SEFCU News

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Supplying Essentials for Community-Based Organizations

What does the word “needs” mean to you? Some people will associate needs with a desire to feel that summer grass beneath their toes, others will think of that vacation they need to go on using that hard-earned cash they saved. But for SEFCU, and the generosity of our members and employees participating in Giving for Good, evaluating needs in our community gives SEFCU an opportunity to provide essential items to organizations serving some of our most vulnerable neighbors.

It’s All About the Kids

This summer, SEFCU continued to support the Metropolitan Community Group with a grant for its summer youth program, a truly life changing experience for children and teens in Albany, many coming from undeserved communities receiving a safe place, an enriched experience, and healthy meals during the summer months.

Testimonial

Girls Inc logo

"Youth today are underexposed to financial literacy information and skills needed to be financially successful adults. SEFCU's workshop was the first introduction to the world of banking for most of our girls. They became familiarized with the language necessary to better understand their banking, saving. and credit options.

The Importance of Juneteenth

SEFCU’s familiar tag line is “Changing Lives Every Day.” That phrase is more than a slogan – it is the description of our organization’s true purpose.
 
While our branches and Member Solutions Center (MSC) will remain open this year, SEFCU is making tomorrow - Friday, June 19 - a company holiday in celebration of Juneteenth, which is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. It is a day that forever changed millions of lives – and the world.
 

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, SEFCU’s support doesn’t waver

Financial support, continuing to help non-profits acquire necessary supplies, and deploying our staff to volunteer amidst the COVID-19 crisis are some of the ways SEFCU has continued to support the community during the month of May. Our team was ready in March when we jumped in to help the community with financial grants, emergency supplies, and launching Heroes Landing, a respite center for medical staff from Albany hospitals.

SEFCU continues to support the community during the COVID-19 crisis

Changing Lives Every Day is more than a slogan and now more than ever, SEFCU continues to support the community with necessary supplies, financial support, and volunteers during the COVID-19 crisis. In March we sprung into action quickly, providing $80,000 in financial grants as part of our SEFCU Hunger Support Package, donating emergency supplies to non-profits serving families and youth, and launching Heroes Landing, a respite center for medical staff from Albany-area hospitals.

Farming With a Purpose During COVID-19

This is a difficult time for so many in our community and with massive layoffs, many people in the Capital Region are turning to food pantries more than ever to feed themselves and their families. In the month of March, the SEFCU Freight Farm responded to this growing need. Our Freight Farm, which has been in operation since early 2018 at the corporate office at 700 Patroon Creek Blvd in Albany, regularly donates about half of its produce to organizations that have weekly pickups such as the Food Pantries for the Capital District.

SEFCU Supports a New Model to End Homelessness

Albany Sheriff Craig Apple had a vision to end homelessness in the Capital Region and with guidance from HATAS (Homeless and Travelers Aid Society) and other community partners, the Sheriff’s Homeless Improvement Project (SHIP) was born. After learning about this initiative and touring the facility, SEFCU President & CEO Michael Castellana and Chief Community Officer Kathy Lanni saw this unique approach to serve and support the homeless in our community.  As a result, SEFCU enthusiastically signed on to support the program which officially opened on Monday, April 22.

Giving For Good Dollars Used to Purchase Items for Non-profits Serving Individuals Impacted by COVID-19

SEFCU is on a mission to give back every single day of the year, and now more than ever with our communities challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are responding to the emergent needs of non-profits throughout SEFCU’s four regions (Capital Region, Southern Tier, Central NY and Western NY). Non-profits serving youth and families are experiencing higher volumes than usual due to more people visiting their shelters and support service organizations.

SEFCU’s Response to Non-profits and Medical Professionals Impacted by COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in our region, SEFCU’s Community Support program launched an application for emergency funds to help non-profits that would be serving increased needs in the community. In adhering to SEFCU’s Giving Guidelines, funds were allocated to support the quickly multiplying numbers of individuals, youth, and families as they began to serve more and more people became financially strapped due to being out of work. 

An Update on SEFCU’s Signature Events

As we are all aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many events in the Capital Region to be postponed or cancelled to adhere to social distancing measures and in conjunction with NYS on PAUSE. Our annual Monopoly® Tournament to benefit the Center for Disability Services which occurs each May to help raise funds for their life-changing work has been postponed.

SEFCU Supports Code Blue and Emergency Shelters

Giving back to our communities isn’t just something we talk about here at SEFCU; it’s a philosophy we live by. And many times, it’s the small things we all can do that really add up to make a huge impact – like Giving for Good!
 

SEFCU Has Heart

As Cupid works his magic this month, SEFCU continues to work to raise money for, and awareness of, heart disease. You’ll notice our branches are all glowing red this month, staff wore red last week in honor of Go Red for Women, and heart discs are available for sale in memory or honor of someone who is battling cancer. Find out what else SEFCU is doing! 

SEFCU honors veterans with Wreaths Across America

On December 14th, more than 30 SEFCU employees, along with their family and friends, volunteered their time with Wreaths Across America at Saratoga National Cemetery. Every year, through Wreaths Across America, millions of Americans come together to remember and honor our fallen soldiers by placing wreaths on all of the gravestones in every national cemetery across the country. The goal of this organization and the message for this day is to remember our fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve, and teach our children the value of freedom.

Team SEFCU Pedals Its Way into CycleNation

For the second year, the American Heart Association (AHA) held one of its signature events, known as CycleNation, at Brown’s Brewery in Troy. Nearly 40 SEFCU employees laced up their cycling sneakers and wore their SEFCU red for the event. The event itself is a two-hour relay event in which riders cycle on stationary (or spin) bikes for 15 minutes, with another team member ready to go to hop on the bike and pedal on. The event helps promotes the American Heart Association’s drive to create awareness about stroke and heart disease.

Get a Head Start on New Year’s Resolutions

It’s human to want each year to be better than the last, but if you’re going to achieve any major improvements – in your health, money, or family life, for instance – there’s no time like right now to lay out a plan for your New Year’s resolution goals. Here are three tips to get a head start.

SEFCU & Broome County CHOW

We traveled to Binghamton, NY to learn about CHOW and some of the organizations they assist in addressing food insecurity.

SEFCU Encourages Teens to Take Control of Their Financial Future

SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being provided free financial education to teens and young adults participating in summer youth employment programs across New York State. The youth employment programs provide teens and young adults an opportunity to gain on-the-job training where they work approximately 20 hours per week and are paid for those hours. SEFCU worked with participants in these programs to give them a basic understanding of saving, budgeting, and spending now that they are earning what might be their first paycheck.

Institute for Financial Well-Being Develops New School Partnership

SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being engaged in a new partnership with the Heatly School in Green Island. Over the course of three days, the Institute team visited with the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade classes delivering financial education to nearly 60 students.

SEFCU Presents Royalties to the Palace Theatre's Summer in the City Program

On June 17, 2019 SEFCU joined area business leaders and the Mayor of Albany Kathy Sheehan to announce the Summer in the City movie lineup at the Palace Theatre in Downtown Albany.

“For the fifth season in a row, the Palace will provide free summer movies, open to the public every Tuesday afternoon during the months of July and August. Thanks to this program, more than 8,000 families and children participated in this program last year,” said Billy Piskutz, Managing Director for the Palace Performing Arts Center.

SEFCU extends helping hand to Equinox's Transitional Living Program.

The SEFCU Community team is helping homeless youth get back on their feet and ready for positive steps forward. 

Last month, SEFCU presented a $25,000 grant fund Equinox’s Transitional Living Program (TLP), which provides housing and a variety of support services to homeless youth. The grant will assist with funding dinners and providing bus passes to help youth attend school, work, job interviews, and medical appointments. 

SEFCU helps build brighter futures by supporting the Shelters of Saratoga

On March 4th, SEFCU’s community team delivered a $10,000 grant to the Shelters of Saratoga (SOS), an organization that offers a full-continuum of support to those in Saratoga County experiencing homelessness. SOS is taking strides toward providing these individuals with the necessary resources to assist them in finding employment, permanent housing and ultimately building brighter futures for themselves.

2018 Impact Study

In 2018, more than 5,000 individuals attended a learning event across New York State. Attendees were surveyed and reported favorably on both the classes and their instructors. Are you ready to change your financial future and attend a free session?

View 2018 impact report

View current seminars

SEFCU Initiatives

The local communities that our members call home are the heart and soul of SEFCU. We've dedicated ourselves and our resources to helping your community grow and thrive. At SEFCU, we back our community spirit with active support for the local causes and initiatives that matter to our members. Here you can learn more about SEFCU's community spirit - and how it makes an impact every single day for our members and their communities.

SEFCU Facilitates Summer Youth Employment Programs

What can I buy with my first paycheck? Should I open a checking account? Why should I start saving for college, or a car, now? Why is everything I want to buy so expensive? Those are just some of the questions typical teenagers ask as they start thinking about a first job. The concepts of managing money through budgeting, saving, and making wise decisions on spending are often a big unknown for most youth. But, with a direct correlation between financial well-being and success in school, eventual careers, and life, it's important to start understanding these concepts early.

01/2018 - SEFCU's Institute for Financial Well-Being helps “Change the World”

SEFCU's Institute for Financial Well-Being had a unique opportunity to exhibit at the Girls World Expo. Offered in partnership with iHeart Media and sponsored by SEFCU, GirlsWorld Expo is a national movement of one-day events for teenage girls. The Albany Expo was diversely designed to connect young women with their community, empowering them to discover their potential and find their best path to personal and professional success.

02/2018 - College Freshmen Learn About Managing Credit

Recently, 50 Russell Sage College students participated in a session called "Understanding and Managing Credit" that helped them understand their attitudes about money and discover a system of prioritizing wants and needs.

5 Tips for Smart Saving and Spending

How will you spend your money in the next few months, or the next year and beyond? It's a good idea to put your goals in writing and create a spending plan that will give you enough money for every day expenses, while helping you save for your goal. Check out five tips for smart spending and saving.

calculator with a bunch of shopping icons

07/2018 - SEFCU Honored with Financial Education Award

SEFCU's Institute for Financial Well-Being was honored with the New York Credit Union Association's 2018 Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award, an award created to recognize model credit union efforts to provide personal finance education concepts and skills to individuals under age 18.

SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being Jumps into Summer

Since its inception, SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being has provided financial education opportunities for youth each summer, educating more than 1,500 students since 2016 about saving, budgeting, understanding paychecks, and other financial topics. 

SEFCU is bringing this program to life again this summer, with plans to deliver various education sessions throughout the state. Organizations and agencies in Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, Rensselaer, Onondaga, Tioga, and Erie counties have committed to providing education to the youth they serve.

SEFCU Fights Hunger in Non-traditional Ways

According to Feeding America: Map the Meal Gap 2018, 10.4% of adults and 13.5% of children in the Capital Region are food insecure which means those individuals don’t know where their next meal is coming from. SEFCU is committed to not only meeting immediate food needs by making monetary donations (last year for our year end giving program $300,000 was donated to food pantries and rescue missions), but also investing in sustainable programs which will allow communities and organizations to provide food for those living right in their neighborhoods.

SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being Visits Cairo-Durham School District

Students in kindergarten, first, and second grade at Cairo-Durham Elementary School learned about saving, budgeting, and spending through innovative programs offered by SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being. In addition to the sessions being fun and informative for the students, one teacher commented how well the content aligns with grade-level curriculum.

What is the Best Use of Your Tax Refund?

For many, tax season equals refund season and there is a temptation to spend the refund on something that falls into the “want” category. However, with more than $3.86 trillion in student loan, auto loan, and credit card debt combined, it’s pretty easy to see that there are more impactful ways a person can use the annual “windfall.”

Experts advise to pay down debt, begin a savings fund, or invest toward retirement as ways to use a tax refund for long-term benefit potential.

Institute Facilitated Sessions at Women’s Opportunity Center

SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being recently facilitated a four-part financial education series with clients at the Women’s Opportunity Center in Syracuse where they touched on a number of financial topics. 

The clients, who were 35-70 years old, were active participants in sessions focused on creating a personal spending plan, understanding credit reports and credit scores, finding the meaning of payroll deductions and payroll forms, and developing an effective pay down strategy.

SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being Earns National Recognition

During its annual Government Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. last week, the Credit Union National Association recognized SEFCU’s ongoing effort to deliver free, dynamic financial education to young people with its Desjardins Award for Youth Financial Education in the more than $1 billion in assets category.

SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being Earns National Recognition

Enjoy a Green Vacation

Piggy bank on a beach

It’s no secret that getting away can be very expensive when it involves hotel stays, meals out, theme parks, tourist attractions, and other activities. If your vacation checks some of those boxes then read these tips for reducing the financial strain of getting your summer fun in the sun and keeping it “green” with your cash.