1st Financial Federal Credit Union (Wentzville) was built upon a philosophical foundation of “people helping people.” Throughout the years, credit union leaders have encouraged 1st Financial employees to help people in their community by offering opportunities for donating goods, providing financial literacy education and participating in fundraising efforts.
In late 2013, during a planning session dedicated to community development, it was decided to introduce a volunteer program for 1st Financial's employees that would offer paid wages for volunteering time at designated nonprofit 501c(3) organizations in their communities. The senior leadership team of 1st Financial believes that in order to bring about true life-changing transformation in the community, it takes hard work, effort and people using their talents and skills for good.
"Paid volunteerism is such a great opportunity to allow our employees the chance to actively contribute to the communities we serve,” says Robyn Whalen, vice president of Human Resources and Administration at 1st Financial. “We don’t just donate money or raise funds for our local charities. We physically help those organizations whether it’s stocking shelves at a food pantry, playing with children in a shelter or building a house!"
One of the biggest vehicles for employee volunteering has been the Helping People 1st grant program created by 1st Financial. This initiative, which highlights community focused charitable organizations, has given 1st Financial employees the ability to actively improve their community. To date, 1st Financial employees have worked more than 165 hours of paid volunteer time, serving Gateway 180: Homelessness Reversed, O.A.S.I.S. Food Pantry, PAKT Community Center and Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles County.
“The act of volunteering is a team- and morale-building event,” continues Whalen. “The employees create shared memories and work together to help a good cause. When we hire new employees, they consistently say that the reason they want to work here is because of our strong commitment to help the community. Volunteering creates a positive atmosphere where we are all supporting our core purpose: helping people achieve their financial dreams.”
1st Financial Federal was recently recognized as a Top Workplace in the St. Louis area by the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Top Workplaces are selected based on the results of employee surveys with the belief that employees buy into the philosophy and work ethic of successful companies.