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1st Financial FCU Celebrates First Year of New Community Development Program

1st Financial Federal Credit Union recently announced the results of its Helping People 1st Grant program in 2014. 1st Financial started the Helping People 1st Grant program to make a positive impact in the St. Louis area. As part of 1st Financial’s vision of “helping our members achieve their financial dreams,” this program was created to support nonprofit organizations that provide community assistance with an emphasis in education, housing, financial literacy, or job training. 

“The commitment our employees show to work for their communities touches my heart," says Carol Minges, chief executive officer (CEO) of 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. “We have a team of people that volunteer not because they have to serve. They volunteer because they have a calling to serve. Seeing their dedication to selflessly help others is another reminder for me about why it is so great to work for a credit union.”

Beginning in February, branch employees picked a new 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization to serve each month. The employees were encouraged to schedule paid volunteer time during work hours and hold fundraising activities to support the charity. At the end of each month, a nonprofit received a $500 contribution from 1st Financial as well as any additional donations earned from fundraising within the branches.

“Our focus is always on strengthening our community," says Tracy Verner, brand ambassador for 1st Financial. “We purposefully sought out 501(c) 3 charities who demonstrated the ability to affect real change in each of the four communities we serve. These personal collaborative experiences gave our employees insight and motivated them to do more- volunteering more, hold more fundraising events and creating more awareness for these wonderful causes!”                                                                                                                         

Verner shared that she looks forward to continuing the program in 2015.  

“Time and time again we made lasting connections with organizations whose core values are very close to our own and impacted the communities we serve!" says Verner. "I look forward to working with many of these allies again in 2015 and the years to come!”

In 2014, 1st Financial employees worked more than 462 hours of paid volunteer time scrubbing out storerooms, sorting canned goods, cleaning up gardens, and building part of a house. Over the course of the year, this program presented $15,624.65 to charitable organizations within the St. Louis area. These organizations included:

  • Gateway 180: Homelessness Reversed (Housing) (Education)
  • O.A.S.I.S. Food Pantry (Job Training)
  • PAKT Community Center (Education)
  • Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles County (Housing)
  • North Grand Neighborhood Services (Housing) (Education)
  • Willows Way (Housing) (Job Training)
  • KidSmart (Education) (Housing)
  • Connections to Success (Job Training) (Financial Literacy)
  • Youth In Need (Job Training)
  • Junior Achievement (Financial Literacy)
  • St. Louis Crisis Nursery (Education)

The Helping People 1st Grant program has had a long-term effect on the organizations that were served in 2014. 

“Some organizations talk about making a difference, but 1st Financial makes a difference,” says Toni Burrow, president of PAKT Community Center. “It is hard for me to put into words what I am feeling in my heart about what 1st Financial did for the PAKT organization this past year. The 1st Financial employees who served in the pantry were needed and much appreciated.” 

More than 300 individuals through the PAKT Community Center were served because of 1st Financial's efforts.  

"I am especially grateful for the collaborative partnership 1st Financial and PAKT has formed to help 'Fill the Need' of those we serve who are in crisis in the Ferguson and the North St. Louis County communities,” continues Burrow.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union will continue supporting the St. Louis area with the Helping People 1st Grant program in 2015, starting in January with the St. Charles City-County Library Foundation.

Caption: 1st Financial Federal Credit Union volunteers pack and deliver lunches for the Gateway180, a homeless shelter in downtown St. Louis.