Help us salute the 2018 Wisconsin winners of the Dora Maxwell Award, which recognizes social responsibility.
This award - which highlights charitable work, community outreach and volunteerism - is named after Dora Maxwell, an early credit union pioneer who organized hundreds of credit unions, developed volunteer organizer clubs and worked with organizations to help people in need.
The credit union, is a certified Community Development Financial Institution, meaning a significant majority of the membership is considered low-income. Royal held its first Community Give Back Day on Columbus Day, with nearly 600 team members working to make a impact on local homelessness and hunger.
A committee planned the event for many months, looking for ways the effort could impact children, families and seniors. Five local businesses provided donations and Royal team members raised $350 through jeans days to fund the effort.
A total of 512 transition totes with cleaning supplies and 371 backpacks with hygiene products were delivered by Royal team members to homeless individuals or those in transitional housing.
A single-family homeless shelter in Whitehall, Wisconsin was also fixed up, including important safety repairs and “homey” touches like lamps and curtains. Progress was made on a Habitat for Humanity house build in Rice Lake.
More than 4,000 sandwiches were prepared for the homeless in the Twin Cities. Other helping hands visited thrift stores, food pantries and other non-profits to perform projects like cooking meals, raking leaves, painting rooms and sorting inventory. A total of 60 organizations received help.
The credit union closed its offices on Columbus Day for "Lend a Hand Day." More than 140 management and staff from nine locations provided more than 1,120 hours of community service by dividing into teams and performing cleaning, painting, landscaping, organizing and other assistance to various organizations.
Efforts helped schools, pantries, a teen closet, thrift shop, bike trail, historical society, library, city grounds, county fairground, Habitat for Humanity, local shelters, a Bible Camp and other organizations. In the afternoon, staff created and/or delivered 120 hygiene kits to local shelters, 250 sack lunches as weekend meals for local students, 264 fleece blankets to emergency responders and shelters, and 650 pounds of food and 400 pounds of litter to animal shelters.
The effort was planned eight months in advance by a committee that studied local needs and determined ways to get members involved in giving. More than 140 employees distributed "Lend a Hand" shirts in the community and created excitement on social media. Local organizations receiving the help shared the social posts.
The effort was funded by a variety of fundraisers - candy sales, bake sales and more. From washing windows, to playing cards with the elderly, the credit union made a huge impact in just eight hours.
The credit union increased its annual donation to the Children Miracle Network to $1,000 last year. This was accomplished thanks to the generosity of employees, volunteers and members during the month of February. A competition among employees helped sell paper links in the Chain of Hearts fundraiser, and a coin machine was set to help members make a donation from coins counted. They also held dress up and casual days, held a bake sale and brat fry, held a cutest baby contest and collected spare change.
Other monthly casual and professional dress days raised funds for the Salvation Army, Homeless Connection, Prevent Suicide Fox Cities, Friends of the Neenah Library, Stock the Shelves food drive, COTS, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Menasha Lions, Autism Society of the Fox Valley, United Way Literacy Council, and Alzheimer's Association. Other donations have supported the Neenah Animal Shelter, Hurricane Harvey relief, B.A.B.E.S. baskets, Neenah High School Post Prom festivities, United Way, Boys and Girls Brigade Giving Tree, and the Helping Paws Pet Pantry.
Employees also take an active personal role in the Corny Community Walk, St. Joe's Food Pantry sorting, sole burner, Alzheimer's Walk, bell ringing for the Salvation Army, March of Dimes Walk for Babies, Reach Counseling, Packers events, Dessert on the Reserves, golf outing, Christmas treats for members and various church events like fundraisers, bazaars, and ushering.
Winners receive a plaque and are honored on social media, at a chapter meeting and at The League's annual Convention. Winners also receive assistance to share news about their accolade with local media, as awards are an excellent opportunity to create awareness about the value of belonging to a member-owned financial cooperative.
All first-place winners are submitted to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) for national-level award judging, for their chance to be honored at CUNA's 2019 Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.