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CUs in the News: February 2024

A Monthly Roundup of #TheDifference Across WI

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Mar 06, 2024
By Hannah Higgins
  • The CU Difference

Whether it's giving back, awarding scholarships, creating community, providing innovative solutions, or fostering financial literacy (and so much more), here's how Wisconsin's credit unions supported their members and communities in February.


Giving Back

 'We Gotcha Girl' helps fight the #1 reason girls miss school
This is a topic that around 50% of you might not think about regularly, but studies show it's the number one reason girls miss school. Organizers of an event at Jake's Network of Hope met Monday to fight hygiene insecurity. The NOW Foundation estimates women spend $20/cycle on feminine products — which can add up to more than $200/year. We Gotcha Girl packages feminine products into discreet bags young girls in need across eastern Wisconsin, and they're looking to expand the program into the Milwaukee area. (Fox Communities Credit Union, 2/5) 

Park City Cares Foundation Donates to Local Schools and Modern Manufacturing Equipment
Several Northwoods Schools were able to invest in modern manufacturing equipment thanks to a generous donation from the Park City Cares Foundation. In recent weeks, the Foundation provided $5,000 which was shared by the Rhinelander, Merrill, and Tomahawk school districts and these high-tech classrooms, often referred to as 'fab labs.' The students are able to get hands-on experience, and even business experience by producing products for the public. (Park City Credit Union, 2/5)

Shelter donation
Marguerite Lanthier/Daily News photo Forward Financial Credit Union collected items for the Almost Home Animal Shelter during the month of January at their Niagara and Iron Mountain locations. The items were delivered to the shelter by credit union employees Tammy Young, left, and Char Liebergen. Also pictured is Gilbert Engel, shelter board president. (Forward Financial Credit Union, 2/5)

The Family's 2024 Help for the Homeless Hygiene Drive kicks off in Central Wisconsin
The family's 2024 help for the homeless hygiene drive kicked off on Sunday. The hygiene and cleaning supplies from last year's donations were provided to over one hundred crisis programs in nineteen communities across the Badger State, and this year they are looking to help even more than before. (Brokaw Credit Union, 2/11)

WESTconsin Credit Union to host fundraiser for area children’s hospitals
During the month of February, WESTconsin Credit Union will host the Hearts of Hope fundraiser supporting area Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals—Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and CMN Hospitals at Gundersen Health System. Members are invited to show their support of CMN Hospitals from February 1-29 by purchasing a small paper heart for a donation of $5 or more, or a Wall of Fame paper heart for $25 at their local WESTconsin office or by calling the Service Center at (800) 924-0022. All hearts will be proudly displayed in WESTconsin lobbies. In 2023, the campaign raised nearly $3,000 to give young patients the critical care they deserve. (WESTconsin Credit Union, 2/10)

New book collection at Aram will help adults who do not know how to read
New book collection at Aram will help adults who do not know how to read.
“Creating this collection has been one of my goals since I came to Delavan,” said Aram Library Director Michelle Carter (pictured) of Fresh Reads, a stigma-free experience for adults learning to read. (Educators Credit Union, 2/10) 

Admirals, Landmark Credit Union raise money for Children's Wisconsin
The Milwaukee Admirals and Landmark Credit Union teamed up Monday to raise money for Children's Wisconsin. The annual Chain of Hearts campaign tradition spans three decades. As part of the campaign, people can buy a paper link for $1 or a paper heart for $10. (Landmark Credit Union, 2/14)

Landmark Credit Union Donates $58,680 to Children's Wisconsin through Annual Chain of Hearts Campaign
Upholding its three-decade legacy of support for Children's Wisconsin, a Children's Miracle Network Hospital, Landmark Credit Union is proud to announce the success of its annual Chain of Hearts Campaign, raising $58,680. This campaign is an opportunity specifically for credit unions where members and the community can purchase paper links for $1 and hearts for $10 to support the cause and visually represent the credit union philosophy of "people helping people." (Landmark Credit Union, 2/21)

Jones Dairy Farm, Helmick named ‘Lue Ehinger Big Heart’ recipients 
The Heart of the City, a nonprofit, community service group, has announced that it has named Jones Dairy Farm and Mike Helmick as its 2024 “Lue Ehinger Big Heart Award” recipients. A presentation was made by the group to this year’s two recipients on Wednesday at the Jones Dairy Market in Fort Atkinson. According to information released by the group, the organization, by virtue of the award, annually recognizes one or more community members, businesses or organizations that have positively impacted the community. Such contributions are in keeping with the Heart of the City’s mission. (Fort Community Credit Union, 2/15)

Shaved head for Children's Wisconsin fundraiser: 'My way to help'
A Landmark Credit Union employee shaved his head for a cause that's close to his heart. Nick Hudzinski made a pledge to shave his head if Landmark’s west region team raised $14,000 in just three weeks for its annual "Chain of Hearts Campaign" for Children's Wisconsin. "I have a son who was born with a brain injury, and he goes to Children’s hospital. He sees eight different specialists there," Hudzinski said. "It’s a way to give back to what they’ve helped my son with, and Landmark is gracious enough to support Children’s for the past 30 years, so it’s kind of my way to help the organization, too." (Landmark Credit Union, 2/28)


Supporting Financial Literacy

What first-time buyers should know with interest rates on pause
Interest rates in 2024 are holding steady so far which is good news for people who want to use their homes to take out a loan. Also, if you have been renting your whole life and are interested in buying a home, now is a good time to start thinking about that process as long-term interest rates dipped in February toward 6.6%. For current homeowners, there are many options to consider. One of those that mortgage specialists encourage is a Home Equity Loan. That is where you have the same monthly rate until your mortgage is paid off. (Park City Credit Union, 2/5)


Fostering Excellence

Corporate Central appoints Mindak as Board Chair
Corporate Central announced that Val Mindak was appointed as Board Chair effective Jan. 17. Mindak has been President/CEO of Park City Credit Union based in Merrill for over 14 years. Mindak brings a wealth of experience, having served on the Board for more than six years and contributing significantly to the growth and success of the corporate credit union. Now, with more than $5 billion in assets under management, Corporate Central serves credit unions and their members nationwide. Mindak will play a crucial role as Board Chair in leading the Board and guiding the strategic direction of Corporate Central. (Park City Credit Union, 2/8) 

Jennifer McHugh Named Volunteer of the Year by Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce
 Royal Credit Union (Royal) Vice President of Community Engagement, Jennifer McHugh was recognized with the Volunteer of the Year Award at Eau What a Night: The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce’s 109th Annual Meeting. McHugh has served on the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) Governmental Affairs Committee since 2016 and has been the chair since 2019. (Royal Credit Union, 2/13)

Summit: Named one of America’s top credit unions
Newsweek Magazine’s 2024 list of America’s Best Regional Banks and Credit Unions included Madison-based Summit Credit Union as one of the top 250 credit unions. The rankings were based on a mix of consumer/member input and financial performance and stability factors. “We’re honored to be included among Newsweek’s top credit unions, not only because it is based in part on reviews by our own members, but also because our financial strength and stability was part of the award criteria,” said Kim Sponem, CEO & President of Summit Credit Union. “Newsweek’s team looked at factors such as our financial reserves and ability to absorb economic downturns, strong lending activity, and reputation in making this group of America’s best credit unions.” (Summit Credit Union, 2/14) 

Summit Credit Union: Local financial professional recognized for leadership among peers
Jody Brown, a Financial Professional with Summit Financial Advisors, located at Summit Credit Union, has been named one of the “Women of Distinction” – a recognition that honors female financial representatives for superior performance and extraordinary efforts in promoting financial security. The Women of Distinction recognition is presented by TruStage to top female candidates based on annual performance metrics, best practices and quality of service to clients. (Summit Credit Union, 2/28)

About The Author

Hannah Higgins is the Communications Assistant for The Wisconsin Credit Union League. Interested in having your credit union's news considered? Contact us!