Visions Federal Credit Union has reached a philanthropic milestone by contributing more than $10 million to community organizations since 2013. This achievement illustrates Visions’ growth and commitment to community during the last decade.
As Visions’ President/CEO Tyrone Muse stepped into his leadership role in 2013, the New York-headquartered Visions was expanding through back-to-back mergers with several credit unions in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Tyrone Muse says, “As an organization, it was important for us to put people at the heart of our mission to make Visions matter. Not growth, not numbers, but people.”
Around that time, Visions began forming their giveback strategy and assembling a team dedicated to serving local causes and nonprofit organizations in each Visions community in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
By 2017, Visions branded their charitable giving initiative as Visions Cares. “That year, we hit our goal of one million dollars and we haven’t looked back,” said Timothy Strong, Visions’ Director of Branding and Public Relations. “These annual totals are a representation of our commitment to community. Now, we have programs in place to keep our giveback growing as Visions continues to grow.”
Notable programs during the last few years include The Big Give and Project Education. Through The Big Give, Visions Cares makes a sizeable contribution to an organization with significant reach throughout Visions’ communities. In the first two years of The Big Give, Visions donated $100,000 to Habitat for Humanity and $50,000 to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. For Project Education, Visions pledged a total of one million dollars to the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) by 2030 through annual donations of $100,000. The first two installments toward this project have been dedicated to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in school districts across the state.
The cornerstone of Visions’ charitable giving initiatives, Visions Cares contributes to registered nonprofits and community causes through grants, in-kind donations, and volunteer efforts. Last year, Visions Cares approved requests from more than 1,000 organizations throughout their three-state footprint in the core impact areas of animal welfare, the arts, civic and community engagement, economic development, education, and health and wellness.
An internal focus for Visions Cares is on cultivating employee giveback through employee-led initiatives, acts of kindness, and corporate programs. Seasonal campaigns through the years have supported the American Heart Association, United Way, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, community food pantries, and other humanitarian causes through awareness, donations, charitable events, or volunteerism. In 2022, Visions employees recorded over 3,700 hours of volunteer work, valued at over $100,000.
Another ongoing project offered through Visions Cares, the Visions Gift Match Program, contributes a matching donation of up to $100 per employee per year. Last year, Visions introduced matching donations for members, too, during special campaigns through Givio, an integrated app in Visions’ digital banking platform that allows members to identify and contribute to registered nonprofits. “We’re always interested in giving back to the causes that are meaningful to our members,” says Strong. “As we look ahead, we hope to create even more opportunities to involve members in Visions Cares and our community giveback programs.”
In addition to Visions Cares, Visions Veterans Program and Visions Loves Educators are two programs that Visions established in 2019 to support unique needs in the community. As part of the Veterans Program, any member can select the Americana Debit Card design and Visions will donate $5 to a veteran organization. Visions has donated over $120,000 to organizations that support veterans as a result. Through Visions Loves Educators, they’ve provided over $160,000 in classroom grants for local schools for items to enhance learning like distance learning aids, STEAM materials, books and reference guides, and more.