United Federal Credit Union staff ‘Pay It Forward’ to help local charities, families

Published 11:11 am Tuesday, December 22, 2020

ST. JOSEPH — United Federal Credit Union donated more than $12,100 to local families and organizations in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio during the 2020 Pay It Forward initiative.

Collectively, United employees donated more than $17,700 to 63 different families, individuals and community organizations across the six states where branches are located.

As part of Pay It Forward, United provided $20 to every employee to give to a needy individual, family or organization of their choice. Many departments and branches combined funds and even added their own financial contributions to create a more substantial donation, further demonstrating the passion Team United has for its members and communities.

Organizations supported by United employees in southwest Michigan, Marion, Ohio and northern Indiana in 2020 include: Christmas Care in Berrien Springs, Sylvia’s Place, Vox United, HOPE Missions Rescue, Toys for Tots, The Caring Cupboard, The Beckley Foundation, Humane Society of Southwest Michigan, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Fresh Food Initiative, Logan Center, Lory’s Place, Tunnel to Towners Foundation, Backpack for Berrien, Hidden Acres Safe Haven, Paws of Hope, Benton Harbor Soup Kitchen, Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, Feeding America West Michigan, Salvation Army, Emergency Shelter Services Berrien County, area nursing homes, as well as 12 families struggling with medical bills and other life-changing situations.

The Pay It Forward program began in 2008 with a request from employees that they use the money otherwise spent on internal holiday celebrations to help people in the community.

United President/CEO Terry O’Rourke credited the company’s culture and the dedication to service by employees for the Pay It Forward program’s continued growth and success.

“I’m proud of the sincerity that each individual and department puts into thinking about how these dollars can make the most impact — for a family, an organization or other members of the community who need a little extra help during the holiday season,” O’Rourke said. “This year has certainly had its challenges for many of our friends and neighbors across the country, but not even a pandemic can stop Team United from giving back to those most in need.”

Typically, United gathers its entire staff to hear more about how each department utilized the charitable funds. In 2020, that meeting occurred virtually on Dec. 16 via a video presentation.

“Pay It Forward continues to grow every year, and that’s a testament to the caring nature of our employees. They find creative ways to go above and beyond no matter the challenge,” O’Rourke said. “We couldn’t have made it through such a challenging year without our team’s dedication to United’s mission. If this year has shown us anything, it’s that Team United will always be a steady presence in the lives of our members and in our communities.”