June 16, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. – The New York Credit Union Foundation awarded nearly $53,000 in grants to New York credit unions and credit union professionals during the Foundation's first grant cycle, which took place January-May.

Forty-three Professional Development grants totaling $23,575 were awarded to employees and volunteers from 30 credit unions. The funds are used to help credit union professionals cover the costs of industry training sessions and education events.

Seven Small Credit Union grants totaling $17,989 were awarded to the following credit unions: Local 41 IBEW Federal Credit Union, Buffalo Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Greece Community Federal Credit Union, GRS Employees Federal Credit Union, South Towns Community Federal Credit Union, Spencerport Federal Credit Union and Upstate Milk Employees Federal Credit Union. The grants can be used for a variety of general operating needs—including technology upgrades, security improvements, and consulting services—that help to improve member service.

The Foundation also awarded five Smart Money grants totaling $11,253 to: Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Buffalo Metropolitan Federal Credit Union, Alternatives Federal Credit Union, CORE Federal Credit Union and ServU Federal Credit Union. Smart Money grants are used to assist with a variety of projects, including: youth or adult financial education programs, homeownership programs or services, financial counseling, savings and wealth building initiatives, tax preparation services, and initiatives that provide the unbanked with access to financial services.

"The Foundation is able to provide these important grants thanks to the enormous generosity of New York credit unions and individual supporters," said Foundation Vice President Allison Barna. "These grants allow credit unions to provide better service and better products that ultimately benefit the lives of their members."

May 22, 2014

(Albany, N.Y.) – Credit unions from across New York were recently honored by the New York Credit Union Foundation with state-level Desjardins Financial Education Awards. The awards recognize individual credit unions for their ongoing commitment to youth and adult financial education, and all first-place winners will advance to a nationwide competition overseen by the National Credit Union Foundation this fall.

Hudson River Community Credit Union (Corinth) received first place in the adult award category. After noticing a decline in member attendance at traditional financial education workshops, Hudson River Community CU decided to offer onsite workshops to local employers in Washington, Saratoga and Albany/Rensselaer counties. Workshops focused on 14 different financial education categories, including: First Time Home Buying, Credit Card Smarts & Managing Debt, Basic Budgeting, Financial Fitness for Teens and more. As a result of these efforts, Hudson River Community CU saw workshop attendance increase by more than 1,000 percent in 2013.

The following credit unions received Desjardins Financial Education Awards for their youth financial education initiatives:

Clarence Community & Schools Federal Credit Union (Clarence) received the first place award in the asset category of less than $50 million. In 2013, Clarence Community & Schools FCU expanded its internship program with Clarence High School to include students with disabilities, offering them valuable real-world work experience. The credit union also continued offering a Youth $avings Program in all six Clarence district schools, providing more than 5,000 students with an opportunity to open and maintain a savings account.

CORE Federal Credit Union (Syracuse) was selected in the asset category of $50 million-$150 million. The credit union reached more than 2,000 students last year through student financial literacy programs and in-school branch/banking days. In April, high school students at the credit union's student-run Spartan Branch began coaching middle school students on financial fitness and money-handling habits. Using a “students as educators” model, credit union staff trained high school students to deliver financial literacy presentations to their peers and younger children. CORE FCU staff also delivered numerous financial literacy presentations themselves, and continued to offer NEFE’s High School Financial Planning Program to local students.

Corning Federal Credit Union (Corning) was selected in the asset category of more than $500 million. In 2013, Corning FCU conducted 128 financial education presentations—totaling more than 165 hours—for more than 2,300 local students. The credit union also launched a “Change Makes Sense” program. Through the program, students in six different classes were asked to save spare change for one month to illustrate how small contributions could lead to big savings. At the end of the month, Corning FCU matched the total savings dollar-for-dollar, and all the funds were donated to the English Family Memorial Fund. The program was so successful that it is being revamped and expanded in 2014.

Honorable mentions included Western New York FCU and Buffalo Metropolitan FCU.