Central Willamette Credit Union has come up with a way for patrons to help a handful of local high schools, 3 cents at a time.
The company has issued special debit cards for West Albany, South Albany and Lebanon high schools, each bearing their name and logo. Anytime someone swipes the debit card, the credit union makes a 3-cent donation back to the specific school.
Cards started going out the beginning of September and more than 200 have been issued so far, said Erik Fedler, marketing manager. There is no limit on the number of cards that can be issued, times they can be swiped or total donations the individual schools can receive.
The cards are issued free to both new and current account holders and can be used immediately after they are received. With parent approval, they also are available to holders under the age of 18.
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The high school debit card program is new to Central Willamette, but the sentiment isn't, said Stacie Wyss-Schoenborn, president and chief executive officer. The credit union has always been committed to education, she said, and is passionate about supporting students and families as they work toward their financial futures.
The company has long awarded mini-grants to teachers for classroom projects. Central Willamette employees also spend hundreds of hours teaching financial literacy to mid-valley students, and the credit union presents a Financial Reality Fair each year at West Albany (this year, South will join).
"Public schools in Oregon are struggling, and we believe it will take a village to improve our education system. In partnering with our schools, we understand that we are making a difference in the viability of our community at large," Wyss-Schoenborn said.
"Having well-educated, well-rounded seniors graduating from our high schools fosters growth and expansion for local businesses while attracting new industry to our communities and benefiting all who live, work and play here."
Central Willamette also serves Philomath, Sweet Home, Salem and Corvallis but hasn't yet made arrangements for cards for their high schools, Fedler said. "We would love to add other schools that would be interested in doing this."