Effusive support is the norm when it comes to how Elevations Credit Union cares for its 714+ nonprofit banking members. And it’s readily apparent that the Elevations team has an especially strong affection for Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA), a nonprofit that’s lifted up Boulder County families and helped them reach self-sufficiency for over 100 years.
“EFAA is one of my favorites,” says Business Banker Kevin Baughman. “I really love that their approach is to give a hand up not a handout.”
Adds Dennis Paul, VP Community Affairs, “I’m so impressed by their Executive Director and the direction she’s taken the organization.”
Critical and invisible issues
EFAA’s roots date back to 1918 when Boulder County families were struck hard by the mining bust and Spanish flu epidemic. Feeling compelled to take action, the Colorado Association of Women’s Clubs, local religious organizations and community members created an organization to help families with basic staples like coal, food and other resources, according to EFAA.
Today, EFAA addresses some of the most crippling issues facing a surprisingly large number of Boulder County families. EFAA reports that one in four households in Boulder County doesn’t earn enough to satisfy basic needs and 1,200 children experienced homelessness in Boulder County last year. EFAA provides food, financial assistance, housing and case management for these families — in fact, the nonprofit is the top provider of housing for Boulder County families experiencing homelessness.
EFAA’s ultimate purpose? To get families back on their feet, living independently. “They help their clientele get out of hardships and not fall back into them,” explains Kevin.
Elevations’ 360° relationship
Elevations Credit Union saw a perfect opportunity to help Boulder County families by plugging into EFAA’s work in early 2000. “We look for core purpose alignment when it comes to supporting nonprofits. Our purpose is to create solutions for a better life, and EFAA is doing critical work in the community,” says Paul.
Kevin adds, “If we believe in what a nonprofit is doing, we’re going to help them. They don’t need to have a banking relationship with us.”
The credit union’s support for EFAA comes from all angles. Elevations’ employees host free financial literacy seminars annually to equip EFAA’s clients with critical money management practices. Topics include Understanding Your Credit and How Not to be Afraid of Banking. The credit union sponsors EFAA’s annual fall gala and fills a table to provide donor dollars. Elevations also provides a pipeline of credit union employee volunteers, who work at EFAA’s food bank and holiday gift drive — the credit union’s Volunteer Time Off program gives each full-time employee 16 paid hours per year to volunteer.
Nonprofit banking with heart
In 2018, when EFAA needed enhanced business banking service, Kevin spotted another opportunity for Elevations to help. “If I can’t provide some service a nonprofit didn’t have before, waive a fee or make things easier for them, then it’s not the right fit,” says Kevin. In this case, however, exceptional service is Elevations’ mantra.
True to form, Kevin went to EFAA’s office and worked with EFAA’s Director of Finance and Bookkeeper to set up their banking services so they didn’t have to step out the door. “A lot of times, it’s challenging for people to get to a branch, so we go to them,” says Kevin. “This is especially true for nonprofits because there may be multiple signers on accounts. Getting five to 10 signers into a branch to open an account is tricky. We’ll work with each individual signer so they don’t have to all come into the branch at once.” Kevin is also quick to point out that even though Elevations provides speedy service, his team works on the nonprofit’s timetable.
Kevin is pleased to see EFAA’s support for Boulder County families continue to expand. He likes to stop by their offices regularly and visit with the team. “I’ve seen the construction process of new temporary housing, EFAA’s move to a new office, the expansion of their staff,” he says with a heartfelt smile. “It’s very rewarding, seeing them grow.”
Contact our Business Banking team today.