In 2021, DFCU Financial is proud to have made significant contributions to organizations that offered creative learning opportunities, enhanced community offerings, and celebrated our essential workers. Here is a look back at the good that can be done when we all work together.
Because of COVID-19, it was crucial that students had their own materials and were not sharing items. Therefore, DFCU was pleased to help purchase individual whiteboards for elementary students, and math manipulatives that help children visualize math concepts on behalf of the Chippewa Valley Educational Foundation.
In keeping with DFCU Financial’s mission of making sound financial advice available for all ages, we partnered with local high schools to offer virtual Financial Reality Fairs. The Reality Fair concept is a unique opportunity for students to experience some of the financial challenges they will face when they start life on their own.
This hands-on experience helped students learn to manage their wants and needs to live on their own. After the students went through nine components of independent living, they balanced their budget and evaluated what they'd learned.
The Dearborn Education Foundation hosted their first virtual Mardi Gras fundraiser sponsored by DFCU Financial and featuring a video tour of the New Orleans parade company, a cooking class with local culinary students, and Cajun meal delivery to more than 100 police and fire first responders.
"It was a unique format," said Executive Director Chastity Townsend, "but it really worked for this year and circumstances. With our sponsors help, we were able to raise more than $25,000 to benefit district programs."
With a grant from DFCU Financial, the Birmingham Education Foundation offered third graders a program that taught them about Michigan's Native Americans.
Presenter Gary Ghareeb shared stories and facts about how Native Americans hunted, traveled, traded, played, and used natural resources to help them survive. This program featured the Native people who lived in Michigan, focusing on the Tribes of the Three Fires. It also included the ancient cultures of Michigan as well as the Europeans that came here.
As an institution invested in the community as well as financial education, we were pleased to support the Livonia Public Schools (LPS) Education Foundation Competitive Edge Savings Program. This free program helps families of LPS kindergarteners set up a savings account for college. DFCU Financial has been a proud sponsor of the LPS Education Foundation for more than 15 years.
BookPALS is an innovative program used by the Children's Literacy Network (CLN) to connect students who live in different cities or rural communities all over Michigan through virtual reading groups. Currently nine reading groups meet weekly with designated books and reading exercises, mentored by a teacher.
From an elated parent...
"My son loves BookPALS! He is always so excited to get on his meeting and read with the kids. He finished his book this session before the first meeting and couldn’t wait to read it with his friends. Finding ways to socialize during COVID has been difficult – but being able to couple socialization with reading has been great. His reading skill and comprehension have both increased, and we look forward to each new book and each BookPALS meeting!"
"Thanks so very much to DFCU for this year's donation—we are so proud and honored to partner with you, especially with this impactful program centered around literacy.” - Besty Durant, Executive Director, CLN.
DFCU is proud to support the Garden City Foundation for Improving Global Education. A total donation of $15,000 over six years has resulted in multiple mini-grants for such programs as the Garden City Robotics program, High School College Application Lounge, communication iPads for the Autism program, and the Kindergarten STEM program, and has helped support a summer camp experience for our Farmington students.
“We thank DFCU for their generosity and service to our community." - Foundation Executive Director Alex McNeece.
On June 6, classic and decorated cars gathered at DFCU’s Oakwood Beech branch and then, with the help of Dearborn’s finest, drove by Beaumont Hospital to honor healthcare workers.
It was a year of disruption for the Taylor Robotics team, but they were up to the challenge. Since COVID derailed much of the face-to-face engagement, they’ve used their 3-D printer to make more than 9,000 mask ear savers for first responders. They’ve put their specially created robot through its paces—throwing and picking up balls, doing figure eights, and getting up off the floor. Team members were even interviewed by two international judges about their progress.
Brother and sister team members Samantha and Dean helped gut an old mall apple ride and fitted it with a rebuilt chassis and drive train to showcase at the upcoming STEM competitions. DFCU Financial is proud to support this team through challenges and successes.
This summer, a team of Youth Energy Squad (YES) students recognized that awareness and education were the most important factors in helping their communities take action against climate change. The self-named Climate Action Warriors partnered with the City of Detroit’s Green Task Force and local consultants to present the most important information about climate change to a group of more than 75 teachers and community educators as an example of how they could address climate change through their curriculum, even in a remote environment. DFCU Financial is proud to sponsor programs like this through Detroit Public Schools Foundation's EcoWorks program.
As the 2020/2021 school year progressed, it became evident to the teachers of the East Grand Rapids school district that a significant number of students were falling behind and experiencing learning loss due to the constraints of COVID. The district requested funds from the Foundation to hire and train a group of staff members to support students who were showing signs of learning loss in the areas of literacy and math. This Elementary Intervention Paraeducator effort, provided by funding from DFCU Financial, helped children K-5 to get back on track and up to speed to begin the next school year on better footing.
Said Amy Stuursma, Executive Director of East Grand Rapids Foundation, "Thank you again for your support. We are thrilled to have DFCU as an annual sponsor of the Foundation and our mission."
A total of 44 grants equaling $19,735 were awarded to Walled Lake schools on behalf of the Education Foundation. Grant awards included providing funds for all 12 elementary schools' media centers to purchase graphic novels and eBook collections and for classrooms at nearly every elementary to receive funds to update and replenish classroom literacy libraries.
"Our Foundation is so very grateful for DFCU's support and longstanding generosity that enabled the Foundation to stretch dollars further and into more classrooms. DFCU's support was once again integral to helping make this possible!" - Executive Director Michelle Bianco.
The Dearborn Teacher of The Year awards took place after more than 2,000 Dearborn students, preschool through high school, nominated a new or veteran teacher whom they feel has made an outstanding contribution to the teaching profession.
"Nominating a teacher for this award is a great way to honor them and show appreciation for the work they have done to create a meaningful educational experience in the virtual, hybrid, and in-person classroom,” said Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Glenn Maleyko.
Award judges are members of the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, including Peggy Richard from DFCU Financial, and are not provided with the teachers’ names. Winners were announced with a special ceremony in September.
As part of our grand reopening celebration at our Midtown branch, we showed support for the local community. Both Detroit Public Schools Foundation and Wayne State University Department of Music received donations from DFCU. The marching band, part of the music department, helped us celebrate.
The holiday season of 2021 is the 51st year of making holiday wishes come true for foster care children in Michigan on behalf of Operation Good Cheer. This entirely volunteer gift-giving program, sponsored and coordinated by Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc., was started in 1971 by individuals who wanted to make a difference in the lives of children who reside in foster care.
This year, DFCU staff adopted 32 children and purchased and wrapped gifts from each child's wish list, providing them with gifts and the joy of knowing there are people who care.