by Doug True, CEO
FORUM Credit Union is one of 5,548 credit unions in the United States, and one of the many traits FORUM shares with other credit unions is their desire to give back to the communities they serve. If you like supporting local businesses that support their community, credit unions are a great option for your financial needs. We do this in a variety of ways and this column is an opportunity to shine a light on three fun ways we carry out some of our community endeavors:
Since we are a local business serving Hoosiers and headquartered here in central Indiana, we like to promote other locally owned businesses in our community. Through what we call our community giveback events, we stop by local eateries and purchase a beverage, meal, or snack for customers as they enter the business. It’s a way for us to show our appreciation for the fellow local entity and make new friends who often times look to FORUM when searching for a financial solution. In December, we stopped by our friends at Circle City Sweets and surprised a few of their customers with treats on us. In November, we were at Della Leva Espresso Bar buying coffee and breakfast for their customers. For more stories and to find out where we are each month, please check us out on Instagram at @forumcu. We enjoy paying it forward and making a difference in our local business community.
We established the FORUM Foundation in 2014 with a focus on education. It is an exciting time at the Foundation as this May we will see our first collegiate scholarship award winners graduate. These seven FORUM members will soon be graduating from Purdue University (2), Indiana University, IUPUI, Manchester University, and Davidson College. Each year the Foundation awards seven $5,000 scholarships, renewable for four years ($20,000 total), to FORUM members. In addition to the scholarship program, the Foundation also awards $25,000 annually to local educators for grant requests covering a variety of educational endeavors in our local school systems across central Indiana. Through the educator grants, we have funded 83 projects at 70 different schools ultimately impacting more than 23,625 local schoolchildren. If you are interested in learning more about FORUM Foundation, please visit www.forumcu.com/foundation.
This is a special one and is appropriately called the Spirit of FORUM. The Spirit of FORUM is 100% organized, funded, and delivered by the 353 FORUM employees. Each year a nomination goes out to all employees for charities to be considered as a partner for the calendar year. Then an employee vote is conducted and one or two charities with the highest vote count are selected to partner with for the year. FORUM employees work together in devising a plan to contribute our time, talent, and treasure to truly go deep with one or two charities to make a significant difference. In 2018, there were two special partners – Brooke’s Place and Good Samaritan Network. Through events like jeans days, SOUPer Bowl competition, duck toss events, FORUMbay, and other fun activities FORUM employees raised nearly $30,000 for these two charities. The financial support does not include the value of collections drives we held last year – donations of personal hygiene supplies, games for children, coats + mittens, blankets, and more. FORUM employees dedicated 482 of paid volunteer hours at these organizations and other charities personal to our team. The 482 hours do not include the many more hours spent by employees on their own time. The special thing about this outpouring of support is we truly make a big difference at one or two places and develop lifelong friendships with these organizations. It should also be noted our employees continue to serve dinner at Dayspring Center every month and support them with supplies and monetary donations. Dayspring Center was one of our first charities chosen by our employees and the people of Dayspring remain close friends of ours. For 2019, the charity selected by our employees is the Diabetes Youth Foundation of Indiana and we cannot wait to show them our team spirit via the Spirit of FORUM.
I share these three examples not to brag on what we do for our community, although I am extremely proud of our FORUM teammates who passionately give of their time, talents, and treasures, but instead to shine a light on what makes FORUM an Indiana-owned (owned by you our members) business that takes pride in our community we serve. Thank you for being a FORUM member, as we know you have a multitude of options in which to conduct your financial business. By choosing FORUM, you are reinvesting in your community and your patronage helps us help others.