Six years ago, employees at Diamond Credit Union rallied around two of their colleagues who were fighting personal battles with cancer.
That compassion proved to be a strong enough motivator for the $372 million cooperative in Pottstown, Pa., to seek out ways to raise money to help eradicate the disease through the creation of the Diamond’s Hope Relay Team.
With the help of the entire staff, Diamond CU hosts a variety of fundraising events throughout the year. In 2011, the team held their annual golf outing, a Longaberger Basket/Coach Bag Bingo event, “Beef and Beer,” a shredding event, hosted chicken barbecue dinners, held several hot dog and bake sales, and the list goes on.
One of the biggest fundraising milestones broke all kinds of records this year. Diamond CU made the American Cancer Society Relay For Life a fundraising focus for six consecutive years, and this year has been the best yet, according to the credit union. The previous record for Diamond’s Hope was $65,000 in 2009. In 2011, the team bested their previous record by more than $6,000 when they raised $71,777. With the latest contribution, the credit union has raised a total of more than $334,414.
“The story here is all about our staff and the degree in which they have embraced this sense of community involvement,” said John Faust, president/CEO of Diamond CU. “The type of success we’ve achieved is really reflective of this.”
Diamond CU’s Hope was also ranked as the top fundraiser for the Pottstown Relay For Life and was also recognized with a Rookie of the Year award for their efforts with Bark For Life, which is a subevent of the Pottstown Relay involving friends of the furry kind.
The credit union’s 110 employees are so proactive about raising funds that little to no prompting is needed to plan out the litany of creative events the staff comes up with each year, said Todd Rothenberger, vice president of marketing.
“There’s people throughout the entire organization that are taking leadership roles from IT to marketing to frontline individuals at the branches that make these events comes to life,” Rothenberger said.
Earlier this year, more than 400 people packed a local firehouse raising $10,000 for the American Cancer Society. The credit union’s annual golf outing raised roughly $32,000 and a Longaberger Baskets and Coach bag Bingo event had a large turnout as well. Faust said there is at least one fundraiser going each month.
“We’re always looking at the events to see how we can tweak them even more,” Faust offered.
Over the last 11 years, Diamond CU has also contributed to United Way. This year’s employee pledges totaled $20,000, Rothenberger said. Much of the donations are steered towards programs in the community that support early childhood education, to help those struggling financially to gain new skills and assisting the elderly with maintaining a certain standard of life, according to Faust.
“The criteria we look to on where to get involved is to determine the community’s needs and looking at what business partnerships we have forged,” Faust said.
Four blood mobile drives are also held each year. In time for the holidays, the credit union is doing a cookie sale for its members and is participating in the Salvation Army’s angel tree, which collects presents for disadvantaged children. A microsite, the Diamond Edge Network, showcases videos and other features highlighting charitable work.
Even in a down economy, the giving momentum has not eased up at all at Diamond CU.
“The fact that we set an all-time record [with Relay for Life] is an indicator that the level of giving has not decreased,” Rothenberger said. “We recognized the [economy’s] environment, but we didn’t want to make it an excuse. I would say three years ago we had great momentum going in and it never stopped. There have been some obstacles but we look for other ways to make it happen.”