Tuesday, April 23, 2013
To coincide with National Volunteer Week (April 21-27, 2013), Maine's credit unions have released the final figures of volunteer efforts by Maine's credit unions in 2012. In the results announced as part of its National Volunteer Week celebration, Maine's credit unions volunteered a record-setting 41,536 hours in 2012, an impressive 19% increase over 2011 totals.
The Maine Credit Union League coordinates a statewide tracking of volunteer time contributed by Maine credit unions through its nationally-recognized Credit Unions Share for ME program. Created in 2002 by the Maine Credit Union League, the eleven year-old program has received numerous awards and recognition for quantifying the efforts of Maine's credit unions when it comes to community-service by documenting those efforts.
From January 1-December 31, 2012, the number of hours volunteered by credit union staff and directors resulted in the highest total since the program began more than a decade ago. Since 2002, the program has documented more than 260,000 volunteer hours by credit union staff and directors.
Based on figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which calculates the value of one hour volunteered in Maine at $17.03, the value of the time volunteered by Maine's credit unions equaled $707,358 in 2012.
According to the Maine Credit Union League, which coordinates and tracks the Program, more than 2,000 individuals, including credit union staff and board members, spent time volunteering in their communities last year. An average of 374 credit union staff and directors collectively volunteered an average of 3,461 hours each month in 2012.
In 2012, the top five credit unions contributing the most volunteer hours were (location of main office listed in bold and total hours listed in parentheses): Saco Valley CU in Saco (4,711.50); University CU in Orono (4,330.50); Five County CU in Bath (3,629); Rainbow FCU in Lewiston (2,491); and Maine Savings FCU in Hampden (2,451). The top five credit unions with the highest average number of individuals volunteering each month were (location of main office in bold and number in parentheses represents people): University CU in Orono (57); Maine Savings FCU in Hampden (27); (tie) Five County CU in Bath, and Saco Valley CU in Saco tied for third with an average of 21 volunteers each month; (tie) Rainbow FCU in Lewiston, and Monmouth FCU in Monmouth tied for fourth with an average of 19 staff members volunteering each month; and (tie) Midcoast FCU in Bath, and Maine Highlands FCU in Dexter tied for fifth with 14 volunteers on a monthly basis.
"By their nature and structure, credit unions are about cooperating and helping others, whether it's members or the community. From local staff to a volunteer, unpaid board of directors, Maine credit unions give back to their communities on a daily basis not because they have to but because it is the right thing to do. These efforts range from committing thousands of hours to the statewide effort to end hunger to having a leadership role in helping to bring financial education to students in record numbers. One of the reasons consumers are turning to credit unions in record numbers is not just for the great value and benefits that credit union membership provides but also for the strong commitment to the communities they serve, including community-service," explained John Murphy, President of the Maine Credit Union League.
The League said that one of the new aspects of credit union volunteer efforts this year was to encourage younger members to volunteer. The League's Young & Free Maine program, a program for the 18-25 year-old demographic, began spotlighting extraordinary volunteer and community-related activities of 18-25 year olds living and working in Maine each month on its youngfreemaine.com. website.
Jon Paradise, Governmental and Public Affairs Manager for the Maine Credit Union League, said it is exciting to see young people highlighted for getting involved in their communities throughout the year. He added, "Credit union staff and directors serve on countless non-profit boards, support local activities, such as volunteering in schools and at soup kitchens, as well as numerous other activities and events, large and small."
Paradise also said that the volunteer figures listed are only the documented figures provided by participating credit unions so the actual number is likely significantly higher.
This program began during National Volunteer Week eleven years ago so the previous year's figures are announced at this time each year. It highlights and recognizes the hundreds of individuals who volunteer and are involved with causes and activities in their communities throughout the year.