This story aired June 9, 2009 on Wisconsin Public Radio
Several weeks ago David Overlin was given a $10 bill. He was one of few thousand people in Southern Wisconsin asked by Summit Credit Union to pay the money forward. In other words, Overlin was tasked with giving the cash away to someone who could use it more than he could.
This is wonderful. This is quite a surprise for my day.
James>> So you just got $10. What are you going to do with it?
Overlin>> I’m going to give it to the United Way. That’s what they gave it to me for.”
At select branches, anyone who came into the credit union at A particular day and time was given a crisp $10 bill to give away. But coming from a bank charity, that doesn’t sound like a lot of money.
It doesn’t, but hopefully they’ll give away a lot of $10s to people. Hopefully everybody gives it away so that would be nice.”
Actually Summit Credit Union aims to give away much more than that. Called Pay It Forward, the program aspires to stimulate the spirit of philanthropic giving among ordinary people. Campaign coordinator Alexis Endicott says they plan to do this at each of Summit’s 20 locations.
It’s $1000 per branch so it’s $20,000. It could affect 5 or 6 different markets that we’re in and have an impact on schools or charities or just promote goodwill around each of those communities.
Summit Credit Union’s offices include ones IN Madison, Beaver Dam, Baraboo, Lake Mills and Portage. And for some, these seemingly small contributions will go far beyond their local communities. Kari Myarland is among three residents in the town of Fitchburg who decided to support an overseas relief organization.
We decided to pool our money and invest in Heifer International. It’s a philanthropic organization where you can actually buy animals and other things that you can pledge to other communities or countries. We’re buying a goat in Honduras so that we can provide a sustainable donation rather than something that’s consumable.”
Sharing in the goat donation Karen Gaustad says the money offered up by Summit Credit Union helped her continue and expand her current levels of charitable giving.
Karen Gaustad _001>
Well when I find the right source for giving, I always try to do something like that. This was easy to do. It that made it relatively painless accept for the video.
Oh yeah, there’s one other catch.
Everyone who received a $10 bill was asked to make a short video declaration of how they plan to pay it forward. Posted on the Summit Credit Union web site each video can be viewed online by friends, family and interested observers…then voted on.
AGAIN, coordinator Alexis Endicott:
It’s a rating system similar to You-Tube. The top rated video will win $500 for themselves and $500 for a charity of their choice.”
Jeanan Yasiri, Executive Director of the UW Center for Nonprofits, said the Pay it Forward program is a good community gesture to promote individual charitable giving in tough economic times.
The other thing that summit is doing that’s pretty important is they’re handing $10 to someone. But it’s then going to cause that individual to think about, “Oh, where can I give this?” And then, “Do I have the capacity to maybe match that with my own $10.” All of the sudden the gift is doubled. And the amount is really relative. It just engages that person in thinking about how they want to gift.
You can vote for your favorite Pay It Forward video until June 15th at www.summitcreditunion.com
For Wisconsin Public Radio, This is James Mills