As Honor Credit Union Grows, so does their Commitment to the Community

It's rare to find a business that is excited about it's growth, not because of how it serves their bottom line, but how it serves human kind. That is what Honor Credit Union hopes will be the result of their rapid growth in our area; to help more people in our community. Honor has spent a lot of time over the years becoming an active part of area fundraisers. Perhaps you have seen it. If you have participated in a local run, walk, 5K or even office chair race, chances are you have seen the 15 foot high Honor Credit Union inflatable finish line there to greet those that give their time to helping local charitable organizations. Maybe your child loves their Honor Credit Union sunglasses they got for participating in a local charitable event. Or maybe you received an awesome Honor Credit Union coffee tumbler for donating to a cause. In addition to all this, they know the importance of participating. Chances are, if you look at the volunteers at a local event, you will find Honor Credit Union employees happily giving their time on nights and weekends. That is why Honor Credit Union is growing, because they personally invest in us.

Their growth has called for a new corporate headquarters to be constructed right in the middle of our region in Berrien Springs. The new building, just north of the M-139 highway exit off US-31, opened in April of this year with a modern look, resembling something you'd see in Architectural Digest. As you walk in, you see the abundance of space, all necessary to house the more than 105 employees, in a building that has room for more than 200. The continued growth of Honor has led to a massive growth in assets since 2013, and an increase of over 22,000 members; yet, it's the growing amount of work being done in the community that is most important.

"We believe in the communities where we were founded," said Honor CEO and 2015 United Way Campaign Co-Chair, Scott McFarland. "If you're a financial cooperative and truly are one, you give back to the community. The returns are very powerful."

McFarland's philosophy proves why Honor and United Way of Southwest Michigan have such a great partnership.  The focus is always on 'giving back to the community.' "It's people helping people. The objective is United Way money stays within the community just as a credit union focuses on as well," added McFarland. "United Way has the ability to pool the funds and create a greater impact because of the matching they allow. They also link many organizations together. You can't discount the work United Way does connecting agencies."

Honor has been running a United Way workplace campaign for over 20 years. They know the dollars they raise are dollars put right back into the community, making a difference on lives in Berrien and Cass. Last year as part of their campaign, they hosted a jeans week, which helped them surpass their goal. A few years back it was a gift basket silent auction that employees bid on which raised over $2,000. Kaylee Williams, Public Relations & Internal Communications Manager at Honor, as well as the 2015 United Way Campaign Co-Chair, recalls the first campaign she was involved with, that consisted of jumping into a frigid Lake Michigan in March as part of a Cold Water Challenge. There's no shortage of creativity at Honor, and the employees know it's all part of a greater good.

"Whenever you get a group together to reach a common goal, there is a competitive nature to it, and the fact that you're doing it together is powerful," stated Williams. "Some of our best community events have been a teller's idea. They start in the branches and work their way up."

Outside of the workplace campaign, Honor employees have volunteered with United Way's Day of Action for Seniors and Girls on the Run, and they partnered with United Way by incentivizing the Berrien and Cass county 2015 school campaigns.  Their employees have given more than 5,745 of volunteer hours to the community in 2015, supported more than 383 community programs, and awarded $13,000 in scholarships.

"There will always be that local need," stated St. Joseph Branch Manager and 2016 United Way Campaign Cabinet member, Tanya Urias. "Places like the Men's Shelter and Child and Family Services and hearing the stories of what they need makes you want to give more. Our community here at Honor is what sets us apart."

For United Way of Southwest Michigan's President, Anna Murphy, it's Honor's continued support for the community that stands out. "We are proud of the relationship we have with Honor. The amount of work that they do around this community, year-in and year-out, really demonstrates the commitment they have of giving back."