Ascend Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in Middle Tennessee, has donated $66,217 to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, which includes $16,217 in contributions from its members. The donation will provide 264,868 meals to Middle Tennesseans in need.
To maximize its contribution this year, Ascend encouraged members to donate to Second Harvest via an online portal provided by the credit union with the incentive that Ascend would match member donations dollar-for-dollar. The credit union not only matched members’ contributions but doubled its annual offering this year to $50,000.
Also, throughout the month of November, Ascend employees collected 7,271 food items to help individuals and families have access to food during this holiday season.
“While so many are struggling to put food on the table, Ascend’s members and employees went above and beyond to offer a helping hand to their Middle Tennessee neighbors,” said Caren Gabriel, Ascend president and CEO. “It’s a blessing to be able to substantially increase our December charitable donation and provide meals for those in need.”
In its December Household Pulse Survey update, the U.S. Census Bureau found that Tennessee’s food scarcity is at 14.1%, which means that more than 970,000 Tennessee adults reported either sometimes or frequently not having enough to eat within the last week. Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee’s mission is to feed hungry people and work to solve hunger issues in 46 Middle Tennessee counties.
“Dealing with the pandemic during the holidays has put an additional strain on many families during what is already a difficult time of year,” said Nancy Keil, president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. “The demand for our services has increased by 50% and partners like Ascend Federal Credit Union have stepped up in a big way by raising much-needed funds through their own creative ways. This donation will provide hope to so many families this holiday season.”
In December Ascend announced a donation of $50,000 to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The donation continues Ascend’s longstanding support for the hospital and its mission of improving the healthcare of children and communities regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Leaders Education Foundation, a non-profit 501C-3 formed by Leaders Credit Union, is pleased to award ten West Tennessee educators with the L.E.A.D.S. Educator Grant. This program awards ten $1,000 grants to area educators whose initiatives empower students to Learn, Experience, Advocate, Dream, and Serve.
“The L.E.A.D.S. Educator Grant embodies who we are as an organization because we are here to serve, advocate and educate our members and allow them to dream of a new future,” said Leigh Anne Bentley, President of Leaders Education Foundation. “Especially in 2020, we are proud to support educators as they navigate through an uncertain school year.”
Grant proposals range from funds for agriculture livestock pasture, a virtual field trip, band program equipment, to funding for a school broadcasting drone. Grant submissions included a short video explaining the need and use of the grant money. Twelve proposals were submitted, and the top ten winners were chosen by the community via social media voting. Winners include:
- Kyle Gehring, Bradford High SchoolGrant Project: Bradford Agriculture Livestock Pasture
- David Sinclair, South Side High School
- Grant Project: Band iPad
- Sarah Hubbard, Elmore Park Middle School
- Grant Project: Podcast Recording Equipment
- Callie Dollar, Community Montessori School
- Grant Project: Virtual Field Trip to Jamestown, Virginia
- Angela Searcy, Jackson Madison County Schools
- Grant Project: Student Study Spots
- Matthew Barker, Freed Hardeman University
- Grant Project: Class Fundraiser Campaign
- Todd Lewis, Chester County Schools
- Grant Project: Eagle Vision Network Drone Project
- Linda Lane, Madison Academic High School
- Grant Project: Madison’s Academic Decathlon
- Brittany Fowler, West Carroll Elementary School
- Grant Project: Robots in the Classroom
- Nathan Lewis, JCM Early College High School
- Grant Project: Books for Scholars
“We’ve been amazed by each grant submission we received,” Bentley said. “Success is in the power of people helping people, and we plan to continue to lead the way.”
Leaders Credit Union, a member-owned financial cooperative based in Jackson, Tenn., donated over 1,500 pounds of canned food from a member-wide “From Leaders with Love” canned food drive Thursday, Nov. 17. The food drive launched mid-November in every Leaders branch with a Thanksgiving video of employees showcasing what they are thankful for this season.
The canned food drive donations were delivered to food pantries in each of Leaders respective locations: RIFA in Jackson, Milan Mustard Seed in Milan, Chimes for Charity in Union City, and Mid-South Food Bank in Bartlett.
“How proud and grateful I am of our staff and members, especially in this unprecedented season,” President and CEO Todd Swims said. “Their generosity and giving spirit allows us to bless our communities with food during a very trying and difficult year for many.”
Each holiday season for the past four years, Leaders has carried out multiple community projects in every market as part of their “From Leaders with Love” campaign. This year, Leaders chose to stock food banks as their organization-wide initiative. “At the close of a tough year, we felt compelled to give to organizations who are providing a basic need for families.”