Staff Puts Care into the Community

At Arbor Financial Credit Union, we value and take great pride in our community. That’s why a little over 20 years ago, staff laid the foundation for a “Caring Committee.” Over the years, the staff committee has evolved to focus on the empowerment of staff-led community initiatives. The credit union philosophy is, “People Helping People” and Arbor’s Caring Committee is proud to do just that!


What is the Caring Committee?

Every year, the Caring Committee seeks staff volunteers who lead the charge on identifying which community initiatives they would like to focus on. Currently, there are over 20 passionate members on the committee who dedicate their talents early in the year to the projects they adopt. Duties include selecting, planning, coordinating, and promoting these community organizations.  

Additionally, the committee coordinates teams to participate in sponsorship events, like walks and 5Ks, to raise awareness and funds. “At the Stomp Out Stigma 5K, we were able to support the mission of the be nice. Foundation by bringing awareness to mental health initiatives,” says Tammy Phelps, VP of Operations and member of the Caring Committee.

When it’s time to roll up the sleeves, you will see this group of committee volunteers picking up trash alongside trails, handing out ‘Be Nice’ notes, hosting animal adoptions and so much more!

If you ever see a collection drive inside an Arbor Financial branch, it’s most likely Arbor’s Caring Committee in action. They have been known to gather collections for shelters, take in donations for dresses for young girls, organize canned food drives, as well as initiatives, such as collecting supplies, like water for the Flint crisis.

How does Arbor’s Caring Committee choose organizations to donate to? 

The staff-led Caring Committee sends out a survey to all Arbor staff annually to vote on a wide range of categories that they will support over the course of the upcoming year. These can range from: animal well-being; mental health awareness and support; children in need; support for the elderly; veterans; victims of domestic abuse; those needing hospice care; causes supporting the protection of our environment, and more.

In 2019, the top voted categories that staff wanted to support for the year were mental health awareness, animal well-being, and children in need. 

For some projects, the aim is to bring awareness to a cause, such as the case with the “be nice.” walk that staff led and participated in which encourages people to better understand mental health issues in our community. Committee members also raise funds and donate items to a wide range of community-based programs, such as shelters, like the Portage Community Center.

How are funds raised?

The Caring Committee gets creative when it comes to raising funds and awareness for each community-based organization. “Through the company-wide implementation of ‘Casual for a Cause,’ Arbor Financial employees can pay $3 to wear jeans to work on Friday, and we are able to raise a considerable amount of money,” continues Tammy.

What has the Caring Committee been up to?

So far this year, we have participated and helped the following organizations: 

Portage Community Center: We donated $1000.00 to the Portage Community Center, which helps residents with emergency assistance and youth development, and offers assistance programs. Arbor staff collected 239 travel sized items from donations and volunteered time to help organize at the center.
Housing Resources Incorporated: Representatives from the Caring Committee participated in HRI’s Walk to End Homelessness, along with donating a total of $1200.00 in support of the socially or economically vulnerable persons of Kalamazoo County. 
Cinderella Project of Kalamazoo: Arbor donated 59 dresses to provide free prom dresses to young high school women in need. 
Adopt-A-Trail: Arbor’s Caring Committee has adopted a section of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, where they get involved and make an impact by cleaning up the trail approximately three times a year. 
Be Nice: Arbor employees, along with family and friends, participated in the “Stomp Out Stigma” 5K walk to support the be nice. Foundation with approximately $1000 in raised contributions. The Caring Committee also sold green ribbons to raise awareness and collected an additional $159.00. Contributions from staff “Casual for a Cause” payments were given as well, which brought total contributions to $3500.00 for the “be nice.” Campaign. This is our largest donation to date. 
MCUL PAC: Employees donate $750.00 per quarter to the Michigan Credit Union League PAC Fund in support of strong credit union representation at the state level. 

Please check back for updates on how we are going to give back to our communities in the upcoming months. 

In 2018, Arbor’s Caring Committee helped and contributed over $8779.22 to the following organizations:

•    Ministry with Community
•    American Heart Association
•    Eleanor’s Pantry 
•    The Arbor Foundation 
•    Sylvia’s Place 
•    St. Joe Animal Control and Rescue
•    Harrison Pluta Memorial
•    Eleanor’s House
•    Loaves and Fishes
•    Mattawan Community Garden

We are so proud of our Caring Committee and all they have contributed. They are an essential part of our Arbor team and our overall community. 


 
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