Based on the credit union philosophy of people helping people, Firstmark Credit Union is committed to giving back to our community. In 2014, employees volunteered more than 1,834 hours supporting a variety of organizations and programs that fill important gaps in our community and make a difference in the lives of others.
Credit Unions for Kids
With the help of our members, during 2014 we raised $27,000 for the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio through the Credit Unions for Kids program. Established in San Antonio, Credit Unions for Kids is a partner with the Children's Miracle Network, a non-profit organization that increases awareness of children's health issues and raises funds for children's hospitals and medical research. This donation brings the credit union’s total close to $900,000 since 1986.
Frank Price Cunningham & Helen Shipman Cunningham Scholarships
In 2014, the credit union awarded fifteen $1,000 Frank Price Cunningham and Helen Shipman Cunningham scholarships to outstanding students enrolled in local high schools. These scholarships may be used at any academically accredited two- or four-year college or university. Applicants are evaluated based on academic achievement, community involvement/leadership, and recommendations.
Ten educators were awarded $500 to implement innovative projects inside and outside of the classroom. The Educator Award program was designed with full-time kindergarten through 12th grade teachers in mind. In 2014, winning project ideas included the purchase of a 3-D printer to allow students to create models of their engineering and design assignments, the production of a play as a way to support interdisciplinary learning about the depression era, and the construction of a water garden to support studies in biology, chemistry, and environmental science.
For more than 20 years, Firstmark Credit Union has distributed academic planners to educators in the San Antonio area. In 2014, more than 82,000 planners were delivered to teachers and administrators in public and private schools, as well as area colleges and universities.
In addition to financial literacy and career day presentations, the credit union continues to operate an in-school branch and ATM located inside Reagan High School and staffed by paid high school co-op students. This branch is the cornerstone of our financial literacy partnership with Northeast Independent School District. Our goal is to assist high school students in the development of lifelong personal finance and employability skills, as well as provide support to the school’s business curriculum.
Student Aid San Antonio
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the highest predictor of college enrollment. Nationally, 90% of graduates who file a FAFSA enroll in higher education. Yet, in San Antonio, only half complete the forms. With that in mind, Firstmark Credit Union partnered with the City of San Antonio, The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, San Antonio Education Partnership / Café College, and Advise Texas to provide one-on-one assistance with the FAFSA and Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) in English and Spanish. In 2014, over 2,400 families were served through this program.
Every summer, Firstmark Credit Union collects new and gently used books at each of our 14 locations. In 2014, SAReads collected more than 8,000 books which will be provided free of charge to many non-profit organizations, schools, and other groups in the San Antonio area. The credit union has also made space available to be used as the SAReads Grade-Level Reading Program Office.
Friends of the San Antonio Parks Foundation
In 2014, Firstmark celebrated the arrival of spring by once again sponsoring, “Fest of Tails” Kite Festival and Dog Fair. This was the eighth year the credit union has supported this event which encourages families to get outdoors and have fun together. Thirty-five employees volunteered during the event, which is free and open to the public. All funds raised go to help maintain, improve, and expand our city’s parks.
This organization operates award-winning after-school programs in low-socioeconomic areas of San Antonio. In 2014, SAYouth served 3,600 children in 14 centers. Services include mentors, fitness and sports, as well as hot meals. In 2014, credit union staff once again hosted a holiday party for one of the centers and donated “Angel Tree” gifts for 36 children.
SAYouth also helps young adults who have quit school gain a second chance through high-school credit recovery and workforce training. Credit union staff provides financial literacy presentations for students in the “Youth Build” program.