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CO-OP Purpose Is A New Corporate Social Responsibility Program For Credit Unions

CO-OP Purpose is a new corporate social responsibility program for credit unions that provides turnkey, impactful community initiatives.
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Samantha Paxson, chief marketing officer for CO-OP.

CO-OP Financial Services announced CO-OP Purpose, a new corporate social responsibility program for credit unions that provides turnkey, impactful community initiatives to advance their mission of empowering peoples’ financial well-being.

“CO-OP Purpose combines social mission with innovation to give credit unions a unique way to capitalize on their opportunity to attract consumers looking for both in a financial institution,” said Samantha Paxson, chief marketing officer for CO-OP. “The program extends our movement’s traditional commitment to ‘people helping people’ and includes financial literacy education outreach, philanthropic and charitable giving, new ways of collaborating with colleagues and consumers, and access to research on the business case for corporate social responsibility.”

Paxson said she’s passionate about the intersection of social impact and innovation – and love to apply these values to business. She looks at CO-OP Purpose as a special initiative because the program makes it possible for credit unions to implement turnkey, impactful community initiatives to help them put their mission of “people helping people” to work. Giving back to the community while also empowering people to achieve financial well-being is a win-win.”

According to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, public levels of trust in business are at its lowest since 2008. Organizations that are able to enhance their net positive contributions to society are more likely to earn the trust of consumers.

At CO-OP’s THINK 16 Conference on May 5, attendees will be hearing from Perry Yeatman, external director for Mission Measurement, who will be speaking on how corporate social responsibility programs can be profitable. She will be offering examples from companies such as Kraft and Unilever. In addition, CO-OP has commissioned a study by Mission Measurement to look at the business case for such programs specifically for credit unions. The results of the study will be available this summer.

She said the Children’s Miracle Network was a perfect fit. “If families’ financial wellness is put at risk due to paying for care for a sick or injured child, the well-being of society is put at risk.  The Children’s Miracle Network has been CO-OP and the credit union industry’s charity of choice for decades years because it delivers on the mission of helping people in their financial lives in a very tangible way. The network treats millions of children at 170 hospitals across the United States and Canada. Donations support research and training, purchase equipment, and pay for uncompensated care, all to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible.”

Also for CO-OP Purpose, CO-OP is marrying the fintech revolution with mission by partnering with the National Credit Union Foundation and other potential partners on two new financial literacy programs:

  • The CU Network + Library Network Coaching Program (currently in beta), bringing financial literacy to a trusted community hub – the local library. Libraries and credit unions will partner to help educate people and improve their financial lives. This initiative was one of the winning ideas from the CO-OP THINK Prize 15. Founded in 2011 and sponsored by MasterCard, the CO-OP THINK Prize is design to inspire creative thinking about leading issues in financial services.
  • The Credit Union + Yoobi Classroom Initiative, in partnership with the socially-driven school supply company. Upon completion of feasibility studies, the initiative will enable credit unions to donate financial literacy kits along with Yoobi classroom packs to underprivileged schools. CO-OP is working with Yoobi based on a talk at THINK 15 by company Co-founder Ido Leffler.

In addition to the two financial literacy initiatives, CO-OP Purpose incorporates existing social responsibility initiatives, including:

  • The Credit Union Innovation Project, in partnership with OpenIDEO and powered by MasterCard. This initiative gives credit unions and OpenIDEO’s global community the means to collaborate and execute ideas, generating unique connections between consumers and their financial services provider. This program builds on the success of the CO-OP THINK Prize 15, in which collaboration between credit unions and OpenIDEO innovators generated several new financial inclusion projects. Core to the project are a Fellowship program and specialized tools for credit union employees to co-create the future of human-centered financial services.
  • CO-OP Miracle Match, a $1-million-annually matching program that encourages credit unions to conduct fundraisers for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. CO-OP matches these fundraisers via CO-OP Miracle Match, as well as in-product donations via solutions like Sprig by CO-OP, ShopSPOT rewards and Charitable Giving at the ATM. This program helps children at hospitals local to the participating credit union, regardless of ability to pay.

For more information, visit co-opthink.org.