Some say the traditional gift for a 60th anniversary is the diamond. This year, WSECU employees have been celebrating six decades as a credit union in $60 increments. The credit union's Up to Some Good initiative allows employees to "pay it forward" by giving them a budget of $60 to spread some good in the community.
The guidelines are simple and let employees respond in the moment to an opportunity they see to spread goodwill. They first spend their own money and then get reimbursement from the credit union for up to $60. Employees have used the funds for a range of activities from charitable donations, to picking up a dinner tab, to purchasing items for those in need to paying down school lunch debt.
"We wanted a special way to involve employees throughout the year in celebrating our 60th anniversary and to give back to our neighbors," said Ann Flannigan, Vice President of Public Relations. "It's been a lot of fun and quite moving to see all the ways our employees have run with the concept."
Flannigan added that the staff members have enjoyed being able to be WSECU brand ambassadors in such a direct, tangible way.
Consumer Loan Servicing Team Leader Melissa Ruiz was in a Les Schwab tire shop waiting for her car when she overheard a customer talking with the clerk. The customer said she needed a new tire because she ran over a razor but didn't have more than $20 to spend. The clerk found a used tire at that price that would work short-term but really didn't properly fit. Ruiz stepped forward to offer assistance.
"I felt compelled to do something," said Melissa. "I approached the counter and shared that I work for WSECU and as an employee I am encouraged to give back to the community. I told them that WSECU would like to pay for a new tire for her car."
Both the tire customer and the clerk teared up with surprise. When the customer said she was not a WSECU member, Melissa assured her that was not a problem. The credit union just wanted to help.
"I feel blessed to work for an organization that cares so deeply and passionately for their members, employees and communities it serves," she concluded.
Another example is West Olympia Branch employee Glory Stewart. She volunteered in a Garfield Elementary classroom and decided it was time to use her $60 to help outfit the classroom. With the teacher's guidance, Stewart purchased a rug, a pillow, folders, Playdoh and pens for student use.
"The instructor was so thankful to WSECU and our continued support of the community," Glory said.
Ann noted a true pay-it-forward outcome has happened several times where recipients of WSECU employee goodwill have stated that they will, in turn, do something good for someone else.
"That's the best feeling of all, knowing that we've been a little link in a chain of good that might continue," she said.
WSECU's Up to Some Good activities will continue through 2017. The credit union will then evaluate and consider if it will continue beyond the 60th anniversary celebration.