2010 a Banner Year for Civic Affairs
February 11, 2011 | Alliant Credit Union
Established in 2004 to formalize Alliant Credit Union's commitment to community service and beneficial causes, the Civic Affairs Committee now consists of some 35 dedicated Alliant employee volunteers who offer their time and talents to programs and events that assist others. In 2010 the Committee once again carried out its mission to provide opportunities for our credit union and its employees to give back to the community...making a difference through charitable donations, helpful programs and volunteerism. During the year Civic Affairs planned and coordinated nearly 20 successful, meaningful initiatives supporting worthy causes for education and financial literacy, healthcare, disaster relief and more.
Civic Affairs' 2010 year of service began with a huge humanitarian effort to assist Haiti earthquake victims. Working closely with Alliant Credit Union Foundation's Vice President Wayne Rosenwinkel, Civic Affairs member Albert Obay helped organize and publicize a highly successful employee fundraising program. The Foundation established a special $10-to-$1 Employee Donation Match, resulting in a $40,000 contribution to Red Cross Haiti Relief.
Also in January Civic Affairs coordinated the first two of numerous financial literacy teaching schedules taught at public schools in the Chicago area by Alliant volunteer teachers. These employees conducted the “Banking on Our Future” program developed by Operation HOPE, a national organization dedicated to financial literacy and economic empowerment. But January was just the beginning of an active year of philanthropic programs and events coordinated by Alliant’s Civic Affairs Committee.
In early February just before the Super Bowl, Civic Affairs partnered with Alliant's Employee Events Committee to raise money for Orphan Foundation of America (OFA). Over $1,600 was contributed by Alliant employees through chili lunch donations and Super Bowl Raffle ticket sales. OFA helps foster children become successful adults, focusing on those who are "aging out" of the foster care system.
"Keep Prescott School Open" Campaign
Led by the efforts of Alliant CEO Dave Mooney, who encouraged employee activism, and Civic Affairs member Janet Meinheit, who addressed the Board of Education at a public hearing, Civic Affairs coordinated Alliant's efforts to help keep Chicago's Prescott Elementary School open. Prescott, Alliant's partner in the Chicago Public Schools Partnership Program, was placed on a school closing list due to small enrollment. Ironically, Prescott's student population had been growing recently with help from an outstanding new principal and talented faculty. Alliant employees helped Prescott's cause by contacting local education and government officials. These efforts and the persistent petitioning of other interested parties helped school authorities change their minds and keep Prescott open. To the school's administration, faculty, students, parents and other neighborhood residents, it was as if a last minute miracle had occurred.
"Spring Fling" Clothing Drive
"Walk to Empower" Breast Cancer Race
30 Alliant employees volunteered for Breast Cancer Network of Strength Mothers Day walks, raising money to assist those affected by breast cancer. Alliant Credit Union Foundation donated $100 on behalf of each Alliant participant on United Airlines sponsored teams in Chicago and San Francisco, resulting in a $3,000 donation. This annual initiative was coordinated by Civic Affairs team members Jackie Bessert and Albert Obay.
Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon
More than 25 Alliant employees, friends and family members volunteered for "paint-up, fix-up" projects at Chicago's biggest single day service event, held Saturday, June 12. Among the schools selected for sprucing up was Prescott Elementary, our partner school, where Alliant volunteers, among others, were assigned to work. Classrooms, hallways, the gymnasium and Principal's office were repainted and refurbished to the delight of school officials, faculty members, parents and students in attendance.
Bob Panzino Golf Outing for Pediatric Cancer
Civic Affairs, the Foundation and over 30 participating Alliant employees, family and friends combined to contribute over $6,000 to this charitable event, which benefits the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation.
Employee Charity Volleyball Tournament
Along with co-sponsor, Employee Events Committee, Civic Affairs coordinated Alliant's Fifth Annual Employee Volleyball Tournament. Alliant employees donated $5,000 to the tournament beneficiary, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), through team T-shirt and raffle ticket purchases. This amount was matched by Alliant Credit Union Foundation, resulting in a $10,000 donation to JDRF. The Foundation also contributed $1,250 to purchase the raffle prizes.
School Supplies Drive for Prescott Elementary
Alliant employees donated $6,000 to purchase school supplies for the students of our Chicago Public Schools partner, Prescott Elementary. The students, their parents and school administration and faculty all greatly appreciated the generosity of our employees who purchased supplies based on lists for each grade provided by the school. In addition, our Foundation donated over $4,000 for bulk school supplies and student book bags.
"Plane Pull" for Special Olympics
On September 25th, a 20-member Alliant employee team competed in the 2nd Annual Plane Pull for Special Olympics. They successfully moved a 99-ton cargo jet 20 feet in a tug-of-war style pull held at O'Hare International Airport. Alliant's Foundation donated $50 on behalf of each Alliant volunteer, raising $1,000 for Special Olympics, Illinois. Alliant's involvement was coordinated by Civic Affairs member Angelica Garcia.
Principal for a Day
On October 21st, Chicago Public Schools held their annual Principal for a Day, with business and professional people going to public schools all over the city. Alliant participated again this year, with four of our employees attending Prescott Elementary to visit classrooms and speak with students. In addition, three of our "Principals" taught a condensed Operation HOPE financial literacy curriculum to 7th graders. Many thanks to Jerry Anderson, Colleen Bjerkness, Janet Meinheit and Rob Russell for representing Alliant as Principals for a Day.
Shoe Drive for Stuff for the Poor
Alliant Credit Union's Civic Affairs Committee sponsored a Shoe Drive during October to assist poor people in Africa. During this very successful program, many generous, thoughtful Alliant employees donated 465 pairs of new or gently used shoes that were given to Stuff for the Poor, a non-profit organization. Their mission is to invest in the future of developing countries and increase their quality of life, utilizing the second-hand goods of developed countries and decreasing the waste in landfills.
Holiday Food Drive
During November and December Civic Affairs sponsored Alliant's Annual Food Drive.
Employees contributed food, household supplies and money, which were donated to the Maine Township Food Pantry, which serves Des Plaines, Illinois and other northwest suburban Chicago communities. In addition, our Foundation contributed $500 to the food pantry to purchase food and supplies for those in need.
March of Dimes "Blue Jeans for Babies Day"
Some 150 Alliant employees donated $5 or more to wear blue jeans on Wednesday, November 17th. Total employee contribution was $775. Plus, our Foundation matched employee donations, bringing the total to $1,550. Alliant's involvement was coordinated by Civic Affairs member Kim Kirkwood.
Operation North Pole Fantasy Flights
Civic Affairs once again coordinated Alliant employee volunteer involvement to assist in this major charity event, coordinated primarily by employees of Alliant's legacy sponsor, United Airlines. On a Saturday in December, seriously ill children and their families arrived at airports around the country for a "Fantasy Flight" to the North Pole. There were actual or faux flights to "the North Pole", visits with Santa, great gifts, a festive lunch and other holiday oriented activities. Alliant employees helped decorate North Pole departure and arrival gates for these events at major airports in Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC. In addition, Alliant's Foundation donated $5,000 to provide financial assistance to these events ($1,000 for each market).
Education Award Programs
During the year Civic Affairs, in conjunction with Alliant's Marketing Department, conducted its two annual programs that provide education related awards to young members of the credit union.
Alliant's Member Scholarship Program
This program annually awards five, $2,000 scholarships to Alliant member students enrolled in an accredited undergraduate program at a college, university or vocational/technical institution. Entry requirements include student transcripts, statement of goals and an essay on "What belonging to Alliant Credit Union means to me".
Alliant's National Education Program
This program annually awards over $5,000 in computer gift certificates to students who are Alliant members. In all, nine gift certificates provided by Civic Affairs are given to students in three age groups. Entrants use any media they desire to describe what they want to be when they grow up and how a computer could enrich their education.
Another Big Year Is Underway
Many of 2010's helpful, successful events and initiatives are also on the Civic Affairs Schedule for 2011. In addition, the committee will continue its role of reviewing requests for Alliant Credit Union Foundation grants and recommending funding as appropriate. According to Alliant Credit Union President and CEO Dave Mooney, "We're extremely grateful to the members of Civic Affairs for their dedication and professionalism in carrying out the Committee's many programs. We feel that it's our responsibility as an organization to give back to our community and look to Civic Affairs to help us do that."
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