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CU invests in staff, community with paid volunteer time
ST. LOUIS (7/17/14)--Leaders from 1st Financial FCU, Wentzville, Mo., have a long list of ways to encourage employees to give back to the community, such as offering opportunities to donate goods, provide financial literacy education and participate in fundraising efforts.

That list just got a little longer.

The $203 million-asset credit union in the St. Louis-area recently introduced a paid-volunteer program where it pays employees when they volunteer at designated nonprofit organizations in their communities ( St. Louis Post-Dispatch July 11).

In order to bring about true life-changing transformation in the community, the credit union's leadership says, it takes hard work, effort and people using their talents and skills for good.

"Paid volunteerism is such a great opportunity to allow our employees the chance to actively contribute to the communities we serve," said Robyn Whalen, 1st Financial vice president of human resources and administration. "We don't just donate money or raise funds for our local charities. We physically help those organizations whether it's stocking shelves at a food pantry, playing with children in a shelter or building a house."

So far, employees from 1st Financial have worked more than 165 hours of paid volunteer time at organizations such as Gateway 180: Homelessness Reversed; O.A.S.I.S. Food Pantry; PAKT Community Center; and Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles County.

The organizations are picked through the credit union's Helping People 1st grant program.

"The act of volunteering is a team- and morale-building event," Whalen said. "The employees create shared memories and work together to help a good cause."


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