Visa is committed to strengthening the communities in which we live and work by using our resources, network and the talent of our global employee base to make a positive social impact where it is most needed.

Since April 2021, Visa has distributed over $9 million in Community Investment Funding, and an additional $27 million in commitments to our community financial institutions.

One such client is Oak Ridge, Tennessee-based Y-12 Federal Credit Union (Y-12 FCU).

In East Tennessee, where Y-12 is located, one in six children is at risk of hunger. Nearly 42% of Tennessee households that benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have kids. Building on a mission of “people helping people”, Y-12 founded the Y-12 FCU Gives Foundation with the purpose of providing food, knowledge, and resources in the communities they serve.

“Our mission is to minimize and reduce the number of undernourished children in East Tennessee. These are our communities, and we deeply care for the children here. So we’ve stuck our stake in the ground on that. And I do think that working at such a granular level has helped us” said Alicia Strange, Y-12 FCU’s Director of Community & PR.

Formed in 2017 by Y-12 Federal Credit Union’s CEO, Mark Ziegler, the Y-12 FCU Gives Foundation has awarded over $674,000 to local East Tennessee organizations. With the 2022 cycle, total grants will exceed 1.2 million dollars. Grant recipients range from charities that provide food pantries and other food assistance initiatives to school nutrition programs and other food insecurity services.

“The Y-12 FCU Gives Foundation works as a conduit between our credit union and other organizations who either solely support childhood hunger or have a component as part of their mission that supports childhood hunger…  we are the bridge connecting those entities” said Alicia Strange.

Recognizing the great work Y-12 FCU is doing, Visa recently pledged its support directly to the Foundation. “It’s about having an impact. Not only on portfolio growth, but in giving back to the local community,” said Visa’s VP of the Mid-Atlantic region, Emily Leach.

“Support from partners like Visa helps us surpass our normal giving capabilities. Our current grant cycle will award $534,000 to over 33 local charities that align with our mission of fighting childhood hunger. Visa’s contribution empowered our foundation to have a substantial boost in giving capacity for this grant cycle,” said Charlie McAdams, Y-12 FCU Foundation’s Board Chair.

Alicia Strange thinks it goes even beyond that, adding “This year, we gave almost $600,000 but year over year when you add everything up from 2017 to this year, it’s going to exceed $1.2 million… and that’s a short amount of time to do a lot of giving. Thousands upon thousands of children have been fed because of these efforts.”

Ultimately, for all involved, it comes down to making a difference in the local community. As Ms. Strange sums up, “Part of what we do will break your heart, and then it will give you joy back because you hear some of the success stories… the impact is far beyond anything that I can put it into words.”

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