Your pennies can lead to big change

Published August 17, 2016

Every time you use your Maps Community Checking debit card to buy groceries, you’re helping a teacher, supporting a college student, or sponsoring classes on how to manage money.  

That’s because Maps gives a penny to the Maps Community Foundation every time a member uses his or her debit card. In turn, the foundation distributes the pennies to the community in the form of teacher grants, college scholarships, financial literacy classes, and more.  

Debit card swipes are the backbone of the 6-year-old nonprofit. Last year, members raised $68,264 for the foundation this way – that’s nearly 7 million swipes! 

“The more members use their debit cards, the more we give back to the community,” said Mitzi Smith, Maps’ community development officer. “This is a way our members can drive how much of an impact we can make.”  
Maps started the foundation in 2010 as the giving arm of the credit union. Its mission: Promote financial literacy, nurture economic development, and formalize how the credit union gives. Though the credit union has always given to the mid-Willamette Valley causes, getting 501(c)(3) status meant the foundation would qualify for grants that could bring national resources to the community, said Smith. Were it not for this nonprofit status, for example, the foundation couldn’t offer the Valley Individual Development Account program, which matches the amount students save for college. Plus, donations could be tax deductible, depending on the filer’s tax status. The foundation is on track to net more than $70,000 through debit card transactions in 2016. If it does, it will be the most it’s ever raised in one year. “We’ve been in the community for more than 80 years,” said Smith. “The only way we can be successful is if our community is successful.”   

A few of the foundation’s 2015 accomplishments:

PUT COLLEGE WITHIN REACH The Maps Community Foundation matches every dollar a saver puts into a Valley Individual Development Account to attend college. That means that the 23 Salem-area students who socked away more than $32,000 for higher education wound up with twice that much. 
INVESTED IN THE FUTURE For scores of teenagers, the HOME Youth and Resource Center serves as a haven from their struggles. While HOME gives the teens food, day shelter and guidance, the Maps Community Foundation teaches them how to spend wisely, build credit, and access financial resources. Volunteers also spend time with the youth shopping for professional work clothes and practicing job interviews. Maps also hires many of the teens as interns; two 2015 interns made videos about budgeting and impulse buying for Maps’ YouTube channel.
DEMYSTIFIED MONEY How do you save? How do you spend? How do you get ahead? In 2015, Partners in the Maps Community Foundation’s Financial Advocates program spent 52 hours answering these and other questions during free personal finance classes given to more than 300 people at the HOME Youth and Resource Center, HALO, Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality, Mid-Valley Literacy Center, Marion Polk Food Share, Community Action Agency, Western Oregon University, Siletz Indian Tribe, and schools.  
REWARDED HARD WORK In 2015, the Maps Community Foundation honored 19 Salem-area high school seniors with $11,000 in College Scholarships, including the Dan Penn Scholarship at Chemeketa Community College and the Sandiford Scholarship at Western Oregon University. Students were selected for their academic success, community service, and promise.  
GRANTED TEACHERS’ WISHES The Maps Community Foundation partnered with PEMCO and Maps Insurance Services to offer Mini Grants of up to $250 to teachers who wanted to do something special. This year’s more than $6,000 in grants funded 24 projects that benefited more than 4,300 students. Projects included buying a reading app and taking third-graders to OMSI in Portland. 
SUPPPORTED SICK CHILDREN Maps employees raised and donated $7,500 for Doernbecher Children's Hospital as part of the Credit Unions for Kids campaign, which benefits children's hospitals and clinics.  
RAISED SAVVY LEADERS At Western Oregon University, 33 students got a crash course in personal finance, then shared what they learned with more than 600 of their peers. The crowds kept coming; Peer Mentors drew 250 to their Black Frenzy Friday about building credit, and another 100 to their Trivia Night about budgeting and saving. 
STRENGTHENED THE COMMUNITY The Maps Community Challenge campaign honors people and organizations working to address financial literacy, affordable housing, hunger, homelessness, education, and health issues. The 2015 finalists were Home of the Brave and Hope Station. The winner, chosen by the community via social media: Planting Communities. 

In addition to raising money through debit swipes, the foundation makes money other such ways, such as selling See’s candy in Maps branches. The foundation also raises money when shoppers buy items via AmazonSmile. Funds also come in via direct donations. If you would like to give to the foundation, mail a check to Maps Community Foundation, P.O. Box 12398, Salem, OR 97309. 

Free Community Checking: No monthly service charge, no minimum balance, and unlimited check writing. Free debit card and free online services, such as online banking, bill pay, eStatements, telephone account access, and text banking. Best of all, a penny will be donated to the foundation for each debit card transaction.