Press Releases

10 Most Recent Press Releases

Six Vermont Charities Benefit through VSECU Facebook Campaign

Facebook is not just for finding your best friend from high school or whiling away the hours playing Farmville—six Vermont-based charities discovered how it can be effectively used to help those in need.

VSECU (Vermont State Employees Credit Union) donated $10,000 to the six charities through an employee directed giving program called We Care 2. The Central Vermont Humane Society received $5,000, while five other charities, Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice, the Vermont Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Prevent Child Abuse Vermont, Camp Ta-Kum-Ta and Project Independence in Barre, each received $1,000.

From the beginning of the employee directed giving program, VSECU hoped to engage Vermonters around the state in a discussion about how the $10,000 should be distributed. Even though it would be VSECU employees who would choose the charities, they wanted to give others outside the credit union the opportunity to suggest charities and why they should be supported.

“Our Board of Directors understands that our staff is working with members and Vermonters from all over the state. Instead of them directing part of our giving budget to entities in need, they wanted our staff to be part of that identification process,” said Yvonne Garand, VSECU’s vice president of Business Development. “Ultimately, it was up to our employees to choose which charities would receive the funding set aside by our Board, but they wanted to hear from the community, too.”

According to Garand, VSECU determined that the most accessible way for people across the state to weigh in on the We Care 2 program was through its Facebook page, “A Banking Co-op for all Vermonters.” “Through Facebook, our employees were able to gain a wider knowledge of the charities available for Vermonters,” Garand said. “Our employees wanted to hear from the community hoping to gather some recommendations. Employees created a video and posted it on Facebook asking Vermonters to submit charities for our staff to consider. In addition, using Facebook gave these charities another forum to promote their causes to the community. The overall response was amazing.”

VSECU created an electronic submission form for Facebook users. For people not on Facebook, suggestions could be submitted on paper at branch locations. Nearly 440 online suggestions and 40 suggestions on paper were submitted over the course of one month. Several charities actively campaigned for their causes, urging their staff and clients to submit suggestions and write on VSECU’s Facebook wall.

According to Linda Johnson, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Vermont, the We Care 2 campaign was another way to let the community know about her charity. “I want to thank everyone who participated in this very special VSECU event,” she said. “All the charities involved make our community the great place it is, to live and work. At PCAV, we are here to help every child in Vermont thrive at home, in their school and community. Again, thank you, VSECU members and friends for supporting us all!”

During the month of July, VSECU employees using Facebook could read and consider the wall posts. All suggestions, both online and on paper, were also posted on the VSECU employee intranet, and in early August, employees were asked to submit their charity of choice where five rounds of employee voting followed narrowing the field until the final six were selected.

“Some of our employees were very passionate about their charities and were actively promoting them to their co-workers,” Garand said. “Just like community members who shared their stories and enthusiasm for charities, our employees engaged in the same online community conversation by utilizing our internal blog during the voting process. You could see where employees were talking to each other about why certain charities should be considered.”

“I am so glad to be a part of a company that is giving back to the community,” said Pattie Dupuis, who works in VSECU’s mortgage department. “I voted for the Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice because they provided such compassionate support to my family when my father was dying of cancer. We lost him last March, but he was able to die with dignity. Hospice was there for my father and for my family. I am glad I was able to be a part of funding their continued efforts.”

Garand says she hopes the We Care 2 program can continue. “Our employees really enjoyed the opportunity to help their fellow Vermonters,” she said, “and using social media made it an interesting experience. We are just now discovering the power of social media to engage VSECU members and non-members around the state.”

VSECU donated $10,000 to six charities through their employee directed giving campaign called We Care 2. Although employees made the ultimate decision on how the money should be distributed to the charities, anyone could submit a suggestion for a charitable cause via Facebook.

VSECU Helps Project Independence of Barre

VSECU Helps Project Independence of Barre Buy New Building

They call their new, renovated office and adult day care center the “P.I. Palace.” With the lyrics of “Downtown,” the 1960s hit by Petula Clark, as their theme, staff, participants, supporters and friends of Project Independence of Barre gathered to celebrate the new center at 81 N. Main St., Barre, at an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 20.

Serving central Vermonters since 1975, Project Independence is a non-profit adult day service for elderly and disabled adults who wish to stay in their own homes versus nursing homes or residential care facilities. PI offers health services and activities to stimulate physical and mental well-being. In addition, the service provides caregivers respite so that they can take a break to attend to personal needs or just to rest or relax. PI draws from 18 towns in Washington and northern Orange counties, currently serving a total of 108 clients each month.

The new, larger center will allow PI to expand to meet a growing demand for adult day services. The new center boasts a spacious, well-lit recreation area, commercial-grade kitchen, shower and restroom facilities to accommodate the disabled, physical therapy room and more. Dee Rollins, PI’s executive director, says the downtown location makes the center more accessible to clients and closer to other services.

According to Rollins, when looking for financing for the new center, she called a number of local financial institutions, but she said VSECU was the only one that responded with an offer of help. She and Scott Nichols of VBiz, VSECU’s business services department, worked closely together to construct a loan that would meet their needs.

“VSECU and VBiz were proud to partner with PI to make this dream become a reality” Nichols said. “PI has an excellent staff and receives great support from the community it serves. At VSECU, our focus is on small businesses and non-profits just like PI.”

The Project Independence open house also kicked off their Capital Campaign, a two-year fundraiser. For more about Project Independence, visit


(Top): (left to right) Sen. Bill Doyle; Kathy Town, secretary-PI Board of Directors; Dee Rollins, PI executive director; Linda Kuban, PI assistant executive director; Steve Koenemann, president-PI Board of Directors; and Scott Nichols, VSECU’s VBiz, join in open house festivities of the “P.I. Palace.” Koenemann is vice-president-information officer at VSECU, and Town is a long-time employee of VSECU, currently working in the Information Systems department.

(Center): Dee Rollins, PI executive director, and Steve Koenemann, president of PI’s Board of Directors, share the scissors following the ribbon cutting ceremony.

(Bottom): Scott Nichols, business services advisor with VBiz, VSECU’s business services for nonprofits and small businesses, addresses the audience at the PI open house.

VSECU Donates to Home Share

In response to growing environmental concerns, Home Share Now is expanding its mission to include live-in matches for individuals motivated by “green” concerns.

Don Fair - New Waterbury Branch Manager

Welcome to VSECU’s new Waterbury Branch Manager!

VSECU is pleased to introduce Don Fair as the new manager at our Waterbury Branch. Although Don is new to the branch office, he is not new to VSECU. For four years, Don has been the manager of our Call Center.

“Moving to the Waterbury Branch gives me the opportunity to really get to know the members,” Don says. “Because the Waterbury branch is so small, it has a ‘family’ feel. I look forward to working with members one-on-one to help them with their financial needs.”

Prior to coming to VSECU, Don worked for 13 years for National Life in Montpelier, where he held various management positions. Don is an avid outdoors-man and a trustee of the Barre Fish and Game Club. A native Vermonter, Don lives with his wife Renee and three children in Calais.

Chuck Karparis - New Lending VP

VSECU Names Chuck Karparis to New Management Position

With its recent expansion to serve Vermonters statewide, VSECU has restructured its senior management team naming Chuck Karparis to a newly created position, Vice President-Lending Officer. In his new position, Karparis will direct consumer lending operations, mortgage originations, asset recovery and commercial business through VBiz, VSECU’s business services for small businesses and nonprofits.

Prior to assuming his new role, Karparis was VSECU’s Vice President-Retail Officer where he managed both consumer and commercial retail activities. Jeffrey Goff, Claremont, N.H., was recently hired as the new Vice President-Retail Officer and will focus solely on consumer retail, sales and member services.

Active in the community, Karparis has been the mayor of Montpelier and currently is a trustee of the Montpelier Foundation, treasurer of the Central Vermont Community Land Trust and a member of the Montpelier Rotary Club. Karparis and his wife Tina live in Montpelier.

VSECU is a not-for-profit financial cooperative, which offers a full range of affordable financial products and services to its member owners. People eligible to join the credit union include everybody who lives or works in Vermont. For more information about VSECU, call 802/800 371-5162 or visit

Joe Rodolfy Joins Mortgage Department

VSECU Welcomes Joe Rodolfy to Mortgage Department

VSECU is pleased to announce the addition of Joe Rodolfy as mortgage originator in its Rutland Branch, 88 Merchants Row. Joe brings with him more than 20 years of mortgage lending experience in the Rutland area. He is well prepared to assist all types of borrowers who live or work in Vermont, from the first-time homebuyer to the homeowner looking for a retirement home. In addition to Rutland County, Rodolfy will assist homebuyers in Windsor, Windham, Bennington and southern Addison counties.

Active in the Rutland community, Rodolfy is a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Rutland and an affiliate member of the Rutland County Board of Realtors. Joe also has served as a school director from Mendon on the Barstow School Board and as a board member of the Rutland Amateur Hockey Association and the Rutland Regional Field House. Joe lives in Mendon with his wife Deborah and his two college-age children.

VSECU is a not-for-profit financial cooperative, which offers a full range of affordable financial products and services to its member owners. People eligible to join the credit union include everybody who lives or works in Vermont. For more information about VSECU, call 802/800 371-5162 or visit

Vermont Students Compete in LifeSmarts

A team of five students from North Country Career Center, Newport, beat five other teams from around Vermont to win the first LifeSmarts competition ever held in Vermont. Now they go on to compete for the National Championship in Miami, Florida on April 24 – 27. The team displayed a broad range of knowledge in the game-show style competition that covered topics including personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities.

LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League and is designed to give young people the life skills they will need to become independent young adults when they leave high school for college or leap directly into the job market.

We are proud to be a founding member of Vermont’s non-profit youth financial literacy program called Jump$tart which helps Vermont’s young people learn responsible money management by working with schools, youth organizations and parents as well as directly with students. Through this program we were able to support this first ever LifeSmarts competition in Vermont.

We hope to see more high school teams compete next year! If you want to help a teacher or high school get involved for the state competition next year, contact LifeSmarts.

VSECU First Credit Union to Serve All Vermonters

VSECU has become the first credit union in Vermont approved to serve anyone who lives or works anywhere in Vermont. The decision came from the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration (BISHCA) in late 2009.

With the acquisition and merging of regional and state banks in Vermont, this decision comes at a time when Vermont consumers are left with less choice for local banking needs. Now VSECU can be an alternative to for-profit banks, with a stable and local presence for all Vermonters.

This exciting change comes after years of working with other state-chartered credit unions through the Association of Vermont Credit Unions and BISHCA to modernize the credit union statute. The Vermont legislature passed H.149 in May 2006, paving the way for greater competition among all financial institutions in Vermont and greater choice for consumers.