVID-19 relief efforts, provide food for families, and assist school districts in providing Wi-Fi to facilitate virtual learning. Addition Financial also donated its supply of 4,000 masks to Orlando Health.
To support small businesses and give back to local non-profits, Addition Financial recently participated in the “Credit Unions Care Challenge,” presented by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU).
Through this initiative, Addition Financial purchased lunches for its employees throughout the month of April, encouraging branches and departments to choose takeout options at locally-owned restaurants. In response, LSCU matched these funds to donate back to the credit union to make an impact in the community.
With these matched funds, Addition Financial has donated to Orange County Public Schools, Seminole County Public Schools, Lake County Public Schools, Osceola School District, IMPOWER and The Village.
In addition, the credit union donated 2,000 respirator masks to AdventHealth and Orlando Health. Addition Financial has also purchased gift certificates from several locally-owned restaurants.
To read more about Addition Financial’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit www.additionfi.com/coronavirus.
CAMPUS USA Credit Union: The credit union volunteered to cover the cost of the majority of meals that Alachucha County Public Schools provided to help keep students fed during spring break.
Calhoun Liberty Employees Credit Union: Using a local restaurant that is operating drive thru only to prepare the food Calhoun Liberty has provided lunches to essential workers in the Calhoun and Liberty County area. Lunches have been delivered to all the Courthouse Constitutional offices, two County Sheriff’s Departments, Local Police Department, multiple Doctor’s offices, multiple drugstores, Ambulances crews, road department crews, and several gas stations. The credit union fed all the employees of the only two local grocery stores, Ramsey’s Cash Savers and Ramsey Piggly Wiggly. It was also able to include the largest trucking company in the panhandle area, Shelton’s Trucking, and all their local employees. All these meals were to benefit local people who are essential, who continue working and trying to support our communities through this difficult time. The credit union plans to continue these efforts with more local business and essential workers.
Calhoun Liberty Credit Union recently donated $5,000 in grocery coupons to the Calhoun County School District’s Back Pack program to assist in feeding local school children.
The credit union has also partnered with Innovative Charities of Northwest Florida, Inc., donating $10,000 to assist in feeding children in both Calhoun and Liberty Counties. Through this collaboration we are able to provide 8,000 meals to children, these are being distributed during Innovative Charities regularly scheduled food pantry for Calhoun and Liberty Counties in the months of June and July.
The Calhoun Liberty Credit Union also helped recognize the graduating High School Seniors in their service area. The Credit Union purchased a canvas print of all the 2020 High School Seniors in Calhoun and Liberty Counties. The prints were 2 ft x 3 ft, large enough to be displayed by each school so the public could view all the portraits. After the display, each senior was presented their print. This was just another way the Calhoun Liberty Credit Union makes a difference in their communities.
Coastline Federal Credit Union: The credit union joined with several other local credit unions — including VyStar Credit Union — to contribute $1,000 to Rethreaded, a local non-profit that employees women who are coming out of Human Trafficking to employ them to sew masks for St. Vincent’s Hospital.
Community South Credit Union: The credit union supported local restaurants duringthe quarantine and its dedicated employees daily at all three branches located in Chipley, Bonifay and Defuniak Springs. In all, the credit union invested $4,858 in meals from surrounding eateries.
ECU Credit Union: To support small business and give back to a local non-profit, ECU Credit Union participated in the “Credit Unions Care Challenge,” presented by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions. After employees used funds set aside by ECU to spend at local businesses, matched funds were donated to a community food bank in Pinellas County.
FSU Credit Union: As part of the local #CUStrong initiative, FSU Credit Union donated in honor of its employees to area organizations that are helping fight hunger in local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic: Second Harvest of the Big Bend and the Emergency Student Relief funds for the main FSU campus and the FSU Panama City campus. The $1,000 donation to Second Harvest of the Big Bend was contributed during its “Feeding Hope” campaign, in which all donations were matched by a private donor. The $1,500 in donations to the FSU Emergency Relief funds, which aid students not only experiencing food insecurity, but who are struggling with distance learning needs, rent money, and medical bills, were made in conjunction with the FSU Great Give Campaign to help increase awareness and drive additional donations.
GTE Financial: GTE Financial chose the YMCA as their April charity of the month. YMCA has turned their facilities into childcare for essential workers during this time so on Good Friday we delivered games, candy and bunny grams to these children. GTE is also supporting the YMCA with a dollar donation raised through jeans day contributions, raffles and a virtual craft fair. Halfway through the month, we’ve already raised $4,700 and will continue to add to that in the upcoming weeks.
iTHINK Financial: iTHINK Financial Credit Union was one of the first financial institutions in the country to process loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as a certified SBA 7(a) lender. iTHINK Financial received applications from nearly 500 businesses in the first PPP stimulus package and loaned over $33 million before funding ran out last Thursday morning, April 16, 2020. They have nearly 200 more business applications ready to receive assistance when the program is reinstated. The Paycheck Protection Program, created by the CARES Act, ran through its allocated $349 billion in less than two weeks. Another $310 billion in funding has recently become available for small businesses in need. iTHINK Financial’s team had an unprecedented response to the PPP. National reports indicate that only 8% of small business applications received money through the first phase of the PPP. The iTHINK Financial team worked tirelessly during the first round of fundings and were able to provide funds for 84% of the small businesses that applied for assistance through iTHINK Financial.
Jackson County Teachers Credit Union: The credit union has fed each doctors office employee and pharmacy employee in its county. Jackson County Teachers also supplied each school in the county with monetary donations to cover the extra expense for doing home school paper packets. This donation covered paper, toner and pencil expenses. The credit union had medical masks made for our home health care providers and was featured in our local newspaper for ‘Going Red’ to show our support for all the front line employees during this pandemic.
Pen Air Federal Credit Union: Pen Air partnered with local chambers to be a drop-off site for medical supply donations for the community. Thousands of masks and PPE supplies were collected. The credit union also provided lunches for two weeks for our local COVID testing and call center locations ($2,000). Pen Air employees are making masks for staff and also donating to organizations within the community. The credit union provided branded reusable bags to the USO of Northwest Florida to provide snacks, family activities and financial education to active duty families at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Pen Air partnered with Navy Federal CU so we could provide 2,400 masks to our local USO to distribute to the students at Naval Air Station Pensacola. The credit union partnered with Eggfest, the Pensacola Police Department, and Manna Food Pantry to provide over 800 meals to families and students in need. Pen Air gave an additional $10,000 to Manna Food Pantry to feed those in need. The credit union gave Prodisee Pantry $10,000 to feed those in need. Pen Air gave each employee $40 to purchase dinner for their families from a local area restaurant. The credit union is participating in the #CUCaresChallenge and providing each of our employees $25 each to spend at a local small business or restaurant.
PriorityONE Credit Union: On behalf of the credit union, the CAT Committee had lunch delivered to 45 firefighters/paramedics in Coral Springs. A week later, the credit union did the same in Sunrise
Suncoast Credit Union: Suncoast Credit Union recently donated 500,000 meals to feeding Tampa Bay. The donation will be matched by the Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund, for a total of 1 million meals to be offered to those affected by the current COVID-19 crisis.
Tropical Financial Credit Union: As South Florida restaurants and retailers slowly start to re-open, Tropical Financial Credit Union is handing out extra cash to employees to help fuel an economic comeback.
The not-for-profit financial institution is giving gift cards of $500 to each team member in the South Florida Region to spend on local businesses. The total amount is $85,000 to coincide with Tropical Financial’s 85th anniversary which occurred in March.
“As a home-grown business that has been in the community for 85 years, we wanted to do something special to support other local companies at a very critical time,” said Rich Helber, Tropical Financial President/CEO. “So, in collaborating with our board of directors, we felt the best way to accomplish that was by putting extra money in the hands of our employees. They get to buy something for themselves as a reward for their hard work, while helping out the greater good.”
The credit union is encouraging employees to post photos of themselves on social media as they redeem their gift cards to showcase and promote the businesses they are supporting.
Throughout the COVID-19 ordeal, Tropical Financial has stepped up in a big way to support its members and the community at large.
Loan officers have been working closely with borrowers facing economic hardships to defer payments on mortgages and car loans. The credit union has also offered interest free personal loans to help provide a short-term financial bridge for those who need some immediate relief paying bills. It is also processing loan applications for the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other small business loans. Collectively, they have helped members in different ways on over $150 million in loans.
In February, the credit union donated $2,500 to the American Red Cross to help with COVID-19 relief efforts. In March, it partnered with other local companies and a foundation to feed 270 medical personnel at Memorial Hospital West. And most recently the credit union has supported the Rotary Club of Weston’s Feeding the Frontline program which has served meals to health care workers and other first responders throughout Broward County.
USF Federal Credit Union: USF Federal Credit Union (USF FCU) donated meals to Tampa General Hospital’s (TGH) frontline staff as a thank you for their tireless dedication to keeping the Tampa Bay area safe by battling the spread of coronavirus. Three hundred healthy meals were prepared and delivered by Harvest Bowl Eatery & Market of Seminole Heights. USF Federal Credit Union is helping more than 2,400 employees of small businesses in the Tampa Bay area continue to get paid as the credit union processed more than $15 million in federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
Velocity Community Credit Union: Velocity Community Credit Union was proud to partner with Bagel Boyz in Jupiter to provide 150 breakfast sandwiches for the front line employees at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, located near our Main Office in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Being able to express our appreciation and gratitude for the hard-working healthcare professionals who are putting their lives on the line to care for our community while supporting a local business is truly what being a community credit union is all about.
VyStar Credit Union: The City of Jacksonville and VyStar Credit Union are collaborating on a loan program to assist local small businesses affected by the COVID-19 response. Eligible businesses can apply for low-cost loans of up to $100,000 with less-stringent underwriting requirements and flexible repayment terms. Jacksonville businesses affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) can apply for the City of Jacksonville COVID-19 Community Relief Loan. Click here for more information. In addition, to help small businesses the credit union reached out to help various nonprofit organizations, including Rethreaded, United Way of Northeast Florida, the Jacksonville Arts & Music School and Feeding Northeast Florida. Feeding Northeast Florida received $25,000 to help employ restaurant chefs who lost work due to the recent crisis. VyStar also donated its old IT equipment to help students and low-income workers who are forced to access classes or jobs online.
Atlanta Postal Credit Union: Atlanta Postal Credit Union (APCU) donated 10,000 KN95 protective face masks to Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals in Atlanta, Macon, and Columbus.
CGR Credit Union: CGR converted a storefront branch to help serve members in the outlying community of Milledgeville
Coosa Valley Credit Union: The credit union did a mass social media push of support to the communities and wrote thank you letters to front line and essential employees on its staff.
Core Credit Union: Core Credit Union sponsored a program in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce in Statesboro that allows small businesses to pay it forward and the credit union matches the amount being paid up to $150.
Excel Federal Credit Union: The credit union recently distributed more than 110 care packs to members in need during the COVID-19 crisis. The credit union gathered supplies including paper towels, tissues, toilet paper, food items and cleaning supplies, and invited members to pick up the supplies at its main branch in Peachtree Corners on March 26. Credit union employees Britney Bailey, Troy Barnes, Larry Benator, Tom Hayden and Coretta Wallace – donning masks and gloves – took packages of the supplies to members’ cars to ensure safe social distancing for everyone. Click here for more information.
Georgia United Credit Union: Amid already challenging times due to the coronavirus pandemic, residents in Murray County are now also dealing with the aftermath of devastating storms on April 12. Georgia United’s two Dalton branches, located at 605 Calhoun Street and 1412 Chattanooga Avenue, combined efforts to supply $700-worth of donations to those in need. During the week of April 13, the credit union also delivered curbside care packages including supplies, meals and snacks to the hospital administration who oversee the frontline workers. A total of 107 meals were provided for the ER and ICU tams working third shift at Rockdale Piedmont in Conyers. Georgia United Foundation donated 10 Chromebooks totaling $2,350 to the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System for underprivileged students who are continuing their education while distance learning. This donation will help bridge the educational gap, giving all students the opportunity to learn at home. Georgia United Credit Union donated $2,500 to Athens Area Community Foundation to help provide food for Clarke County School District staff and unemployed hospitality workers and families. Through combined efforts with community partners, 110 cars were served
Georgia Heritage Federal Credit Union: Georgia Heritage Federal Credit Union donated 10 Chromebooks totaling $2,350 to the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System for underprivileged students who are continuing their education while distance learning. This donation will help bridge the educational gap, giving all students the opportunity to learn at home. Georgia Heritage Federal Credit Union is also honoring fellow frontline workers in the Savannah community with Thank You Thursdays. In an effort that began on May 21st, Georgia Heritage is setting aside each Thursday until June 11th to recognize members and branch employees serving the community with dedication and perseverance throughout the pandemic. Members and branch employees will be honored throughout the day on G100FM and BOB106.9. Additionally, Georgia Heritage staff will deliver tokens of appreciation to these community heroes.
Go Energy Financial: The credit union donated money to the Paulding Chamber of Commerce to help feed health care workers at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in Dallas, Ga.
Health Center Credit Union: As a department of Augusta University, Health Center Credit Union is supporting AU Health, #OurAUHeroes, the students of Augusta University and our local community through monetary and gift card donations. A donation of $2,250 was made to the Augusta University via the AU Emergency Response Fund ($1,000), Student Emergency Fund ($500), Open Paws Food Pantry ($500) and #OurAUHeroes gift card program (25 – $10 Zaxby’s gift card)
Lanier Federal Credit Union: The credit union delivered 4-foot sized thank you cards with heartfelt notes of encouragement and appreciation to Northeast Georgia Medical Center. The credit union will also be distributing Chick-fil-A gift cards to show appreciation to nurses, doctors and emergency staff over the next few weeks. The credit union is also communicating with the Hall Co Humane Society to assist with the care needs of their housed animals. The credit union has recently donated funds to sponsor a local ministry, Feed the Need, which supplies food and necessities to the local homeless of Hall County.
LGE Community Credit Union: LGE Community Credit Union, driven by the mission of “people helping people,” recently completed several initiatives to support the community amid the pandemic.
In an effort to both support local restaurants and show appreciation for front-line medical staff, LGE delivered more than 500 lunches to four local hospitals across the counties it serves. LGE delivered lunches from Four41 South Catering in Canton to Northside Hospital Cherokee, lunches from Cheeseburger Bobby’s in Hiram to Wellstar Paulding Hospital, lunches from Dave Poe’s BBQ in Marietta to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, and lunches from Lucky’s Burgers and Brew in Roswell to Wellstar North Fulton Hospital.
LGE employees organized an internal food drive to support three local non-profit organizations supporting those in the community most affected by the pandemic: MUST Ministries in Marietta, Warehouse of Hope in Douglasville, and North Fulton Community Charities in Roswell.
Even though graduation ceremonies are being held virtually, LGE could not miss the opportunity to celebrate the winners of its annual service scholarship program. LGE worked with the school districts and principals to make a special surprise visit for each student. The winners of LGE’s 2020 Service Scholarships are:
General Scholarship Winner ($3,000): Anthony Minella, Milton High School
Cobb County School District Winner ($5,000): Samuel Luong, Wheeler High School
Cherokee County School District Winner ($5,000): Alanis “Laney” Broussard, Woodstock High School
Marietta City Schools Winner ($5,000): Kyle Brown, Marietta High School
North Georgia Credit Credit Union: North Georgia Credit Union CEO Brian Akin will be serving on the Stephens County Industrial Development Authority’s Toccoa-Stephens County Economic Recovery Task Force. Akin also serves as board chairman of the development authority. The credit union has also run ads on radio stations encouraging the community to shop local.
Southeastern Credit Union: Southeastern Credit Union recently announced a $25,000 donation to local organizations that provide meals to those in need.
United 1st Federal Credit Union: The credit union made $500 contributions to food shelters in service areas and in some cases provided money to facilitate school lunches for low-income children in the area. Staff in branches also performed their own activities benefiting local communities.