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Second Annual RETURN THE FAVOR donation campaign supports 12 local nonprofits

The Santa Cruz Community Credit Union (SCCCU) Board of Directors has approved a matching gift program to support 12 local nonprofit organizations in Santa Cruz County. For every dollar people donate to one of these nonprofits, the credit union will match that donation up to $ 50,000 (total for all organizations).

The Caisse populaire will accept donations until November 30, 2021.

“Building on last year’s RETURN THE FAVOR campaign, we continue to focus on helping the most vulnerable in our community. Our collective efforts to provide much needed support to our local nonprofit organizations will bring substantial relief to so many in need, ”said Beth Carr, President and CEO of SCCCU.

“We are grateful to our Board of Directors for the generosity of providing us with this opportunity this year. We have so many wonderful community members who give for free to so many important causes and organizations. Now we can add to any giveaways they give to any of our participating nonprofits and make an even bigger impact in our community, ”Carr explained.

(For now, matching has been achieved; however, please continue to donate to these deserving organizations. Additional matching funds may be added in the future.)

12 participating nonprofits with aligned mission

The Credit Union has selected 12 nonprofits to participate in this year’s campaign, which will run until November 30, 2021. Here is a list of participating nonprofits:

  • Community Action Council (CAB)
  • Community bridges
  • Diversity Center
  • CDC El Pájaro
  • Gray bear
  • Housing issues
  • Garden project for the homeless
  • Bread and fish from the Pajaro valley
  • Pajaro Valley Refuge Services
  • SC Volunteer Center
  • Second Harvest Food Bank
  • United churches of the valley

Each organization aligns closely with the Credit Union’s mission to ensure economic justice for all and further supports the need for access to services in our community.

“The Santa Cruz County, Inc. (CAB) Community Action Council is honored to have been selected by the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union to be part of its RETURN THE FAVOR 2021 campaign,” said Helen Ewan-Storey , Deputy Director of CAB. “As a county-appointed community action agency with a mission to eradicate poverty and create social change through advocacy for essential rights and services, as well as a vision of a A thriving, equitable and diverse community for over 50 years, the CAB feels strongly aligned with its mission and values. of the SCCCU and its members.

Willy Elliott-McCrea, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank in Santa Cruz County, said: “With food insecurity increased by nearly 50% since the pandemic, the TURNBOUND campaign is crucial in helping our neighbors in dire straits. food insecurity. The Santa Cruz Community Credit Union continues to be a great partner with Second Harvest, and we are more than grateful that they have included us in their campaign.

Serving the unbanked and underserved is essential to the economic well-being of our community

“We have a strategy Members access map providing affordable financial services to everyone in our community. Each of these organizations contributes to this effort by providing the most vulnerable in our community with basic human needs (food, water or shelter) and other supports essential for the well-being of each person, ”said Carr.

Santa Cruz Community Credit Union

Why is it so important to serve the unbanked and underserved? Consider this example:

When Alicia immigrated from Mexico to the United States, she had excellent credit and a solid financial background. But, unfortunately, its financial history has not been recognized in the United States. Without a social security number, she could not access essential financial services, such as a checking account or credit card, which limited her ability to meet her most basic needs and achieve her financial goals.

Alicia is not alone – millions of Americans face a similar uphill battle. In 2019, the Federal Reserve reported that about 6% of American adults (or roughly 15 million people) were unbanked, which means they don’t use accounts you find at a financial institution ( checks, savings or loans). And 16% of American adults are underbanked, which means they have a traditional bank account but still use alternative financial services.

Santa Cruz Community Credit Union

Sadly, these numbers are worse in communities that also experience income inequality and other social injustices. For example, African American (16.9%) and Latin American (14%) households are about five times more likely to be unbanked than white households (3%). And the story gets worse when you look at the income level. On average, 19% of households with a family income of less than $ 30,000 do not have a bank account, which is significantly higher than households with more than $ 30,000.

Without access to safe and affordable financial services, the unbanked and underserved population uses other means to carry out routine financial tasks – cashing checks, shopping on credit, etc. Unfortunately, this leads to predatory loans, high fees, and other expenses that leave many paychecks alive with no hope of reaching their financial goals. It is a vicious circle that is difficult to break without financial assistance and can be detrimental to building a thriving economy.


As a government-certified low-income community development and credit cooperative, SCCCU provides services to help the unbanked and underserved people achieve their financial goals.

“We just launched a new LIFT loan program, which is our alternative to payday loans. These are short term loans to help you fill in the gaps if you need the cash, ”said Katie Fairbairn, vice president of communications and organizational development at SCCCU. “Along with our DACA loans and bilingual online financial education, we continually take action to reach the most vulnerable people in our community. In addition, we use grant funds to develop affordable housing and other financial assistance programs for our members.

And that’s just the start of other things to come. In 2019, SCCCU made the strategic decision to downsize and sell its Santa Cruz branch and move to a smaller space downtown. The funds from the sale of the building will help them expand its core mission of providing better financial access to residents of Santa Cruz County, especially the unbanked and underserved.

We are committed to fulfilling our mission of ensuring economic justice for all. Everything we do filters through this lens …

– Beth Carr, President / CEO of SCCCU

“We are committed to our mission to ensure economic justice for all. Everything we do filters through this lens, ”Carr said. “Now, with the recent sale of our downtown Santa Cruz building, we will have more opportunities to reach the most vulnerable people in our community. When we reduce the percentage of unbanked and underserved people in our community, we improve the financial well-being of every household and build a stronger economy for everyone to enjoy. We believe that economic justice for all is worth it. “

Santa Cruz Community Credit Union

RETURNING FAVOR is only one way to help

Imagine what it would be like if everyone in our community had the food and shelter they needed to feel safe? And, taking it one step further, the Credit Union’s goal is to provide everyone with access to the affordable financial services needed to live comfortably.

RETURNING THE FAVOR is just a step in the right direction, but great things usually happen with one step.

“THANK YOU / MIL GRACIAS for supporting the Community Action Board to provide employment assistance and mentorship for youth and adults, homelessness prevention and intervention, community strengthening and services legal and immigration advocacy to more than 10,000 low-income community members this year. Your support helps us build a prosperous and more equitable community for all, ”explained Ewan-Storey.

Every donation made to the RETURN THE FAVOR campaign goes directly to your selected nonprofit or a general fund that distributes the money equally to all organizations in the campaign.

“We would like to encourage everyone to join us in making a donation to one of these participating nonprofits. Our goal is to return the favor so that every organization can continue to thrive and provide much needed support to our community, ”said Carr.

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