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Michigan Credit Union League

A Credit Union’s Back-to-School Efforts Bridges the Gap for Hundreds of Teachers and Foster Students

bigDozens of teachers and hundreds of foster students across Michigan will be starting the school year with the tools they need to succeed thanks in part to two separate back-to-school initiatives at Extra Credit Union: a backpack giveaway and school supply drive.

Extra Credit Union collected nearly 1,500 school supplies and $750 for foster kids in Michigan, supporting Big Family of Michigan’s annual backpack giveaway. Items were donated by credit union members and staff.

The financial institution also fulfilled Amazon Wishlist items for 83 teachers in its first Random Acts of Classroom Kindness giveaway, with gift cards totaling nearly $5,000. 

Extra Credit Union posted a request for interested teachers to post their Amazon Wishlist link on its Facebook page before the August 13 deadline. The initial intent was to choose at least five random winners to receive items off their wish list. However, after seeing the number of wishlists that were posted, the credit union decided to fulfill items from every wishlist. Four teachers won a $250 Amazon gift card and 79 teachers each received a $50 Amazon gift card. Most teachers were local, although a few were out of state.

“Every year, teachers spend so much out of their own pockets on all sorts of needs from getting their classrooms ready and picture perfect to create a comfortable learning environment for their students to endless equipment and supplies throughout the school year that aren’t covered by their school’s budget,” said Assistant Vice President of Marketing Ruthann Varosi. “We had an overwhelming response from this effort, and an overwhelming amount of gratitude from the teachers we were able to help. We were more than happy to help these teachers kick off their school year on an ‘extra’ positive note.”

Tracey Bailey is a teacher at Wolfe Middle School in Center Line. She was one of the Amazon gift card recipients.

“So grateful for everyone at Extra Credit Union,” she wrote on Facebook in response to the giveaway. “They are always finding ways to support the teachers, students and school in any way they can!”

Extra Credit Union was hopeful, too, that others would see the teachers’ wishlists and be compelled to help them #clearthelist, or fulfill items off their lists. Those still interested in helping can access the lists on the original post from August 9.

School Supply Drive

big2Big Family of Michigan filled and distributed 1,532 backpacks so far this year. McCaughrin estimated that Extra Credit Union’s donations helped about 350 foster kids/teens for the upcoming school year.

The request for filled backpacks from Big Family of Michigan have dwindled, although the nonprofit continues to fulfill requests from foster care agencies across the state into the beginning of the school year.

“It’s wonderful to know we are able to help foster children and give them something extra … it’s just something that they need,” said Sharon McCaughrin, president/COO of Big Family of Michigan. “We have so many generous donors that help us out every year, like Extra Credit Union. We are very thrilled that we have been able to serve that many children, especially during the uncertainty of the pandemic.”

The $750 donation to Big Family of Michigan came from Extra Credit Union’s staff through its Jeans for a Cause Fund which allows staff members to pay to wear jeans to work daily. The collection of funds, in turn, are donated to various local charities.

“This project is near and dear to our hearts,” said Extra Credit Union President/CEO Deidra Williams. “We have been glad to support Big Family of Michigan for several years and we were grateful to see the support we received from our staff and members. We know that these foster students are often working through many challenges of their own and school supplies shouldn’t be one of them. We are thankful they have the tools they need to succeed, and we hope they have a wonderful school year.”

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2021-09-07 00:00:00