Recognizing the deep impact COVID-19 has been causing throughout Minnesota, SPIRE organized a campaign to give $250,000 to 187 Minnesota businesses and charities. In a unique approach, SPIRE’s leadership reached out to each of its 300 employees among 20 branches and 20 administrative departments to select local businesses and charities.
“This was one of my initial projects in my new role with SPIRE,” said SPIRE Giving Coordinator Abby Patterson, “We wanted to empower staff to give big, allow employees to have a personal connection to this initiative, and see their impact first hand. Employees made telephone and video calls to notify organizations of their selection to receive funds. These businesses were happily surprised, and often times overwhelmed by the generosity of these unsolicited funds.”
“I started at SPIRE just a few weeks before the SPIRE Gives Big campaign was launched, and was happy to be given the opportunity to help communities in this way,” said SPIRE Graphic Designer Taylor Kilgore, “Being allowed to select charities that are meaningful to me only confirms that I had landed in the right place with my new employer.”
The 187 businesses represent communities throughout Minnesota and SPIRE’s 20-branch service area. Causes included animals, cancer, child wellness, community outreach, financial education, homelessness, hunger, mental health, veterans and more.
Stories of how funds will be used are heart-warming. One example is Open Arms, a non-profit that cooks and delivers free, nutritious meals to people living with life-threatening illnesses in the Twin Cities. “We are so grateful for SPIRE’s gift," said Megan White, Institutional Relations Officer for Open Arms of Minnesota, "These funds will support the production and delivery of medically-tailored meals for some of the most vulnerable neighbors living with life-threatening illnesses in our communities across the Twin Cities. SPIRE’s contribution will indeed ‘give big’ providing 840 made-from-scratch meals to Open Arms clients!”
Often times, funds helped organizations that were not able to hold fundraisers, and hence allowing them to continue helping people in need. Guild, Incorporated in St. Paul, whose mission is to help people with mental illness lead quality lives, was forced to cancel their Bash4Guild fundraiser. This event would have generated funds for their Youth Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), a team that serves at-risk youth with mental illness. Without SPIRE’s donation, they were considering scaling back or cancelling programs for this group, but instead were able to use SPIRE’s donation for their spring and summer programs.
“On behalf of the 300 employees and 125,000+ members of SPIRE Credit Union, we are honored to GIVE BIG to our communities,” remarked SPIRE President/CEO Dan Stoltz, “These organizations continue to support people despite economic hardship. We’re grateful to have the ability to support and uphold the important work they do.”