Montpelier, VT — VSECU, a member-owned cooperative and not for profit credit union for everybody who lives or works in Vermont, is donating $23,000 to Vermont charities through its member-directed, charitable giving program, We Care 2. More than 4,600 VSECU members allocated the earmarked funds by casting votes for one of five charitable organizations that impact issues of food, shelter, heat, environment, or financial education for Vermonters.
“At VSECU, we believe in using our strength as a cooperative to leverage change on a number of levels: financial, environmental, and social. When we take care of our neighbors, it improves the quality of life for all Vermonters,” said Simeon Chapin, director of social and community development at VSECU. “The We Care 2 program empowers all of our members to make a positive impact on our community by directly supporting the organizations they value, and helping them continue the work they do.”
Each year, the We Care 2 program receives applications from qualifying charities across the state. VSECU’s Giving Committee chooses five finalists that demonstrate a commitment to meeting the essential needs of all Vermonters. The five 2018 finalists were Blue Star Mothers of Vermont, Charter House Coalition, Community Harvest of Central Vermont, Mercy Connections, and Prevent Child Abuse Vermont. During VSECU’s Annual Elections process, members had the opportunity to cast a vote for their favorite organization.
We Care 2 funds were distributed based on the percentage of votes each charity received. As directed by VSECU members, the charities received the following We Care 2 funds:
- Blue Star Mothers of Vermont received $4,922 to provide support to veterans, active military, and the families of our fallen through services such as financial/emergency assistance for utilities, food, rent, gas, vehicle repairs, homemade meals delivered to veteran housing, and a pet program. The pet program offers pet fostering, veterinary service assistance, free use of comfort dogs and cats, and a service-dog program.
- Charter House Coalition received $1,410 to directly support the critical emergency shelter needs of homeless individuals in Addison County through individual and family shelters, which can provide emergency shelter for up to 20 individuals and five families. The number of individuals and families being served has nearly doubled from last year, increasing the need to ensure appropriate overnight awake staffing, bedding, nutritious meals, facilities, and basic hygiene materials.
- Community Harvest of Central Vermont received $5,703 to add an additional staff member, which will allow CHCV to increase the quantity of donated, recovered food by moving surplus from areas of the state with excess to others with more need, such as Washington County.
- Mercy Connections received $2,088 to enhance their education offerings and financial literacy efforts. Through several different initiatives, people will acquire the skills and access programs that will result in bank-ready business plans, reduced debt, increased financial literacy, increased confidence and motivation, earnings, and a much-needed sense of belonging and community.
- Prevent Child Abuse Vermont received $8,877 for its Nurturing Parenting Programs, which bring participant families together for a nutritious meal. The funds would be used to buy food for the meals for the 50+ Nurturing Parenting Programs held each year.
Linda Johnson, executive director of We Care 2’s top vote-getter, Prevent Child Abuse Vermont, said, “We cannot thank VSECU’s members enough for supporting organizations working with vulnerable populations across our state. Prevent Child Abuse Vermont will use these special dollars to purchase food for nutritious meals served to participating families attending Nurturing Parenting Programs throughout Vermont. This support is truly needed and deeply appreciated.”
To learn more about We Care 2 and the winning organizations, visit www.vsecu.com/wecare2.
VSECU is a member-owned cooperative and not for profit credit union for everybody who lives or works in Vermont, offering a full range of affordable financial products and services to its member-owners. VSECU is committed to improving the lives of Vermonters by empowering the possibilities for greater social, environmental, and financial prosperity. For more information about VSECU, call 802/800 371-5162 or visit www.vsecu.com (link is external).