ASHEVILLE, N.C. — In a burst of industry enthusiasm for charity giving and image promotion, credit unions in North and South Carolina are finding the “Little Guy” mascot has mighty strong legs, suitable for carrying CUNA’s banner in relay runs while also serving to make “lots of new credit union friends” in the branches.

According to Kim Thore, director of marketing at Piedmont Aviation Credit Union in Winston Salem, a 6’1″ employee dressed up as the Little Guy wowed employees and members on a visit this summer to CU branches as part of a now three-year-old campaign to raise funds for the Micro Community Grants program of the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation.

That program, with Little Guy’s help, has now topped $500,000 in donations, making it one of the largest gift of its kind among foundation charities. The funds will aid more than 20 needy groups in the two states–from foster homes to medical clinics.

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