January 2, 2019
Christmas came early for Pillars, a non-profit that helps individuals experiencing homelessness in the Fox Cities. It’s all thanks to Community First Credit Union member-owners with Great Rewards credit cards.
Each year, member-owners can participate in The Credit Union Magic Minute sweepstakes by using their Community First Great Rewards credit cards. Created by PSCU (Community First’s credit card processing company), the program exists to help credit unions create stronger loyalty by delivering a unique and unforgettable member experience.
Community First was chosen for the 60-second charity dash because our members had the highest participation rate as well as for how we promoted the Magic Minute campaign.
Community First selected Pillars as its Dash for Charity recipient because Pillars’ work is a true reflection of the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” and showcases the power of cooperation. (See related video.)
“We’re honored that Community First thought of us,” said Pillars Executive Director Joe Mauthe. “Magic Minute is a fantastic way for us to be able to provide additional support to our families.”
Pillars received dozens of items valued at $6,000 just before Christmas to assist in its mission. Community First employees Mindi Dunaway and Angela Kemp gathered the items in late November during their charity dash at the PSCU Rewards warehouse in Chicago.
“It was an exciting opportunity for both us and Pillars,” Kemp said. “Because of our members, we are able to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness right here in our community.”
Dunaway added, “It’s another way Community First members can impact their community by being part of our cooperative.”
The delivery will help many according to Mauthe. “Now we’ve got a big shopping basket full of things, everything from dishes and pots and pans and towels to electronics and cleaning supplies. It’s everything to outfit a new home to give you a jumpstart on your future.”
That’s significant for someone who is homeless. “On any given night we’ll have 130 to 140 people staying at one of our shelters,” Mauthe said. “These items allow us to respond to the very real needs of somebody and more quickly accelerate them to their end goal, which is always independence and self-sufficiency.”
“I am so proud and honored to have the partnership we have with Community First,” Mauthe said. “Community First has always been our partner in figuring out how we can financially and strategically continue to grow our business in a responsible way.”
Pillars was formed in the fall of 2018 by the merger of three long-standing agencies – Homeless Connections, The Housing Partnership and Fox Valley Warming Shelter. Community First has supported all three organizations for years providing volunteers, donations, guidance and financing.