PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Teachers CU (PTCU), the largest CU in Oregon, has placed a top priority on education in their area, and has created a plan to support their commitment through a special funding opportunity. A three-tiered cooperative effort is making it a reality. The PTCU, Gresham-Barlow School District and the Gresham-Barlow Education Foundation joined forces in an agreement finalized June 11 to support funds for the school district. The Gresham-Barlow Education Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1994 to support the public schools in the Gresham-Barlow School District. The Foundation focuses on procuring supplementary funding to enhance existing school programs and encouraging the development of new and innovative curriculum. It is the Foundation's goal to expand educational opportunities and experiences for the children and to support staff and student initiative and creativity. "It's a win-win situation," claims Gresham-Barlow Education Foundation Coordinator Bob Harland. "Our agreement provides resources for the Foundation and the schools in the District, and the credit union benefits with the direct deposits which help their members." Participating in the agreement with the credit union were Dr. Gretchen Schuette, Gresham-Barlow School District Superintendent, and Bob Harland for the Foundation. In the agreement, Portland Teachers CU will make a $5.00 donation to the Foundation for every Gresham-Barlow school district employee who signs up for Direct Deposit of their paycheck to their PTCU account. The employees can easily enroll by contacting their payroll department. This option is available to current PTCU members not participating in Direct Deposit, as well as potential new members. The agreement seems a natural to PTCU president/CEO Cliff Dias. "Strong schools make strong communities," said Dias. "PTCU is pleased to have this opportunity to contribute to our community and the Gresham-Barlow District. We applaud the efforts of the Foundation as they work to bridge gaps in education funding." This is the fourth agreement of this type PTCU has signed, according to Dias. Two others were also with public school districts and one with Mt. Hood Community College. In the past year, the Foundation has been able to fund 48 of 64 grant requests for a total of $56,843. Many of the life enrichment activities for the area's youth would not have been possible without the Foundation's financial support. The Foundation also has provided an additional $39,000 for parent support group projects, field trips, author and safety assemblies, math and science enrichment in the elementary schools, computers for a middle school, and scholarships for high school seniors. Harland said the agreement is off to a good start. Along with the June paychecks, employees received information in their pay envelopes about how their Direct Deposits would help the Foundation's education fund. He said even the District payroll department felt the benefits of the mutual agreement. "It reduced their workload." Every worker's dream. -

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