SAGINAW, Mich.-For the second summer in a row, Wildfire CU here is spreading goodwill in the community by giving $100 to 100 different people between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

VP of Membership Development Linda McGee said that this year's incarnation is similar to last year's, however more employees are participating in 2012 so that a greater variety of Wildfire staffers have the chance to get out into the community.

Anyone in the three counties Wildfire serves is eligible to receive $100 and there are no strings attached. The CU issues the $100 bills in Wildfire 100 moneyholders, but does not distribute any information about the products and services the 36,000-member, $669-million credit union offers.

"It's not about the credit union; it's about Wildfire 100 and giving back to the community," said McGee. "What we ask is that they consider paying it forward. It doesn't have to be monetary, it can just be helping someone. It's really and truly about being a part of our community and giving back to our community."

McGee noted that Michigan has been hit hard by the recession and a campaign like this can make a difference in peoples' lives. "Although things are turning around, there's still a lot of people struggling out there. This is a wonderful way to give back to our community and give a helping hand to those who need it."

Wildfire is also performing its own random acts of kindness, including a recent fundraiser that allowed staff to pay to wear jeans to work. Those funds, along with a few hundred dollars from the credit union, were donated to an area soldier and quadruple amputee recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

 

Local Media Attention

WCU is not promoting the giveaways itself, but the project has received the attention of local media, including the region's CBS affiliate (http://wnem.videodownload.worldnow.com/WNEM_20120529175209780AA.mp4), as well as local newspapers and radio stations.

The $10,000 comes out of Wildfire's marketing budget, and McGee said the credit union is not looking to increase loans or membership as a result. Membership at the credit union is not a requirement to receive the money.

"Is the Wildfire 100 branded to look like our Wildfire Credit Union logo? Absolutely. And we've had some members come our way because of it, because they like somebody that gives back to the community." McGee did not know how many members had joined the CU as a result of the giveaways.

While the giveaways are random at the beginning, they will become more targeted as the program picks up steam throughout the summer. Visitors to www.wildfire100.com can nominate others to receive the $100. "We'll take that list and weigh what the reasons are that they're recommending people and go for those that will have the most impact to that person," said McGee.

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