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Maine’s Credit Unions provide record hours of community service
WESTBROOK — To coincide with National Volunteer Week (April 21-27), Maine’s credit unions have released the final figures of volunteer efforts by Maine’s credit unions in 2012. The Maine Credit Union League coordinates a statewide tracking of volunteer time contributed by Maine credit unions through its nationally-recognized Credit Unions Share for ME program. In the results announced as part of its National Volunteer Week celebration, Maine’s credit unions volunteered a record-setting 41,536 hours in 2012, an impressive 19% increase over 2011 totals.
For credit unions with branches in Oxford County, Rainbow FCU, which has branches in Rumford and South Paris, was #4 in total hours and tied for fourth in monthly volunteers; and Oxford FCU, with branches in Mexico and Norway, volunteered more than 1,100 hours.
Created in 2002 by the Maine Credit Union League, the 11-year-old program has received numerous awards and recognition for quantifying the efforts of Maine’s credit unions when it comes to community service by documenting those efforts. From January 1 – December 31, 2012, the number of hours volunteered by credit union staff and directors resulted in the highest total since the program began more than a decade ago. Since 2002, the program has documented more than 260,000 volunteer hours by credit union staff and directors.
Based on figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which calculates the value of one hour volunteered in Maine at $17.03, the value of the time volunteered by Maine’s credit unions equaled $707,358 in 2012.
According to the Maine Credit Union League, which coordinates and tracks the Program, more than 2,000 individuals, including credit union staff and board members, spent time volunteering in their communities last year. An average of 374 credit union staff and directors collectively volunteered an average of 3,461 hours each month in 2012.
“By their nature and structure, credit unions are about cooperating and helping others, whether it’s members or the community. From local staff to a volunteer, unpaid board of directors, Maine credit unions give back to their communities on a daily basis not because they have to but because it is the right thing to do. These efforts range from committing thousands of hours to the statewide effort to end hunger to having a leadership role in helping to bring financial education to students in record numbers. One of the reasons consumers are turning to credit unions in record numbers is not just for the great value and benefits that credit union membership provides but also for the strong commitment to the communities they serve, including community-service,” explained John Murphy, President of the Maine Credit Union League.
The League said that one of the new aspects of credit union volunteer efforts this year was to encourage younger members to volunteer. The League’s Young & Free Maine program, a program for the 18-25 year-old demographic, began spotlighting extraordinary volunteer and community-related activities of 18-25 year olds living and working in Maine each month on its youngfreemaine.com.
Jon Paradise, Governmental and Public Affairs Manager for the Maine Credit Union League, said it is exciting to see young people highlighted for getting involved in their communities throughout the year. He added, “Credit union staff and directors serve on countless nonprofit boards, support local activities, such as volunteering in schools and at soup kitchens, as well as numerous other activities and events, large and small.”
Paradise also said that the volunteer figures listed are only the documented figures provided by participating credit unions so the actual number is likely significantly higher.
This program began during National Volunteer Week 11 years ago. It highlights and recognizes the hundreds of individuals who volunteer and are involved with causes and activities in their communities throughout the year.