Let's face it: It's been a rough 2016. We lost David Bowie andPrince. Mass shootings in Orlando, San Bernardino, Calif., andelsewhere led to feelings of sorrow and fear. And now, manyAmericans are feeling heartbroken and horrified by the outcome ofthe presidential election. To quote a tweet that was featured in aJuly Buzzfeed article, “Have we tried unplugging 2016, waiting 10seconds and plugging it back in again?”

Credit unions have historically made it their mission to notonly provide high-quality, low-cost financial products andservices, but take part in charitable initiatives that help folksin their communities live better lives. These activities – whichrange from straight monetary donations to time-intensive volunteerprojects – tend to pick up during the holiday season. It helpsdifferentiate credit unions from banks and reminds members, “Hey,we're not here for our own benefit – we're here for you.” And in ayear that has brought its fair share of troubling news, it's moreimportant than ever to spread this kind of love.

CU Times has begun receiving an influx of holidaygiving announcements from credit unions with headlines such as “ABCCredit Union Donates $5,000 to XYZ Charity” and “Local Credit UnionGives 20,000 Pounds of Food to Food Bank.” While every act ofgiving should be applauded, some could use a little more thought orcreativity. The cookie-cutter headlines got me thinking, Howcan credit unions step up their charity game this year? How canthey do something that people will really remember themfor?

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has been immersed in the credit union industry for over a decade. She first joined CU Times in 2011 as a freelance writer, and following a two-year hiatus from 2013-2015, during which time she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union), she re-joined the CU Times team full-time as managing editor. She was promoted to executive editor in 2019. In the earlier days of her career, Chilingerian focused on news and lifestyle journalism, serving as a writer and editor for numerous regional publications in Oregon, Louisiana, South Carolina and the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, she holds experience in marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space. At CU Times, she covers People and Community news, cybersecurity, fintech partnerships, marketing, workplace culture, leadership, DEI, branch strategies, digital banking and more. She currently works remotely and splits her time between Southern California and Portland, Ore.