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Banking for better 2018 Community Impact Report, Verity Credit Union

Can a financial institution do good?

We think so.

Money you deposit at a financial institution can have a tremendous impact on the community, and depending upon the bank or credit union, that impact can be positive or negative.

We're encouraging community members to ask the following questions of their financial institutions. And we want to be open and honest about these questions ourselves—when you bank with Verity, this is what happens to your money.

Question: How does your bank support your community?

At Verity, we work to foster cooperative communities who dream boldly.

Supporting the community is more than just talk—it’s part of our mission, our values, and most notably, our vision for the greater Seattle area. Everyone has a different definition of community—whether it be a geographical location, a shared interest or a network of people—and at Verity, community means all of the above. We have a commitment to support each of these communities in any way we can, even if it means we don’t have our name and logo plastered all over everything.

You can find Verity staff in blue shirts volunteering for local organizations and nonprofits, doing manual labor, raising money or helping with tasks that are on the “we’ll do it eventually” list. You can see Verity’s support of the art scene through live music performances at branches, local art displays, participation in neighborhood art walks, using visual and musical artists in our advertising, and by being the title sponsor of Seattle Make Music Day four years running.

You can feel Verity’s support of local nonprofits through partnerships, sharing board members (we’re on their boards, they’re on ours), and the newly developed community-impact accounts, which have special deposit rates and are designed to help organizations who are doing the hard, on-the-ground work to better our communities.

We want to support strong and viable communities and help create cooperative communities who dream boldly.

Expanding to serve a vibrant neighborhood: West Seattle

In July 2018, we opened a new branch in the heart of the Junction, but our engagement with the vibrant West Seattle community started long before that.

Rather than come to the area, open a branch, and then get to know the neighbors, we started by getting to know the neighbors and what the community really needed through an open forum and by regularly connecting with local leaders.

We learned West Seattle already has amazing community energy but could use another partner to provide financial and physical resources.

So we did.

We hit the streets to raise money for the West Seattle Food Bank. We provided money and entertainment for West Seattle Summer Fest. We opened our doors during select Farmers Market Sundays. We joined the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the Junction Association. We supported ArtsWest, Youngstown Cultural Center, West Seattle Senior Center and other nonprofit organizations.

We started by getting to know the neighbors and what the community really needed

And we’re just getting started. We have big plans for all our communities in 2019 and will continue working toward our vision of dreaming boldly.

Community Service Day

The 4th annual Verity Community Service Day was the biggest to date, with Verity staff spending the day painting, cleaning, picking up litter, sorting food, clearing brush, prepping materials for events, posting signs, and more.

In all, six organizations welcomed Verity staff to help with much-needed tasks. We enjoyed getting to know the organizations better and helping them improve their communities.

2018 Community Service Day by the numbers

6 organizations welcomed volunteers (Auburn Valley Humane Society, Food Lifeline, PAWS, Lynnwood Parks and Recreation, Phinney Neighborhood Association, Youngstown Cultural Center)

  • 87 staff members participated
  • 435 hours volunteered
  • $10,740.15 in support through volunteering

A great year for community partnership

Question: Do you know where your money sleeps at night?

Financial institutions are built on the model of collecting money from people and then loaning out a portion of that money to other people. Depending on the financial institution, the amount loaned, and who it is loaned to, varies greatly. As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, our members’ funds are reinvested back to our members and community partners.

In fact, 87% of our deposits are given back to the local economy and members through loans, whether it’s a loan for an eco-friendly car, bicycle, starting a small business or purchasing a home. And a good portion of the income we receive from loan interest, we use to support community organizations and causes through donations, sponsorships and microgrants. That means when you’re not using your money, it’s helping others in the community rather than sleeping in a corporate account.

87% of our deposits are given back to the local economy and members through loans, whether it’s a loan for an eco-friendly car, bicycle, starting a small business, or purchasing a home.

And do you know what we don’t support? Causes and organizations that are detrimental to people, the planet, and community prosperity.

Microgrants have big impacts

One of the ways Verity supports organizations is through microgrants. These $2,000 grants are available to organizations doing projects to support community well-being through visual and musical arts, environmental sustainability or other aspects of Verity’s core values. In 2018, eight organizations and projects received grants, including:

  • Phinneywood Neighborhood Association - Dia de los Muertos event
  • Fremont Abbey Arts - grow event space and back-to-school event
  • Scarecrow Video - 2019 Children's Hour season
  • Zeno - two family math nights
  • Bike Works - Superhero Community Bike Ride
  • Bellwether Housing - furnishings for a two-bedroom affordable housing unit
  • SCM Medical Missions - Hope Boxes for incoming refugees

Dollars doing good

Question: Is your bank a values-based organization?

As a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), we make decisions by looking through a values lens and making sure anything we do makes sense financially as well as morally. Verity has long been a values-based organization, but it wasn’t until joining the GABV that we found 54 other financial institutions around the world that feel the way we do. And now, we’re working together to make banking a thoughtful and community-based industry rather than a necessary evil.

GABV members have a shared mission to use finances to deliver sustainable economic, social and environmental development. We live by the GABV’s pillars of values-based banking, and we take a triple bottom line approach to our banking, which means people, planet and prosperity are at the heart of everything we do.

The GABV pillars of values-based banking

While Verity’s values use different words, the intent and desire is the same: creating strong communities that allow everyone to thrive in their own way.

One way we do this is through offering unique products and services that meet the varied needs of our members, while still safeguarding the environment and communities.

Sure, we have standard auto loans, checking accounts and certificates of deposit. But we also offer loans for bicycles and solar panels, high interest or cash back rewards checking accounts, high-yield savings products for nonprofit organizations, first-time homebuyer and auto buyer programs, financial education and more.

Verity has long been a values-based organization, but it wasn’t until joining with GABV that we found 54 other financial institutions around the world that feel the way we do.

While some places may tout values as important for a limited time, at Verity it’s truly at the core of what we do. Verity means “truth” and we always strive to be transparent. That’s why we don’t just talk about values, we actively showcase them through our community commitment.

People

People come first, before the bottom line. That’s one of Verity’s core values. This means we actively develop and design products and services to meet the needs of people in our communities. We strive to empower our members’ financial lives, as well as enable them to be productive in their communities.

We support the “people” portion of the triple bottom line through:

  • Financial education opportunities including seminars, personal financial coaching and digital resources
  • Supporting the arts community through our advertising, live music events, community art walks, theater sponsorships, Make Music Day sponsorship and more
  • Social inclusion by supporting the GSBA and FareStart, volunteering with Teen Feed, Seattle PrideFest and other community nonprofits

Planet

Verity has long been an advocate of environmental sustainability—if we don’t take care of the planet and our natural resources, we damage our home and needlessly waste energy and money. Environmental sustainability is an international concern, but we support efforts in the Puget Sound region and try to give our members and communities the support they need to make their own positive impact.

We support the “planet” portion of the triple bottom line through:

  • Eco-friendly loan program, providing financing for solar panels, bicycles, and eco-friendly vehicles
  • Leading by example with several LEED certified locations and comprehensive recycling/composting programs
  • Employee incentive for alternative commute methods

Prosperity

Promote strong and viable communities—this is part of Verity’s mission statement. We believe anyone can prosper with the right support.

We help build economic resiliency and support the “prosperity” portion of the triple bottom line through:

  • Giving people a chance through first-time auto buyer homebuyer programs
  • Supporting organizations like Business Impact NW, which provides small business owners the tools, coaching and microfinancing they need to succeed, with a specific focus on small business owners in under-represented communities
  • Helping community projects get off the ground with our microgrant program
  • Providing financial education through personal financial coaching and counseling

We are proud to belong to the GABV and are the only member in the U.S. Pacific Northwest:

Where your money sleeps at night has a tremendous impact on the community. Make it positive. Join Verity.

Are you ready to bank your values?

How does your bank fare?

We want to hear from you! Connect with us on social media and tell us how your bank or credit union fits with your values. Join the conversation using #bankingonvalues:

Thank you to all of our partners. We value you and the work you do in the community.

A very special thank you

to the many nonprofits, local businesses, artists, musicians, community partners, and friends who we've had the pleasure to partner with throughout the year:

Abraham Neuwelt

Alaskan Way Stakeholder Advisory Group

American Cancer Society

Andrew Simonetti

Asotin County Sales Committee

Auburn Valley Humane Society

Aurora Commons

Ballard Alliance

Barbie Stattman

Beautiful Soles

Bellwether Housing

Ben Mish

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound

Bike Works

Boy Scouts of America

Business Impact NW

Cascade Bicycle Club

Champagne Honeybee

Christine Olson

Charlie and the Rays

CFA Society Seattle

Chris Kelleher

City of Lynnwood

Climate Solutions

Conspiratio

Country Dave

Country Doctor Community Health Centers

Credit Unions for Kids

Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC)

DECA Inc.

Delilah Beaucoup

Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association

Delridge Neighborhoods District Council

Downtown Emergency Service Center

Dryft Productions

Elijah Dhavvan

Emily McVicker

E. R. Saba

Eugenie Jones

Family Works

FareStart

Festa Italiana Seattle

Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery

Food Lifeline

Free Letters Home

Fremont Abbey Arts Center

The Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas

Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA)

Green Seattle Partnership

Greenwood Elementary School

Greenwood Senior Center

Habitat for Humanity

Hope for Today

Hopelink

Housing Development Consortium

Jeremiah Hammer

Jesse Link

Jessica Hankins

John Osgood

Joy Griffith

Junior Achievement of Washington

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Katie Kuffel

Kay Moynihan

Kelly Shipp

Kim Archer

King County Chapter of Credit Unions

Kris Ekstrand

Kristin Alana

Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation

Lanny Bergner

Lee Harper

Levi Hastings

Liz Courts

The Local Strangers

Lynnwood Food Bank

Lynnwood Police Department

Mary's Place

Matthew Pritchett

Maybe

Meaningful Movies Project

Megan Noel Smith

Metro Parks Tacoma

Modernism Week

Moisture Festival

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Seattle)

North One District Council

North Seattle College Education Fund

North Seattle Fives Cooperative School

Northgate Elementary School

Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA)

Northwest Sarcoma Foundation

Pam Wishbow

Paris Alexa

Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA)

Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council

Populuxe Brewing

Poverello Center

Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS)

Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)

Puget Sound HOG

Push/Pull Gallery

Rat City Roller Derby

Richard Sclafani

Ridgecrest Elementary School

River Food Pantry

Ronald McDonald House

Roosevelt Neighborhood Association

ROOTS Young Adult Shelter

Ryan White Planning Council - King County

Scarecrow Video

SCM Medical Missions

Seattle Colleges Education Fund

Seattle Gift Wrap Project

Seattle Neighborhood Group

Seattle Pride

Seattle Sons of Italy

Shelby Earl

Sho Jen

Shorewood High School

Solar Washington

Soundview Little League

Southwest District Council

Southwest Precinct Advisory Committee

Southwest Youth and Family Services

Special Bunny

St. Luke School

Streams, Trails and Reforestation Stewards (STARS)

Sustainable Seattle

Teen Feed

Tobias the Owl

Visualizing Increased Engagement in West Seattle (VIEWS)

Wake the World

Wallingford United Methodist Church

Washington Native Plant Society

Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students)

West Seattle Food Bank

West Seattle Helpline

West Seattle Chamber of Commerce

West Seattle Junction Association

WestSide Baby

The Whole Bolivian Army

World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP)

Young Credit Union Professionals

Zeno

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