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CUs in the News: A Monthly Roundup of #TheCUDifference Across WI

CUs in the News Feb March 2021
Apr 02, 2021
By Sammy Dennis
  • The CU Difference

The League is excited to introduce a new series that rounds up all the ways credit unions support their members and communities across Wisconsin! Whether it's giving back, responding to COVID-19, awarding scholarships, or supporting financial literacy (and so much more), we are proud of all their hard work! 

Here's how Wisconsin's CUs were in the news in February and March: 

Giving Back

RCU Foundation Pledges $250k to Children's Museum 
On Tuesday the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire announced another large donation that will go toward construction of a new building.The philanthropic arm of Royal Credit Union — RCU Foundation — is donating $250,000 toward construction of a new two-story, 26,000-square-foot museum slated for a vacant lot in downtown Eau Claire. (Royal Credit Union, 2/23)

New Veterans Fund Benefits from WESTconsin Credit Union Challenge
The new fund opened at the CFDC is named The Veterans Fund and was eligible for the WESTconsin Credit Union Challenge, a sponsored special initiative for the CFDC’s 25th Anniversary in 2020. This fund will serve a variety of needs that arise in the ongoing lives of veterans of military service. For this challenge, WESTconsin Credit Union provided fundholders who opened a new fund at the CFDC during its 25th Anniversary a $1,000 gift donation to the charity of their choice. The total amount sponsored by WESTconsin was $12,000, for a total of 12 new CFDC funds and 12 chosen charities receiving $1,000 each. (WESTconsin Credit Union, 2/24)

Racine County Firefighters Practice Life-Or-Death Techniques for Rescuing People Who Fall Through Ice
Thirty firefighters from six neighboring departments joined together this weekend in a combined training exercise to improve their ice rescue skills on a frozen Eagle Lake in the Town of Dover....The firefighter training event was sponsored by Educators Credit Union. Brett Nielsen, business relationship director for the credit union, who turned out to observe, said the credit union is happy to make an investment in improving public safety and boosting first responder readiness. (Educators Credit Union, 3/1)

The Big Share: Madison-Based Nonprofits Participate in the 7th Annual Big Share Campaign 
On Tuesday, March 2, Madison-based nonprofit groups will participate in The Big Share®. The seventh annual campaign features virtual events on Monday and Tuesday and will welcome new nonprofits participating for the first time. Visit for details....Community Shares of Wisconsin welcomes three new member groups participating in The Big Share for the first time. Urban Triage, Natural Circles of Support and Inspire Barber College were recognized as Inspiring Voices organizations by Community Shares in 2020. Summit Credit Union issued each group a $500 matching challenge to support their fundraising goals. (Summit Credit Union, 3/2)

Landmark Conservancy Receives $1,000 WESTconsin Donation
At the end of February, a $1,000 donation to Landmark Conservancy marked the final WESTconsin Credit Union Challenge celebration, a special initiative of the Community Foundation of Dunn County’s (CFDC) 25th Anniversary in 2020. This special initiative provided a fundholder who opened a new fund at the CFDC a $1,000 donation to a charity of their choice. (WESTconsin Credit Union, 3/17) 

WESTconsin Credit Union Pledges Support to Stepping Stones
WESTconsin Credit Union is pleased to pledge ongoing support to Stepping Stones of Dunn County. According to their mission statement, Stepping Stones is an organization of “people helping people strengthen the Dunn County community by providing food, shelter and support.” The monies provided by WESTconsin Credit Union will support food delivery and distribution in Dunn County.(WESTconsin Credit Union, 3/19)

From the Star's Mailbag: Thanks for Successful Fundraising
On behalf of these organizations, we want to express our gratitude to Bank of Sun Prairie, Summit Credit Union and the Sun Prairie Star for being the major sponsors for this initiative. You are wonderful community partners and your role was crucial to this initiative to help those in need during these challenging times. Thank you. (Summit Credit Union, 3/19)

Rock the Riverfront to Benefit Northern Star
Registration is open for the RCU Foundation Rock the Riverfront featuring the Charity Classic The event will celebrate 27 years of running and walking to support organizations that make a difference in the communities that Royal Credit Union serves. Proceeds from the event will benefit three partner charities: The Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls, Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild in Eau Claire and Northern Star Theatre Company in Rice Lake. (Royal Credit Union, 3/23)

Voyageur Park Project Could Get Second Life with Donation
An anonymous donor has expressed interest in donating up to $500,000 toward the construction of the $1 million multi-use facility at Voyageur Park, the De Pere park learned at its March 18 meeting....Fox Communities Credit Union is putting up a large upfront donation to get the project off the ground this year and committed to giving smaller donations yearly for four years. (Fox Communities Credit Union, 3/25)

Fort Community Credit Union Announces 2021 Document Shred Event Dates
Fort Community Credit Union (FCCU) and Shred-It have partnered together to host on-site document destruction events to help their members and communities shred the threat of identity theft. “We consider the security of our members and communities a priority,” said Sue Johnson, CEO of FCCU. “Fraud and identity theft cases are on the rise nationally, and we want to do our part to help our communities protect their interests. Our shred events make it convenient for our community members to shred personal and confidential documents, which is a crucial component of preventative security.” (Fort Community Credit Union, 3/25)

Responding to COVID-19

Summit Credit Union's Cottage Grove Headquarters Becomes COVID-19 Testing Site
Summit Credit Union is now hosting COVID-19 testing at its Cottage Grove headquarters, located at 1709 Landmark Drive. The free drive-thru testing service is part of a partnership with testing provider JangoDX and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). “We are thrilled to be able to offer our headquarters as a testing site. This is so important to the health and well-being of our community. The site is easy to get to and will be open seven days a week,” said Summit Credit Union CEO and President Kim Sponem. (Summit Credit Union, 2/12) 

Tip! Tip! Double Tip! Bar and Restaurant Patrons Are Asked to Tip Their Servers Well
Appleton businessman Carl Romenesko recently launched a grassroots campaign to help servers and bartenders. It’s called Tip! Tip! Double Tip! and the idea is to leave a little extra for your server if and when you go out to eat or to a bar. “In this time of what we’re going through because the restaurant industry got hit that we would help people by double tipping,” says Romenesko. Romenesko teamed up with Fox Communities Credit Union and more than twenty bars and restaurants in the Fox Valley to promote this idea. Participating establishments each donated eight $25 gift cards that people who visit these places can be entered to win. Romenesko hopes the contest will bring more people in to bars and restaurants, and while they’re there, maybe they could leave a little extra for their servers. (Fox Communities Credit Union, 3/26)

Awarding Scholarships

Fox Communities Credit Union to Award Five Local Seniors with a Scholarship
This spring, Fox Communities Credit Union will be awarding a $1000 scholarship to five graduating high school seniors. To be considered for the scholarship, applicants must be a Fox primary member and attending a two-or four-year accredited program in the fall. (Fox Communities Credit Union, 2/17)

Supporting Financial Literacy

HCCU Provides Financial Literacy Resources to Local Schools
Hayward Community Credit Union (HCCU) has stepped up to ease partial or full remote learning in the wake of COVID-19 by sponsoring more than 880 students and teachers at 18 schools in Sawyer and Bayfield counties with free access to a financial literacy resources called Banzai. (Hayward Community Credit Union, 3/3)

Project Money Winners Crowned After 7 Month Effort
The Season 12 winners of Summit Credit Union’s Project Money were crowned on Thursday. Dustin and Scott Struckmeyer of McFarland have won the project after reducing their debt by nearly $10,000 and increasing their savings by over $27,000 over the course of seven months. (Summit Credit Union, 3/4)

Common Errors to Avoid When Filing Your Taxes
FOX 11’s Emily Deem spoke with Brad Roethlisberger, a financial advisor with Capital Credit Union, via Zoom about some common errors to avoid when filing your taxes (Capital Credit Union, 3/22)

Fostering Excellence 

Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce Announces Winners from 2020 Champions Gala
The Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce has announced the winners of the 2020 Chamber Champions Gala.... Nellie Weiss of UnitedOne Credit Union who was named the Ambassador of the Year. (UnitedOne Credit Union, 2/25)

Heroes and Rock Stars
One of our favorite projects each year is selecting and honoring Credit Union Heroes—those typically unsung credit union leaders who eclipse the rest of us in how they embrace and demonstrate credit union philosophy and community service. (Members First Credit Union, Park City Credit Union 3/1)

Local Financial Advisor Recognized for Leadership Among Peers
Krista Karow, a financial advisor with CoVantage Retirement & Investment Services located at CoVantage Credit Union has been named a "Woman of Distinction" -- a recognition which honors female financial advisors for their superior performance and extraordinary efforts in promoting financial security. (CoVantage Credit Union, 3/1)

Greater Madison Area Top Workplaces 2021
The Wisconsin State Journal has recognized 45 Companies and Organizations in Greater Madison area as Top Workplaces for 2021. The list includes UW Credit Union, Summit Credit Union, Heritage Credit Union, and Heartland Credit Union (UW Credit Union and Summit Credit Union also placed nationally).

Employee Engagement Begins with Values at UW Credit Union
At UW Credit Union, the underpinning of a strong organizational culture lies in embracing its core values and using them to serve credit union members.(UW Credit Union, 3/28)

Teamwork, Flexibility Help Summit Credit Union Beat Crisis
Everyone wants their pre-pandemic lives back, but the crisis revealed the value of Summit Credit Union’s strong culture. Credit union employees — including 475 in Dane County — were either homebound or closing mortgages in the drive-up lane or issuing Payroll Protection Plan loans in the new world created by the virus. (Summit Credit Union, 3/28)

Values, Benefits, Commitment Help Define Area's Top Workplaces 
To become a Top Workplace, organizations instill in their team members a variety of values and approaches that keep their businesses thriving in the marketplace, their employees engaged and their communities strong. (Heartland Credit Union, Heritage Credit Union, 3/28) 

Providing Innovative Solutions 

CoVantage Credit Union Offers Heating Relief Program
CoVantage Credit Union is offering a Heating Relief Loan to help get people through the rest of the cold weather months. The loan is designed to help folks pay their heating bill if they are struggling to get by. Anyone can apply for up to $750 between March 8 and June 15. (CoVantage Credit Union, 3/8)

Creating Community

Special Olympics of Wisconsin Holds Annual Polar Plunge, Event Changed to Tubing at Ariens Hill
The annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics of Wisconsin was held Saturday, and it looked a bit different than normal. Instead of jumping into freezing water as done in previous years, people raised funds by tubing down Ariens Hill at Titletown....Officials tell us the leading sponsor of the Polar Plunge is Community First Credit Union. “Our employees and our members are so passionate, we’ve raised over $30,000 this year,” said Cyndi Huolihan, a training specialist from Community First Credit Union. (Community First Credit Union, 2/20)

Gamblers and Fox Communities Credit Union Team Up to Help Struggling Women
The Green Bay Gamblers have teamed up with Fox Communities Credit Union to help change that trend with the 1st Annual “We Gotcha’ Girl” hockey game. At the contest, which will be played on March 6th at the Resch Center in Green Bay, the organizations are asking for fans to donate feminine hygiene products, which will be distributed to those in need in Northeast Wisconsin. (Fox Communities Credit Union, 2/25)

Milwaukee Museums Set to Reopen to the Public in March
Some say Milwaukee is the city of museums. This week, the title really holds true as three of four biggest museums reopen for a second time as a result of the current pandemic....Admission to the Milwaukee Art Museum will be free for all on March 5, thanks to Educators Credit Union. (Educators Credit Union, 3/2)

Virtually Viennese: UWEC Plans Online Version of V-Ball
Through creative determination, abundant talent, and the genius of technology, the grand traditions of the Viennese Ball return for 2021, with the Virtual Viennese Ball set for Thursday, April 8, and Saturday, April 10. Both nights' activities start at 7 PM....In recognition of the importance of Viennese Ball scholarship funds for Blugold students, Eau Claire’s Royal Credit Union, a longtime supporter of UW-Eau Claire, has generously stepped up with a gift-matching pledge, ensuring that every donation collected for the virtual event goes twice as far to support students. (Royal Credit Union, 3/23)


About The Author

Sammy Dennis is the Director of Communications for The Wisconsin Credit Union League. Interested in having your credit union's news considered? Contact me!