TAMPA, Fla. -- A new debit card offering from Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union is helping to raise money for schools in the 15 counties that the CU serves.
Every time one of the CU's members uses the Suncoast For Schools Rewards Check Card the credit union donates five cents to the Suncoast For Kids Foundation, which distributes the donated funds to the 15 counties for use in their schools.
"Our Rewards Check Card gives members an opportunity to fill a void and support public schools through their relationship with Suncoast," said Tom Dorety, president/CEO. "It is central to who we are to support education because we were founded by educators, for educators. It's really a logical progression that we connect our members to their communities, keeping local money in the local economy."
Disbursement of funds begins with an initial discussion between Suncoast Schools FCU and the individual school systems within the 15 county radii. "Our goal is to use the available funds in the best possible way, so we look for input and guidance from the school systems that will benefit," says Mary Tlachac, executive director of the Suncoast Kids Foundation.
It is not yet clear precisely how many schools will be helped, but the CU projected that more than $1.2 million will flow from card transactions to the schools in 2008.
The CU cited examples of where the funding has ended up and how it has been used. For example, some of the money made it possible for programs like The Guadalupe Center of Immokalee to provide approximately 2,500 books and supplies to be used by children, parents, and teachers as a tool to promote early literacy in the home. The funding also allowed the center to seek national accreditation.
The funding also goes to support the Lee Memorial In-Hospital Teacher, a joint initiative between the hospital, school districts of Lee and Collier County, and Suncoast. The financial support provides one-third of the salary for a full-time in-hospital teacher plus workbooks and supplies. This teacher helps children who are required to stay in the hospital for extended periods to keep up with their school work.
In Suncoast's home-base of Hillsborough County the foundation is also funding the Central Bank Exhibit Cluster of the new Glazer Children's Museum, where children will learn that a "bank" is a place that holds and dispenses a finite amount of resources, the CU said.
Suncoast Schools FCU will continue providing a $1,000 scholarship to each public high school throughout the 15 counties served, along with teacher grants and discretionary funds for principals.