For this month’s BECU Expert Q&A, we sat down with Rachel Van Noord, Director of Community Outreach, to learn more about how her team strives to promote financial well-being in the communities we serve.
Community Outreach is divided up into three different divisions; Community Giving, Community Engagement, and Community Programs, that all work together to keep BECU active and engaged in the community.
What is your role at BECU?
I tell people I have one of the best jobs at the credit union. I oversee BECU’s Community Outreach team, which includes BECU’s community giving, financial health programs, and our community engagement efforts.
What are the areas of focus for Community Outreach?
Community Giving – A major area of focus for BECU is to improve the financial well-being of the communities we serve by providing financial support to organizations that help people build their earning potential over time. I’m really excited about our newest partnership with the Seattle Colleges Foundation, in support of the Seattle Promise scholarship program, which offers up to 2 years of tuition-free college to eligible Seattle Public High School graduates.
BECU also gives to causes that BECU members are passionate about, through the People Helping People program each year. The nomination period for 2019 recipients is closed, and the team is actively reviewing nominations to determine this year’s finalists. They’ll be announced later this year, and BECU members will have opportunities to learn more about them in preparation to vote for the People’s Choice Award in early November.
Financial Health – BECU’s signature financial health program is the Financial Health Check– this is a free consultation with a trained specialist to help members make decisions and take actions on savings, budgeting, and debt management in real-time during a confidential one-on-one session.
The Member Summit brings together the annual meeting of the credit union with educational breakout sessions, opportunities to engage with BECU employees, and member-only benefits in a single event. This year, we video recorded sessions from the event and posted them on BECU.org, so even if you missed the summit in person, you can watch the replay.
The Annual Day of Service is an all-day service event, where BECU employees visit local high schools to teach teens essential budgeting skills. While BECU employees volunteer thousands of hours in their communities throughout the year, setting aside a single day just for giving back is an integral part of BECU’s commitment to the communities we serve.
Why do you think it’s vital for BECU to be involved and engaged with the community?
Giving back to the communities we serve is part of our DNA as a credit union. Our community involvement is a tangible representation of BECU’s commitment to the credit union philosophy of people helping people and an important way for us to support and engage with our members and the causes they care about.
What’s your favorite thing about your role in Community Outreach?
Everything! I especially love the fact that I get to work with a great team that’s bringing BECU’s values and community commitment to life every day.
What do you hope for the future of BECU and the community?
I hope that we continue to expand our support for and engagement with the communities we serve, evolving what this looks like in response to what we’re learning from our members.