press release archives

United's Virtual 'Pay It Forward' Program Helps Local Communities

St. Joseph, Michigan – United Federal Credit Union (United) donated more than $17,700 to 63 different individuals and community organizations across six states during its 13th annual Pay It Forward initiative. The 2020 contributions were the largest ever donated by the program.

The Pay It Forward program provided $20 to every employee to give to a needy individual, family, or organization of their choice. Many departments and branches combined funds and even added their own financial contributions to create a more substantial donation, further demonstrating the passion Team United has for its members and communities.

The program began in 2008 with a request from employees that they use the money otherwise spent on internal holiday celebrations to help people in the community. In the first year, United raised $5,000.

United President/CEO Terry O’Rourke credited the company’s culture and the dedication to service by employees for the Pay It Forward program’s continued growth and success.

“I’m proud of the sincerity that each individual and department puts into thinking about how these dollars can make the most impact—for a family, an organization, or other members of the community who need a little extra help during the holiday season,” said O’Rourke. “This year has certainly had its challenges for many of our friends and neighbors across the country, but not even a pandemic can stop Team United from giving back to those most in need.”

Employees in all United’s branches, corporate buildings, and support teams raised money to benefit a variety of institutions that help children, seniors, veterans, and animals or that aid in the fight against cancer, domestic violence, and hunger. The teams also identified individuals and families struggling with illnesses and other life-altering challenges, and helped those people through direct contributions.

Typically, United gathers its entire staff to hear more about how each department utilized the charitable funds. In 2020, that meeting occurred virtually on December 16 via a video presentation. Even though social distancing precautions did not allow for an in-person event, employees used technology to share their stories and promote the spirit of giving during the holiday season.

“Pay It Forward continues to grow every year, and that’s a testament to the caring nature of our employees. They find creative ways to go above and beyond no matter the challenge,” said O’Rourke. “We couldn’t have made it through such a challenging year without our team’s dedication to United’s mission. If this year has shown us anything, it’s that Team United will always be a steady presence in the lives of our members and in our communities.”