SPIRE Credit Union has been honored with both the 2018 Youth and Adult Desjardins Financial Education Awards. The awards, sponsored by the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), recognize leadership within the credit union movement on behalf of financial literacy.
For the fourth consecutive year, SPIRE won the Adult Desjardins Award. Throughout 2017, SPIRE impacted adults throughout Minnesota, and even internationally. Through a partnership with MnCUN, SPIRE hosted 30 representatives from 12 credit unions in Kenya, where they are known as Savings and Credit Co-operatives, or SACCOs. The visit, coordinated with the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), was a program designed to explore the operational environment of credit unions in the United States. Other programming included SPIRE’s Financial University, credit management and Lifelong Financial Fitness. Nearly 250 adults were reached.
SPIRE received the Youth Desjardins Financial Literacy Award for the second year in a row for SPIRE’s Building Financial Freedom program. Through partnerships with Junior Achievement, BestPrep, the Cooperative Network and schools throughout SPIRE’s service area, classes were educated in the areas of auto buying, budgeting, housing options, credit management and more. In 2017, SPIRE reached 500+ youth over 90 classroom hours.
Since its inception in 2008, SPIRE has reached 5,500+ individuals over nearly 600 classroom hours. “SPIRE believes that it is our duty to provide financial education to adults and youth,” says Bridget Petersen, SPIRE’s financial literacy coordinator, “Our efforts strive to empower people to become financially successful and thrive throughout life.”
The Credit Union’s winning entry will advance to the national competition, where it will compete with financial education projects from credit unions in other states.
“The amount of time and dedication SPIRE employees give to these initiatives is impressive,” says Dan Stoltz, President & CEO of SPIRE, “SPIRE employees truly live and breathe our mission of improving lives within our communities!”
The award is named in honor of Alphonse Desjardins, the founder of the North American credit union movement, who established the first “caisse populaire” (people’s bank) in Quebec in 1900, and helped establish the first American credit union in New Hampshire in 1909. Desjardins was an ardent believer in the value of teaching children to save, and he promoted the idea of in-school savings programs.