People Helping People is more than just a philosophy.
It is part of UECU's employee experience all year long. While we support local organizations with our personal and corporate gifts, we also get to know the organizations we support and the people they serve by "getting out there."
It is one thing (and an important one!) to give financially to help further the work of important services and organizations in our community. It just means so much more when we join in the effort personally.
However, UECU's community goes far beyond just our geographical hometown. We are equally connected to the utility and energy industry nationwide. It is simply part of UECU's DNA and we look forward to opportunities to travel and participate in events where they gather and celebrate the work they do. We enjoy celebrating with them!
Today we talk with Dawn Pavlick and Kaitlin Keck, two UECU staff members who help lead our charge for giving and volunteering in our community and beyond. Press "play" and you'll see just how much "People Helping People" really means to us.
Topics & Timing
(0:37) Today’s discussion is out UECU’s commitment to our community, through direct employee involvement and support as well as the organization’s outreach and sponsorship of local and industry-related causes and events.
(1:10) Meet our guests, and Janene’s UECU co-workers: Dawn Pavlick, Loan Processing Manager & Co-Chair of the Employee Volunteer Program Committee, and Kaitlyn Keck, Business Development Specialist & Chair of our United Way Committee.
(2:18) The credit union industry’s collective philosophy is “People Helping People.”
(2:45) That philosophy was a natural outcome of the credit union industry’s creation to meet the post-depression-era need for personal and small business banking services left unmet during that tumultuous time.
(4:12) If the motto of the industry is “People Helping People,” then our goal is to do more than just offering banking services. We also want to make a difference.
(5:05) Get to know Kaitlin and Dawn, how they came to be part of the UECU team and the things that make them happy outside of the workday.
(8:30) UECU’s history of supporting our local United Way of Berks County.
(8:52) UECU has been financially supporting United Way since 1996, encouraging employees to help meet our community’s needs.
(10:23) Overview of United Way of Berks County: they support over 30 non-profit agencies that meet direct community needs. The majority of the work they do is managed by volunteers and is the direct result of community assessments, often responding to needs that arise quickly, like Covid’s affect on personal finances that increased needs for food and housing, and more.
(13:01) Another value of United Way is the opportunity to provide a credible option for general community giving, for those individuals who want to give but don’t know who to support.
(14:35) How does the UECU team support United Way specifically? 10 staff are currently on the United Way Committee. That’s 10% of UECU staff!
(15:20) UECU is currently in the top 50 United Way of Berks County Business Supporters (31st).
(15:50) The United Way committee at UECU holds monthly fundraisers and events to raise funds to put toward our annual campaign gift, and to provide ongoing awareness of United Way and the great work they do.
(18:00) Overview of our experiences during the annual fall United Way fundraising campaign, and how that’s not the beginning and the end of UECU’s work to support United Way.
(19:44) UECU as an organization supports and encourages UECU campaign giving with unique gifts that employees enjoy, such as give-a-day, get-a-day where UECU gives employees a day of PTO if they pledge an annual gift equal or more than a single day of pay…and so much more.
(21:23) The annual campaign raffle is one way that the organization, employees, and local businesses and partners help us say thanks to the employees who give to their United Way.
(22:30) The infamous pumpkin-roll and the frame-filled scratch-off lottery ticket raffle prizes are always the ones that garner top interest! Our United Way committee keeps it fun too.
(23:40) Our involvement with United Way also gave our staff the opportunity to get out in the community to volunteer. It isn’t just about raising funds. The annual Day of Caring always helps UECU staff get to know services in the community that United Way supports.
(24:16) QUOTE “UECU stands by the heart of serving and People Helping People” -Kaitlin
(24:38) This year, UECU’s staff is supporting two organizations on the September Day of Caring: New Journey Community Outreach (meeting community food and clothing needs, and supporting individuals with clothing needed for job interviews) and Opportunity House (provides homeless shelter, transitional housing, veterans support, childcare support to families and individuals in need).
(26:55) Volunteering in the community means so much, and the Day of Caring really helps give those opportunities to employees of companies involved in their annual fundraising campaign.
(27:14) QUOTE “There’s just something about setting foot inside, and seeing what’s going on. I can’t put a price tag on the value of that, of being part of it…seeing families that are changed and lives that are improved.” -Janene
(33:00) Dawn gives a quick history of our relatively new Employee Volunteer Program Committee, how it grew out of a leadership training program some of our staff have attended and it’s goal to help provide more opportunities for our staff to get out to serve hands-on in our community.
(34:20) QUOTE “You wanted to volunteer and I think a lot of people had that same feeling as I do, that you want to help, but you just don’t know where to go or have that chance.” -Dawn
(34:51) 12 UECU employees are currently part of the Employee Volunteer Program (EVP) Committee
(35:11) A quick overview of the Judge Bradley Leadership Training for credit union staff (now called CrossState Leadership School). Lisa Delucia and Greg Cosgrove, two members of our current staff, spearheaded the EVP committee as a result of that experience.
(36:24) Dawn co-chairs the EVP with co-worker Barb Musche today.
(37:18) UECU is always very supportive of our staff having the opportunity to volunteer even when it is during the work day. They also provide financial resources to buy needed supplies for these events.
(38:33) The list of volunteer opportunities that UECU staff has supported is long! Most recently, crafting cat toys for the Animal Rescue League of Berks County, picking potatoes with IHartHarvest that provides farm fresh produce to our local food pantry.
(41:33) The annual Big Cheese event organized by the United Way of Berks County is a large volunteer event in our community to assemble mac & cheese meals for families in our community with food insecurity.
(42:18) We support with volunteer hours through the year, many of the agencies that we give to United Way to help fund as more: Opportunity House, New Journey Community Outreach, Cups of Compassion (a holiday season community event created by caring individuals, not an organization), and more
(44:35) A very impactful organization for Dawn is Doug & Liz Graybill’s organization: Veterans Making a Difference who works with the Hope Rescue Mission to meet needs of veterans in our community
(45:40) and there’s more: community clean up along the Thun Trail, and newly organized by the EVP committee this year, UECU is organizing a week-long blood drive at Miller Keystone Blood Center in honor of International Credit Union Day!
(46:55) In addition to the individual efforts of our awesome employees, UECU also supports utility and energy industry-specific groups nationwide through event participation and sponsorship. Our community isn’t just at home…as we have members in all 50 states at linemen rodeos, expos, energy and utility associations.
(49:45) QUOTE “It’s just kind of a part of our DNA to support the utility and energy industry as a company.” -Janene
(50:05) We also do a bit of direct support to members and industry friends in a general “random acts of kindness” way too. Sponsoring a meal for crews on storm duty, snacks and thanks to workers we see nearby on sunny days, and more.
(50:58) We also work with other credit unions close to home to improve financial well-being in our community. This year, UECU’s own Erica Wennell is leading the charge as we organize Financial Reality Fairs in local high schools with our credit union partners.
(52:16) We also support local youth and important initiatives in various ways, from cheering on high school sports teams and athletes, to helping make fun events available for elementary school students and children with disabilities
(53:48) We support financial needs through various scholarships as well. We have our own scholarship contest for members nationwide and in PA, and we have supported local events that fund scholarships for others as well. For families in need, we also participate in holiday gift collections for a very long time. We’ve also provided event support for various groups raising awareness and funds for things like overcoming Alzheimer’s and bringing our community together to appreciate our varied cultural contributions, and more.
(56:18) Financial Tip time!
(1:00:25) Thanks to our guests Dawn and Kaitlin.
(1:00:38) It’s easy to find UECU and our podcast! Search your favorite podcast app for UECU, and drop by our social media profiles to let us know your thoughts on each episode topic! Links for our social media profiles and to all of the groups we’ve discussed today can be found in our show notes. We hope you’ll subscribe, share and come back for our next episode.
(56:34) Kaitlin: Save when you don’t know you need to.
(57:38) Dawn: Contribute to your 401K (or any retirement fund) as early as you can.