CSCU Scholarships Winners Take Outreach to New Heights  

Tampa, FL (March 1, 2012) – Card Services for Credit Unions’ (CSCU) Community Outreach Scholarship program recognizes and rewards credit unions that are building relationships and giving back in their own communities. Started in 2008 the CSCU Community Outreach Scholarship program provides all credit unions the opportunity to share and be rewarded for their exceptional outreach efforts. 

“Credit unions are founded on the idea of people helping people,” said CSCU President Robert Hackney. “The Community Outreach Scholarship program exemplifies this philosophy and provides us a way to give back to those who are helping others. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to share the many ways our member credit unions are giving back to their communities.”

This year 94 credit unions submitted applications that highlighted the most to date in donations and innumerable service hours. From these applicants a total of 12 credit unions were selected to receive scholarships totaling $14,000. And new this year was a fans favorite winner, where CSCU encouraged members of credit unions to vote for their favorites on CSCU’s social media channels. “While all of CSCU’s Community Outreach winners will be recognized at our annual conference, the stories were so inspiring, that we wanted to highlight a few of the extraordinary submissions,” continued Hackney.

Sending Santa to the Troops

While many organizations work to send troops care packages, few can attest to sending Santa or stuffing a bus! Thus, CSCU’s first place winner and recipient of a $5,000 scholarship is Saginaw Medical Federal Credit Union (SMFCU) located in Saginaw, Michigan. Partnering with the Yellow Ribbon Guard, SMFCU hosted a “Send Santa to the Troops” stuff-a-bus event that raised more than 600 pounds of Halloween candy, three buses full of gifts, and more than $1,600 in cash donations.

SMFCU and the Yellow Ribbon Guard kept the program engaging and interactive through their respective Facebook pages by posting pictures of the soldiers as they received the packages. And winning the scholarship will allow SMFCU to expand their outreach efforts in 2012 as well as make the next stuff-a-bus event an even bigger success. “This year we did little promotion before our event, so the scholarship from CSCU will allow us to build excitement around our 2012 event and help us raise even more donations” said Barb Williams, Vice President of Marketing/Business Development at SMFCU. “The commitment from CSCU will only extend our commitment to our members and the troops.”

Providing Tools For Success

Before assistance from the ELGA Credit Union (ELGA CU) and Carriage Town Ministries, the Finley House project was little more than a dream. Located in Flint, Michigan, the Finley House was once a neglected structure. But thanks in large part to the efforts of ELGA CU and their employees, renovations are complete and the Finley House now provides troubled women transition housing and the professional development needed to get back on their feet. It is frequent practice for able organizations to financially contribute to such causes, but the employees of ELGA CU wanted to go further.

“We wanted to prove we were willing to do whatever it takes to make our community a better place to live,” said Meghan Johnson, Visa Card Services at ELGA CU. Not only did ELGA CU donate $4,000 for a new roof for the house, 25 employees donated their time to help with construction, landscaping and painting. Their extraordinary outreach now equips eight women with the tools to build a brighter future.

Clothing Community Children

“High school can be a tough time for many children in our community,” said Lesa Martineau, Visa Coordinator at Delta County Credit Union (DCCU). “When we learned about an opportunity to help Clothes Closet it was something we couldn’t pass up.” The Clothes Closet, located in Escanaba, Michigan, is a store that provides free clothing to homeless or less fortunate high school students in the community.

When most people were busy planning holiday shopping trips, DCCU employees were gathering countless items for a donation to the Clothes Closet. To further extend their outreach, employees cancelled their company gift exchange and in its place donated enough money for more than 30 students to receive gift certificates to local stores. Teachers then took students to local stores to purchase items that were not available in their size at the Clothes Closet. Funds from DCCU’s CSCU Community Outreach Scholarship allowed them to provide four more gift certificates for students to buy warm winter clothes. 

A complete list of winners can be on All 2011 Community Outreach Scholarship winners will be recognized at the CSCU 2012 Annual Conference, April 25 – April 29 at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club in St. Petersburg, Florida. Credit unions across the country are encouraged to submit their application for the 2012 Community Outreach Scholarship program beginning in October 2012 at

CSCU is the credit union industry’s advocate, partner and leader in total payment solutions. Created by and for credit unions, we are driven by the same principles that guide the industry. We work exclusively with credit unions to provide a customized, holistic offering that maximizes value for both credit unions and their members. CSCU’s services and offerings are focused on driving the growth and success of our nearly 3,000 member credit unions. Learn more at, or find CSCU on Facebook and Twitter.