Arsenal Credit Union strives to give back to the communities to which we belong. Corporate responsibility begins with protecting our members' financial interests, but it doesn't end there. As a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative, we are committed to the best and finest interests of our members and to the credit union philosophy of people helping people. We put that philosophy into action with internal programs and services that benefit our members, as well as through fundraisers, drives and other efforts that help local causes and people in need. In 2013, our employees donated 915 hours toward improving our communities on behalf of the credit union.
In order to benefit the most people in the most meaningful ways possible, we invest in our community in three specific areas:
Hunger is a real problem in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, limited resources prevent more than 50 million Americans from getting enough food. With high unemployment and rising gas and food prices, food banks are feeding more people than ever. Through tangible on-site help and donation drives in our branches, we support local food pantries that provide meals for those who cannot leave their homes or have fallen on hard times, such as the Arnold Food Pantry, Feed My People, the St. Louis Area Foodbank, the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging's Meals on Wheels program and more. We also regularly prepare meals at the Fisher House, which serves as a "home away from home" for families of veterans receiving care at the St. Louis VA Medical Center at Jefferson Barracks, as well as families of active-duty personnel who have loved ones in other area facilities.
Just like food, financial literacy and money management skills are needed by all. About 34 percent of parents have taught their teen how to balance a checkbook; even fewer have explained how credit card interest and fees work. Ninety-three percent of American parents with teenagers report worrying that their children might make financial missteps, such as overspending or living beyond their means (source: Charles Schwab’s 2008 “Parents & Money"). Our goal is to help the young people in our community develop healthy and positive habits with money and avoid the common financial problems that many adults make. We reach hundreds of kids and teens by making classroom presentations based on tried-and-true financial education curricula, as well as participating in "career days" and other local school programs. These efforts coincide with our own financial offerings for our younger members. Our Tracker Kids Club encourages members age 12 and younger to save their money and offers incentives for good grades, while our teen club encourages teens to take the next steps by investing in a CD, building smart credit with a Visa credit card and managing their money in a checking account. We award college scholarships to graduating high school seniors in our membership, with more than $45,000 awarded to date.
Arsenal Credit Union strives to be a good environmental steward. In order to help the community reduce waste, we provide recycling bins for cans and plastic containers at all our locations and assist with the responsible disposal of paper, computer and electronic equipment by holding several free, public "shred days" throughout the year. We continue to revamp our operational processes to use fewer materials, incorporate energy-efficient designs into new branches and recycle as much as possible.
In the past, we've focused on helping children and veterans. We have strongly supported Children's Miracle Network, which has two affiliated hospitals in St. Louis, and the Credit Unions for Kids program. We and our employees have participated in numerous fundraisers for CMN, from bowl-a-thons and raffles to dress-down days and bake sales. In addition, we've worked to support veterans' groups and projects throughout the region, sponsoring the National Veterans Golden Age Games and National Veterans Wheelchair Games and providing a wide range of support to the Fisher House at the St. Louis VA Medical Center. We also took an active role in Missouri credit unions' efforts to raise funds and mobilize volunteers for Homes for Our Troops, which built two specially adapted homes in Missouri for wounded veterans at no cost.
We have also given time, treasure and talent to a variety of other local nonprofit organizations in their efforts to better our communities, including Toys for Tots, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Arnold Police Department, the Kurt Warner First Things First Foundation’s Warner’s Warm-up coat drives, the Special Olympics, the American Red Cross and animal rescue groups.
Arsenal’s community partnerships have won us 14 Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Awards from the Missouri Credit Union Association.
The people-helping-people philosophy pervades all aspects of our daily business. We are especially committed to offering programs, products and services that address our members' needs at every age.
We provide debt counseling materials to our members and give them the opportunity to meet with a credit counselor. Five of our branches boast Member Education Centers, which give our members access to unbiased information on a variety of financial topics. We've held member seminars on topics like home and car loans and fraud prevention.
For making "people helping people" an integral part of our everyday operations, we've received eight Louise Herring Awards for Philosophy in Action and three first-place Desjardins Youth Financial Education awards from the Missouri Credit Union Association, along with a 2005 honorable mention in a national competition for our Tracker Kids Club.
Watch this video slideshow of our employees' social responsibility efforts!
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