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Michigan Credit Union League

Latest MI 'Share the Love' Winner Says Contest Promotes Credit Union and Community Collaboration

FRANKENMUTH—The latest Michigan credit union to be named a winner in the Share the Love competition is working to make it easier for community members to access fresh fruits and vegetables.

Frankenmuth Credit Union (FCU) was recently named as one of three credit unions to receive $10,000 to be donated to a charity of their choice through CU Solutions Group’s Share the Love competition. According to CEO Vickie Schmitzer, the funds will be donated to the Frankenmuth Farmers market, which is in the process of building a new facility adjacent to the credit union.

An artist's rendering of the new Frankenmuth Farmers Market, which is currently under construction adjacent to Frankenmuth CU.

Schmitzer explained that the Frankenmuth Farmers Market’s downtown location had served the community well for a decade, but problems had developed in recent years due to insufficient parking and a lack of refrigeration. At the same time that famer’s market officials were looking for a new site, FCU began construction to double its own office space. As a result of that growth, continued Schmitzer, the credit union was able to offer some extra land to the farmers market in order for it to build a standalone facility.

According to Schmitzer, farmers market organizers raised more than $1 million toward the project on their own, but needed to finance the rest of it.

“We’ve been working tirelessly to find pennies at a time for them so they had to finance the least amount possible,” said Schmitzer. “When this opportunity came along to get more cash for them, we said we really have to band together—credit union employees, members, farmers market vendors, growers and visitors. Let’s all band together. This is absolutely free money and it supports the collaboration between the credit union and the market people.”

FCU posted a video to the Share the Love webpage outlining its extensive charitable work within the community and noting that any funds received through the Share the Love campaign would benefit the new farmers market. That video garnered more than 20,000 votes, making it the December winner for mid-size credit unions.

Schmitzer said the high voter turnout was the result of teamwork. Not only did the local chamber of commerce help spread the word, but staffers, consumers on a farmers market email list and more all pitched in to get the word out.

Frankenmuth CU is the second Michigan credit union to be named a Share the Love winner. Bay City-based United Bay Community CU was previously named a winner.

See It to Believe It
The victory is especially meaningful for Frankenmuth CU since the credit union’s employees and members can see the construction taking place right next door.

“We’re not fundraising for something people can’t see,” said Schmitzer. “We can actually see it now and I think that’s where it helped pick up steam. It’s top of mind—every day you come to work and you can see the progress.”

Schmitzer emphasized the success shows how beneficial collaboration can be for the entire community.

“It’s not just something the credit union was working for but that collaboration of people we don’t even know that come and visit the market and got themselves involved,” she said. “It was a perfect alignment of the stars. It’s not just a business that’s going to profit from this, it’s something the entire community benefits from.”

With news of the win coming right in the middle of the holiday season, Schmitzer said the timing couldn’t have been better.

“I’m just so thankful,” she said. “This is a season of giving and being thankful, and this puts them both together. We’re thankful to be a part of the league that cares about their credit unions and their communities.”

Click here to learn more about Share the Love and the other credit unions that won during the second round of voting.

About Share the Love
Share the Love, a joint campaign by CU Solutions Group, their member rewards program Love My Credit Union Rewards and CUNA, invites credit unions to create a video that showcases the good work they do in their community for a chance to win thousands of dollars for the charities of their choosing*. During the course of this campaign, nine credit unions will each be awarded a $10,000 donation to give to a charity of choice on their behalf, and the grand prize winner will win an extra $15,000. *Charity must be a 501(c)(3).

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2015-12-08 00:00:00