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RALEIGH, N.C. – State Employees Credit Union is putting its monthly checking maintenance fee of $1 to good use -funding the SECU Foundation. The monthly fee will be considered a charitable contribution by the individual member, who would then be entitled to a tax deduction. Members who object to the Foundation contribution can opt-out via the SECU Web site. “The SECU Foundation was approved in 2001 and we have spent the last couple of years looking for atypical unique high impact projects to change the lives of members and their communities,” said SECU President/CEO Jim Blaine. “The beauty of the funding is that SECU is able to use the clout of a million members collectively. The $12 coming from one member might not make a difference, but collectively can make a high impact in North Carolina – giving back to their communities. In addition, we will also look at partnering with others to help with the Foundation.” As a separate 501c(3) charitable foundation it will be easier for governmental agencies and other nonprofits to partner with SECU Foundation on projects. SECU staffers will manage normal day-to-day functions and the initial Foundation board will consist of the current SECU board. To help determine the feasibility of the new funding concept, SECU tapped its branch advisory boards to serve as focus groups. Each of SECU’s 172 branches has its own advisory board, which is comprised of about eight volunteers who are representative of their community. “The boards serve as a liaison between the branch and its members, they are like our eyes and ears in the community,” said SECU Senior Vice President of Education Services Leigh Brady. “They help us with everything from determining if a branch is needed in an area to letting us in on what members really want and need in each community.” Set to kick off July 1, the Foundation will have its own Web site, and some of the specific potential foundation projects areas will focus on scholarships for public schools, community colleges and universities; affordable housing programs; helping with teacher recruitment; and looking at housing options for families whose loved ones are in NC’s hospitals for an extended period of time. Here is how it will work. The foundation will fund initial planning and development for projects that have the potential for attracting broad-based local and state partnerships and it will be self-sustaining. Priority will be given to the low resource areas of the State. Project proposals will be initiated through local SECU branch advisory boards to ensure resources are fairly distributed and approved by the Foundation board. “It goes beyond just writing a check because these types of projects really give back to the community,” said Blaine. “We’re estimating a large amount of feedback from our members voicing their opinions on the Foundation, its funding method, and potential projects. With over one million members, it is an excellent way to get our members back involved in shaping their credit union and we look forward to hearing from them.” The experimental funding project is set to run for the next 18-months. [email protected]

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