Canadian credit unions are unique in the ways that they conduct business and serve their members. They open accounts, complete transactions, accept deposits, offer business services, and much more. But what we celebrate as the credit union difference extends far beyond financial services.
As member-owned co-operatives, local credit unions have a long, distinguished history of reflecting the strength of their co-operative values in forging stronger communities. Locally this spirit drives community economic development, dedicated volunteerism, community sponsorships, scholarships, bursaries and a wide range of charitable giving. In each community this commitment to sustaining strong communities is at the core of the credit union difference. In 2011, Canada’s credit unions contributed more than $41.4 million to their communities in the form of direct donations, financial services, sponsorships, scholarships and bursaries. Credit unions:
gave more than $31.4 million through donations and sponsorships
donated more than $2.2 million to charitable foundations
provided more than $2.2 million in donations-in-kind
awarded more than $1.0 million in scholarships and bursaries
contributed nearly $4.6 million in financial services to community organizations
In addition to the monetary support, credit union employees support their local communities through volunteerism. Seventy percent of credit union survey respondents said that their employees volunteered during their unpaid time off, and almost half of the credit unions surveyed also said their employees participated in community activities as part of their paid work.
Some of the initiatives Canadian credit unions support include: economic development and housing, environmental causes and disaster relief, health/long-term care, educational programs and facilities, art and culture, and sports. Across Canada, the majority of contributions were made locally, but credit unions also supported international causes.