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Credit unions cooperate with hands-on project to help Spokane children


Kids at Spokane’s Northeast Youth Center will get a much-needed playground, thanks to the cooperative efforts of 19 Spokane-area credit unions.

The non-profit youth center has a fenced play area for the hundreds of school-aged children who attend programs there. But there is no age-appropriate play area for the pre-school children served at its licensed daycare.

On Oct. 20, volunteers from many area credit unions will converge on the center to replace 1,000-square feet of concrete with rubber playground tiles. They’ll assemble age-suitable playground equipment. All costs have been covered by credit unions. The site will be dedicated at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, October 24.

“An appropriate play area for pre-school children has been our wish list for several years,” said Kate Green, executive director of the center at 3004 E. Queen Ave. “As a non-profit organization, raising the funds has been a challenge.”

“We chose October 20 because that’s International Credit Union Day, which celebrates the cooperative nature of credit unions,” said Wendie Ellis, president of the Spokane Chapter of the Northwest Credit Union Association, and assistant vice president of deposits and operations at Numerica Credit Union.

“Of course, each of our credit unions works to support the community individually,” Ellis said. “We recognize that we have a bigger impact by following our cooperative values in working together.”

Ellis said credit unions are grateful to Central Pre-Mix Concrete Co. and Flatworks LLC, which made a significant in-kind contribution in prepping the site for the Oct. 20 work party.

Credit unions providing financing or volunteers – or both – for the project include: Avista Credit Union, BECU, Cheney Federal Credit Union, GESA, Global Credit Union, Horizon Credit Union, Inspirus Credit Union, Numerica Credit Union, Prime Source Credit Union, Progressions Credit Union, Safeway Federal Credit Union, Sears Federal Credit Union, Spokane City Credit Union, Spokane Federal Credit Union, Spokane Firefighters Credit Union, Spokane Law Enforcement Credit Union, Spokane Media Federal Credit Union, STCU and WSECU.

Also contributing are CU Northwest, a credit union service organization, and Kaye-Smith, a direct-mail marking company and print shop. Baden Sports is providing balls for the new playground.

It is not the first time this year that Spokane-area credit unions have joined forces for a project, Ellis said. Twenty-seven volunteers from nine credit unions participated in a Habitat for Humanity work day in Deer Park, on Saturday, May 21. They spent the day on a number of tasks at two houses, including painting, and installing flooring, foam insulation and siding.

The project team will be joined by Troy Stang, CEO and President of the Northwest Credit Union Association.

About credit unions

Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives that are owned by their members. More than 100 million Americans enjoy the benefits of credit union membership, including more than 3.3 million who are members of Washington credit unions. Research conducted for the Credit Union National Association indicates that Washington credit union members save an average of $92 a year – or $175 per household – in fees and interest costs, compared to what they would pay at a for-profit financial institution.

International Credit Union Day has celebrated each year on the third Thursday of October since 1948. The day highlights the history and achievements of the credit unions, and the cooperative nature of the credit union movement.

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