INDIANAPOLIS–Twenty five Indiana credit unions this year have donated $354,497 and 8,662 hours to support their communities. 

 

That total, which keeps climbing, was displayed mid-November at the top of the new Indiana Commitment to Change website (www.cucommitment.org), a web-based community service aggregator that allows credit unions of any size in

 

Indiana to track, promote, and communicate the successes they experience as they give back to the communities they serve. The goal is to round up and showcase, in one place, all of the good work Indiana CUs are doing to support their communities.

 

The Indiana ignite working group, which is responsible for the project, expects the site will make more consumers and government policymakers notice the credit union difference. ignite is a  team of CU volunteers, organized by the Indiana CU League, who serve two-year terms and work in small groups to develop new products and services to help Indiana credit unions serve their members.

 

Andrew Spirrison, VP of retail delivery at FORUM CU here and a Commitment to Change team member, told Credit Union Journal that while individually credit unions do a lot for their towns, their collective effort is what will get real attention. “The Ignite team was sitting around talking one day and we said how we hear about the community involvement work many Indiana credit unions do, but there was no way to showcase the book of work. That’s how this website got started.”

 

It launched in October 2011 and the number of CUs in the state participating is expected to grow, said Kay Neidlinger, VP of communications for the league, who said ICUL regularly receives notes from credit unions on what they are doing

regarding community involvement. “Now we ask them to enter all of that information into the website. We review the submission, run the story on the website, and add in the hours and dollars.”

 

'It’s Powerful’

 

Doug True, league board member, one of three members of the ignite leadership team, and CEO at FORUM CU, reminded that in addition to consumers seeing all the good work of credit unions and hopefully choosing CUs over banks, the site sends a message to state legislators. “It helps us when we go speak with them. We can literally show legislators all that Indiana credit unions are doing to give back. We’ve never had this before. It’s powerful.”

 

The site also allows anyone to roll up the community work of credit unions by congressional district.

 

By establishing a central repository for CU community involvement, credit unions can easily learn about give-back efforts across the state, get ideas, learn tips, and collaborate, explained Becky Summers, SVP of sales and marketing at

 

Teachers CU, South Bend, and Commitment to Change team member. “It is so important for credit unions to collaborate on community involvement because it makes our efforts much more impactful. Plus, by going to the website, credit unions can see which CUs are working with specific charities, and possibly partner on bigger efforts. There is a great deal of good we can do as a larger group.”

 

That’s why the ignite team is interested in expanding the site to reach regionally, or nationally, said Neidlinger. “We have had interest from other state leagues. This is a great tool, and the potential is big.”

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