Want to enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting our Front Range community? It takes just a few minutes to make an ongoing, positive impact for our local youth, nonprofit organizations and emergency relief initiatives — now that’s empowering.
A few years ago, Elevations Foundation and Elevations Credit Union launched the Local Change program to allow credit union debit card users to round up their purchases and donate to worthy causes in Colorado. If you haven’t heard of this popular program, here’s the inside scoop from the Foundation’s Executive Director, Eric Lentz.
What is Elevations Foundation?
“We’re a vibrant, young, growing charitable foundation with the mission to create opportunities for a better community,” Eric explains of the organization launched in 2010 that’s classified as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, a separate entity from Elevations Credit Union but partners with the credit union and its members and staff.
The Foundation, which mirrors the credit union’s values, has contributed nearly $3 million to community programs and support over the past 11 years. Of those funds, $500,000 were distributed in the form of scholarships for area high school seniors with dreams of attending an institution of higher learning.
“It changes the narrative for so many kids, honestly. College is a financial hurdle. It’s a cultural challenge for some. We want to help ease that transition — that’s why we give the scholarships. That’s why our scholarship program exists,” Eric notes.
Another $500,000 has fueled community grants for local nonprofit organizations. And when it comes to local disaster relief, Elevations Foundation has contributed nearly $1.7 million.
What is Local Change?
One way for Elevations Credit Union members to support the initiatives of Elevations Foundation is by participating in Local Change, a simple donation process connected to their Elevations Credit Union debit card. Each time a purchase is made with the card, the total spent is rounded up to the next whole dollar amount, and the overage is routed to the Foundation’s programs. That way, your extra change supports local change within our community.
“It’s an easy way for members with debit cards to support the Foundation, with really no extra thought,” Eric notes. “Those pennies that round up from your purchases all go to great causes in the community — our grants and our scholarship programs.”
How can I be part of Local Change?
Getting started in the program is simple. Any Elevations Credit Union member with a debit card (including our Forever Buffs members who are University of Colorado fans) can enroll either via a simple online form or by chatting with a teller at one of our branches.
Once a member is enrolled in Local Change, the program runs automatically behind the scenes. You don’t have to mention anything to the cashier while checking out at a local business or making online purchases. Elevations Credit Union automatically transfers the change to Elevations Foundation, and you can feel good knowing you’re helping the community in a way that is both affordable and impactful.
How does Local Change benefit our community?
In addition to the scholarship program and emergency disaster relief, the Local Change program is currently focused on funding local organizations that serve the mental health needs of our community, early childhood development and those that promote environmental education and sustainability.
Specifically for 2021, the Foundation is supporting several organizations within these three core areas including the Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Larimer County, the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition and the Cottonwood Institute out of Denver.
“I love the fact that the credit union had the foresight almost 12 years ago to create a separate 501(c)3 that can actively fill philanthropy within our member base, in the community and with credit union employees,” Eric comments. “We can turn those philanthropic dollars around and do good work in the community.”
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