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VSECU's $50,000 Member-Directed Giving Program, We Care 2, Opens Applications

MONTPELIER, VT – VSECU is announcing the annual launch of We Care 2, a member-directed giving program that distributes $50,000 to Vermont nonprofit organizations.

Now through November 25, VSECU is accepting applications from Vermont-based nonprofit organizations that make a positive and direct impact on issues of food, shelter, heat, financial education, or the environment. Programs or organizations that are specifically focused on COVID-19 relief efforts will be given priority consideration.

“We Care 2 has added significance this year as so many of Vermonters’ essential needs have been heightened by the global pandemic,” said Simeon Chapin, community impact officer at VSECU. “This member-driven program embodies the credit union philosophy of ‘People Helping People,’ which is as applicable and needed as ever. As owners, our members will be able to make an impact with their vote to support their neighbors, build our communities, and improve the quality of life for Vermonters.”

Qualifying applications will be presented on the VSECU website, and community members are encouraged to engage with their favorite organizations’ social media channels to voice their support by tagging VSECU.

Five finalists will be selected by the We Care 2 Selection Committee and announced in January for inclusion on the 2021 VSECU Annual Elections ballot. We Care 2 funds will be distributed based on the percentage of votes received from VSECU members, giving each credit union member’s vote equal financial value. This year, each finalist is guaranteed to receive at least $5,000.

Past recipients include Downstreet Housing & Community Development, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Green Mountain United Way, Intervale Center, and Groundworks Collaborative.

"The $3,737 of funding received as We Care 2 finalist in 2019 leveraged innovative housing projects in process at the time, including our Tiny ‘Mighty’ Homes pilot project. The first of its kind in the state, the pilot provides permanent, stable housing and wrap-around support services to homeless adults with mental health needs," said Mike Rama, director of advancement at Downstreet Housing & Community Development.

"Funding from VSECU’s We Care 2 program helped provide meaningful work and growth experiences for 60 young people in the summer and fall of 2019. Corps members worked alongside over 900 volunteers, school groups, and boy scouts to produce a bountiful harvest for Vermont Youth Conservation Corps’ Health Care Share project. From July to December they worked together to plant, grow, pack, and deliver weekly organic vegetables and poultry to 430 Vermont families facing food insecurity and/or diet related illness at their doctor’s office," said Breck Knauft, executive director of the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.

"With the support of VSECU's We Care 2 funds our K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching program provided in-depth financial and behavior-change coaching training to 20 nonprofit professionals in Central Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom. These client-facing care professionals work directly with community members to empower them to address financial challenges alongside other life challenges they are working to solve. Without the We Care 2 funding, we would not have been able to reach nearly so many people or agencies and we are grateful for the partnership of VSECU's employees and members,” said Tawnya Kristen, executive director of Green Mountain United Way.

Nonprofit organizations that positively impact Vermonters’ access to food, shelter, heat, financial education, or a healthy environment are invited apply for We Care 2 funding through November 25 at vsecu.com/wecare2.

VSECU is a member-owned cooperative and not for profit credit union for everybody who lives or works in Vermont, offering a full range of affordable financial products and services to its member-owners. VSECU is committed to improving the lives of Vermonters by empowering possibilities for greater social, environmental, and financial prosperity. For more information about VSECU, call 802/800 371-5162 or visit www.vsecu.com.


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