SECU's company-wide Day of Kindness at SECU Stadium in Towson, Md. SECU’s company-wide Day of Kindness at SECU Stadium in Towson, Md. (Photo: SECU)

In October 2020, in order to encourage acts of kindness amid the loneliness and lack of connection being felt in communities during COVID-19, the $5.2 billion, Linthicum, Md.-based SECU turned a day it had set aside for employee volunteering into a month-long campaign called Kindness Connects. The credit union distributed Kindness Kits to employees, members, partners and the community – which included items that could be used to spread kindness, such as postcards, flower seeds and sidewalk chalk – and made donations to charities for every Kindness Kit requested. Participants entered a raffle while logging their acts of kindness online, and in addition, SECU hosted a company-wide day of kindness and accepted in-branch donations.

It’s safe to say the kindness has been infectious, because the campaign has not only continued, but grown exponentially, according to an announcement from the credit union. As part of its third annual Kindness Connects campaign in October 2022, SECU beat its goal of 250,000 acts of kindness (one for every SECU member) with more than 280,000 completed acts. This represented more than triple the 70,000 acts of kindness completed in 2021 and a 4,000% increase from the number completed in the campaign’s first year.

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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.

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