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In 1844, a small group of weavers from Rochdale, England created the blueprint for how their newly-formed cooperative would operate and serve the local community. These values, known as the Seven Cooperative Principles, serve as the operating guidebook for credit unions and cooperatives throughout the world. This blog was created to honor that legacy and to showcase the everyday efforts of credit unions in the Carolinas that embody the cooperative mission and purpose.

 

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There's still time to join CMN's Change A Child's Life campaign

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Friday, April 21, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, April 12, 2017
 

Help Credit Unions for Kids Change a Child’s Life!

Change is coming to local credit unions as we kickoff the Credit Unions for Kids Change a Child’s Life coin drive.

The past response from members has been simply amazing, raising thousands of dollars to help sick kids. All funds raised will go directly to your local CMN Hospital to help kids in your community who may be fighting for their lives.   

To engage your members, place the FREE coin canisters in easy-to-spot locations, and ask members if they would like to donate. Don’t forget to ask at the drive thru too, as many members will have spare change in their car. Remember, every little bit of change adds up. Excitement is contagious!

The campaign runs through May 31, 2017. Every single penny helps! Did you know a single set of exercise mats, medicine balls, bolsters and other needed rehabilitative equipment, which help children re-learn movements after a serious trauma or illness, costs $500?!  A pediatric wheelchair, can cost upwards of $1,700, and an MRI of the brain and brainstem to find tumors and other abnormalities costs $17,000.

So how can you help?

  • Order Your Free Coin Canisters to place throughout the credit union offices at www.cu4kids.org/changedrive.
  • Download Marketing Materials at www.cu4kids.org/changedrive.
  • Help Change a Child’s Life! Remember – 100% of the funds collected will be distributed to the CMN Hospital that supports your community. 

A big THANK YOU to the credit unions who have already ordered their canisters: 

A huge THANK YOU to CO-OP Financial Services for underwriting this campaign, making it FREE for all credit unions to participate!  

Tags:  Children's Miracle Network 

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Center for Smart Financial Choices holds second annual youth event

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Principle Five: Education, training, and information. Credit unions educate and train members, employees and volunteers so they can contribute effectively to the development of the credit union. In addition, credit unions provide financial education for their members and the public.

 
Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines announces scholarship winners during the Center for Smart Financial Choices' Investing in Our Youth event April 18.  

The Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) in Winston-Salem hosted its second annual Investing in Our Youth event Tuesday, April 18. The event, which drew nearly 100 people, brought the community together to celebrate the CFSFC's role in providing financial education to young people, recognize 2017 scholarship winners, and raise funds for the organization's work. 

The event kicked off with the "Wish I Learned That in School" budget simulation, one of the CFSFCs core youth financial education programs. Young people and adults in attendance made a series of budget and lifestyle choices based on pre-selected job and income levels combined with a credit score.

Following the simulation, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines announced four scholarship winners awarded by the CFSFC, including two youth winners, one adult winner and one Hispanic/Latino scholarship winner. In order to qualify, applicants take two financial education classes and write an essay about their experience as part of their application package. 

 
Dave Carter, a CFSFC volunteer for four years,guides participants through the Wish I Learned That in School simulation.  

Originally founded as an association of Allegacy Federal Credit Union, the Center for Smart Financial Choices is today an independent 501(c)(3) organization. Formed during the height of the Great Recession, the CFSFC holds a mission of empowering all individuals to achieve financial wellness through all stages of life. 

The event closed with a keynote address by Lisa Nakawatase, who serves as a middle school teacher in the local school system. She also directs the Winston-Salem Forsyth County School System's dropout recovery program.

Nakawatase remarked that in addition to academics, teachers increasingly recognize the value in teaching life skills. "We have to take care of the whole child," she noted, while underscoring that financial literacy was a key life skill for students to carry forward. "When we combine academics and financial skills, we aid in building a stronger economy for ourselves," she noted.  

Nakawatase also stressed how important the CFSFCs work is in helping educators provide that life skill. After all, she noted "I'm not an expert at (teaching) finances." 

To learn more about the Center for Smart Financial Choices and its programs, please visit the organization's web site

 

Tags:  Principle Five  The Center for Smart Financial Choices 

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Help Credit Unions for Kids Change a Child’s Life

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, April 12, 2017

(Editor's note: special thanks to Carolina FCU, Health Facilities FCU, Palmetto Health CU and Welcome FCU for supporting this year's Change a Child's Life campaign! Read on for details on how your credit union can get involved.) 

 

It’s amazing what a little pocket change can do to help a child at a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Credit unions locally and across the nation are participating in Change a Child’s Life, a coin drive benefiting their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. 

Participating is easy and won’t cost the credit union a dime – that could be one more coin to add to the free canister! Ask members if they have any loose change or if they would like to donate the extra coins when cashing a check. Don’t forget members who come through the drive-thru! They often have a stash of coins in a cup holder that they are happy to donate. This campaign runs through May 31, 2017. Every single penny helps! It’s hard to imagine that a cancer treatment for one child costs $75,000 on average. Can we gather enough change to make a difference? The answer is “yes!”  How your credit union can get involved:

Remember – 100% of the funds collected will be distributed to the CMN Hospital that supports your local community. 

Every penny raised provides care for all children, regardless of severity of illness, intensity of injury or a family’s ability to pay bills which can be exorbitant – even with excellent insurance coverage. Money raised also funds critical equipment, community outreach programs, and ground-breaking medical research. Together, we can change a child’s life in our community.

A huge THANK YOU to CO-OP Financial Services for underwriting this campaign, making it FREE for all credit unions to participate!  

Tags:  Children's Miracle Network 

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Coastal Credit Union hosts first Principles and Philosophy Conference

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Updated: Friday, April 7, 2017

Maria Moore welcomes participants to Coastal Credit Union's first Principles and Philosophy Conference. 

Fifty employees of Coastal Credit Union participated in the credit union's first Principles and Philosophy Conference April 5-6. The event, which Coastal's Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) designed and hosted, took place at Camp Caraway near Asheboro. 

"This is Camp Coastal," President/CEO Chuck Purvis shared in his opening remarks to the mostly front line staff who were specifically chosen by their supervisors to attend the conference. Purvis underscored throughout the event the importance of the Seven Cooperative Principles and Coastal's ongoing mission to use them to meet the needs of the membership. 

The event began Wednesday with Empathy Mapping, an exercise where Coastal employees were given profiles of people struggling with various life and financial issues. Participants then worked together in small groups to determine what the people in these profiles were feeling, hearing, saying, seeing and doing. One such profile was "Susan," a 28-year-old mother of two recently diagnosed with cancer. A stay-at-home mother with no health insurance, her husband earns an income of $39,000 a year.

"Situations like these are playing out in the lives of our members each and every day," shared Maria Moore, AVP teller center, who planned the conference event with a team of Coastal CUDEs. "The Empathy Map exercise places our staff in the shoes of our members who are in difficult places in order to encourage care and compassion in a vulnerable situation."   

The lessons of the Empathy Map were taken a step further with the Life Simulation. During the simulation, participants are grouped into “families” that are struggling to make ends meet. During the four 15 minute "weeks" of the exercise, each participant plays a unique role within the family. Some might be working adults, while others might be unemployed or on disability. Some children may have behavioral issues or be living with a grandparent.

With each person playing their role, these simulated families visit a variety of booths, including a school, employer, pawn shop and payday lender. Through the exercise, they encounter events & financial crises faced by many Americans, including eviction, loss of utilities, lack of reliable transportation, crime, and the moment-to-moment stress of making ends meet. (Editor's note: the Life Simulation is available to credit unions and chapters in the Carolinas. Click here for more information.)

Eyes were opened and awareness broadened at the common events that many working families face during the Empathy Mapping and Life Simulation events. This heightening of the senses set the table perfectly for the immersive classroom time that followed, as the group learned and discussed the Seven Cooperative Principles. The sessions were all taught by Coastal CUDEs and focused on the history of the credit union and the movement, the meaning of each principle, the cooperative nature of the credit union, and how it all ties together into Coastal's "We Share" mission. 

On Wednesday evening, the focus shifted to the impact of credit unions globally, as Lois Kitsch, national program director for the National Credit Union Foundation, shared her experiences working with credit union systems abroad. Kitsch focused on two very different places she lived and worked as a representative of the World Council of Credit Unions: the Philippines and post-war Afghanistan. 

The connecting idea throughout these presentations is that credit unions operate on a pendulum between their business objectives on the one hand and their social impact goals on the other. Effectively balancing the need to make a profit versus the imperative of helping as many members as possible is vital to running a successful cooperative.  

On Thursday, participants were challenged to take what they learned back home with an Action Planning exercise that encouraged the staff to develop specific goals for their work. In this way, the attendees could bring what they learned to life on a day-to-day basis. They also heard from Purvis, Jim Pack and Creighton Blackwell how the senior management team of the credit union is working throughout the organization in a variety of ways to support and enhance the culture, work and mission of the credit union. 

Coastal recently completed a survey that showed 52% of its 230,000 members consider themselves financially unhealthy, meaning that they lived paycheck-to-paycheck with little or no emergency savings. "We have a longer-term vision for engaging in the communities within our 16 county service area to help people become financially healthy," said Purvis. "But our focus has to start with the people who already rely on the credit union for their financial services." 

"Never look down at a person unless you are trying to help them up," one participant remarked near the end of the event. Her thoughts captured the feelings of many others in the room, and demonstrated that the attendees are inspired and prepared to bring the Principles to life. 

Tags:  Coastal Credit Union  Principles and Philosophy 

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Volunteers needed for Financial Literacy Day in April!

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Principle Five: Education, training, and information. Credit unions educate and train members, employees and volunteers so they can contribute effectively to the development of the credit union. In addition, credit unions provide financial education for their members and the public.

Financial Literacy Day is less than a month away, and we need your help! The event happens Tuesday, April 25 in Columbia. On that day, volunteers from South Carolina credit unions will conduct a Reality of Money session with Columbia-area high school students. Later, a press conference will be held with lawmakers. 

The event takes place at the State House. Volunteers would be need to report at 8:30 am, with the event beginning at 10:00 am and ending at Noon. The press conference immediately follows at the State House. Duties include set-up of the event, staffing booths for the Reality of Money session, and assisting with the break-down of the room. Volunteers are also welcome and encouraged to attend the press conference. 

If you have questions, please contact Jeff Hardin (919-457-9063). You may RSVP your intention to volunteer to Sanjay Malhotra (South Carolina Federal). 

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