What is Cash Back to the Community?
American Eagle Financial Credit Union introduced a participatory funding program, Cash Back to the Community, to significantly increase our philanthropic giving during 2020. The Credit Union is committed to donating one percent of our total credit and debit card interchange income (the fee paid for credit and debit card transactions). Funding for the program is generated each time our members use their American Eagle Financial Credit Union credit or debit card. The more you spend, the more we give!
“We created Cash Back to the Community to invite our members and public to play an active role in our philanthropic efforts. Little did we know then how vital these funds would be to nonprofits during the current COVID-19 pandemic. We are concentrated on making the places where we live and work better, and responding quickly during critical times,” said Dean Marchessault, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Eagle Financial Credit Union.
How are Donations Awarded?
Each quarter we will hold a nominating period followed by a voting period through our website and social media sites. At the end of each quarter, one percent of that quarter’s interchange income will be distributed equally among three qualified nonprofits and/or 501(c)(3) organizations as voted on by the Credit Union’s members and the public. In the event of a tie, American Eagle employees will vote to determine the winner. An organization can win one time. A total of 12 different nonprofit organizations will receive a donation. Thus far in 2020, Cash Back to the Community donations total $40,266.
How to Nominate and Organization
The following are guidelines to nominate an organization:
Organization must be a nonprofit and/or a 501(c)(3) headquartered in Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, or Tolland County in Connecticut or Hampden County in Massachusetts.
Organization must operate under best practices for governance (e.g., hold regular board meetings, provide financial oversight of the organization, etc.)
Board of directors and staff are representative of the racial/ethnic diversity of the region served.
Organization must not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, national origin, handicap, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other protected classes as required by law.
Results are outcomes that last, not just annual activities and one-time events.
Organization or cause should positively and directly impact our community versus large, national organizations.
At least 75% of the organization’s expenses should be spent directly on their programs.
Organization cannot be a previous recipient of a Cash Back to the Community donation.
AEFCU reserves the right to disqualify organizations that support topics likely to give rise to controversy or public disagreement.
Nominate a worthy organization during the designated nominating periods. The organization only needs to be nominated once each quarter to be included on that quarter’s voting ballot.
- Go to americaneagle.org/cashbacktothecommunity
- Enter the organization name
- Enter the organization town
- Enter your email
- Click Submit
- Wait for the voting period to begin!
How to Vote for an Organization
Vote for your favorite organization during the designated voting periods. Share the voting link with friends, family, coworkers, and others and encourage them to vote. Each person may vote one time per email address per quarter. The three organizations with the most votes will be awarded a donation.
- Go to americaneagle.org/cashbacktothecommunity
- Enter your email
- Select the button next to the organization to receive your vote
- Click Submit
- Wait for the winners to be announced!
2020 Donation Recipients
American Eagle donated a total of $86,425 to 12 nonprofit organizations through Cash Back to the Community.
For the quarter ending March 31, 2020, American Eagle Financial Credit Union donated $20,541, divided equally among the top three vote recipients in the amount of $6,847. We received 159 nominations and 1,410 votes from members and the general public. Congratulations to Friends of Feeney, Inc., Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington, and Furry Animals Being Saved Rescue.
Friends of Feeney, Inc. West Hartford-based Friends of Feeney, Inc. was recognized for their work focused on supporting local children and families who need assistance after experiencing heartbreak and/or tragedy. “As a grassroots group that started in 2016 and then formally becoming a nonprofit 501c3 in 2019, all of our funds have come from person to person contact fundraising. Being awarded this donation from American Eagle Financial Credit Union will allow us to reach and support so many more of our community's children and families during a time when the need to help each other is so great,” said Eric Feeney, founder of Friends of Feeney. “This generous donation will allow us to set up an ‘emergency request for support’ system designed to quickly reach as many friends of our community as possible.”
Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington “I was exciting to hear from the American Eagle Financial Credit Union that we were a Cash Back to the Community award recipient,” said Joanne Kelleher, director of the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington an organization dedicated to the growth, development and academic success of young children in town. “This donation will give us the financial flexibility to help parents and childcare providers through the Covid-19 crisis in ways we weren't previously considering. We are concerned about both the short-term issues of health risks, increased domestic violence, food insecurity, distance learning and the financial stability of the childcare industry, but also the long-term impacts this traumatic situation may cause to the brain development and future education of our youngest children.”
Furry Animals Being Saved Rescue, Inc. “American Eagle’s Cash Back to the Community Award will support the mission FABS Rescue set out to achieve: to save animals from suffering and give them the love, care and medical treatment they need to live happy, healthy lives,” said Fabrizia Dimaio, founder of Furry Animals Being Saved Rescue, Inc. based in Tolland. “This generous donation will allow us to continue our efforts to not only care for the pets currently in our rescue, but also enables us to rescue even more animals at risk of abandonment or euthanasia.”
For the quarter ending June 30, 2020, American Eagle Financial Credit Union donated $19,725, divided equally among the top three vote recipients in the amount of $6,575. We received 242 nominations and 4,447 votes from members and the general public. Congratulations to Seniors Job Bank of Greater Hartford in West Hartford, Quinnipiac University Dance Marathon program in Hamden, and Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford in Hartford.
Seniors Job Bank of Greater Hartford is a nonprofit organization created in 1974, dedicated to helping people over the age of 50 find part-time work in the West Hartford community and surrounding towns. The organization connects jobseekers with part-time job opportunities in businesses, municipalities, and nonprofits as well as per diem work with individuals. "American Eagle's donation is especially welcome now, as the COVID-19 virus crisis has made fundraising even more challenging than it usually is. The money will help us continue to connect folks over 50 seeking work with businesses and households that have work to be done," said Bernie Weiss, president, Seniors Job Bank of Greater Hartford.
Quinnipiac University Dance Marathon (QTHON) benefits the Children’s Miracle Network and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Students involved in a campus' dance marathon organization spend a year gaining leadership, teamwork, and nonprofit business experience while raising funds and awareness for their local Children's Miracle Network Hospital. The year culminates with an 8-40-hour event (the dance marathon) on each campus where students get to meet patient families treated at their local hospital, participate in games and dancing, enjoy entertainment, and reveal their annual fundraising total. “This donation means more to our QTHON family than words can describe. Our fight for the kids never stops and we appreciate American Eagle’s support. These funds will be used to provide life-saving care to children, supply the newest technology for the hospital, and enhance the patient and family experience,” said Hannah Baker, executive director, QTHON 2021.
Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford (LVGH), a private non-profit organization, has provided adult literacy services to the Greater Hartford community since 1972. Serving 20 towns, its cutting edge, student-centered, technology enriched programs teach nearly 900 adults each year the reading and writing, English proficiency, math, high school completion, citizenship, and job readiness skills they need to succeed. LVGH students are age 18 and over. About two-thirds take classes in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, representing over 80 countries around the world. The other third are native English speakers who generally read and write at or below a sixth-grade reading level. “Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford is incredibly fortunate to receive this donation from the Cash Back to the Community program. We recently moved our literacy classes and career services to an online format to give our students the opportunity to learn and grow in the safety of their homes. This funding will allow us to continue the transition to online learning and to help our students achieve their literacy and life goals,” said Stephen Morris assistant director, Operations, Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford.
Watch Second Quarter Winners Video
For the quarter ending September 30, 2020, American Eagle Financial Credit Union donated $22,077, divided equally among the top three vote recipients in the amount of $7,359. We received 158 nominations and 3,418 votes from members and the general public. Congratulations to Enfield Community Cat Project, TLC Foundation, Inc. in Manchester, and Roaring Brook Nature Center in Canton.
Enfield Community Cat Project works with the town to rescue homeless and abandoned cats. The organization seeks to provide veterinary treatment to sick or injured cats as well as foster homes while seeking a permanent home. The Enfield Community Cat Project also promotes spay and neutering of cats in order to reduce over population, suffering, and disease. "This is a huge win for Enfield Community Cat Project by being chosen for this community award. Our plans for this amazing donation are to help us cover the many expenses we are still facing because of COVID. We have literally been drowning in vet bills so this is a huge relief to our rescue and will give us an opportunity to save more lives,” said Dawn Struck, President & Founder of Enfield Community Cat Project.
TLC Foundation, Inc. in Manchester is a transitional living center which offers a safe, structured family-like environment to Manchester school children who are victims of abuse, neglect family disruption, parent-child conflict or lack of a suitable home environment beyond their control. TLC offers the chance for school aged boys and girls to continue in Manchester Schools and live in a family-like environment. “On behalf of the TLC Foundation, I want to express appreciation to the Community Involvement Fund of American Eagle Financial Credit Union. During these unprecedented times of COVID-19, the monies from the Community Involvement fund will assist with staffing, the purchase of PPE and recreational activities,” said Liama B. Holmes, Executive Director of the TLC Foundation.
Roaring Brook Nature Center in Canton seeks to increase awareness, appreciation and knowledge of the natural world, and the interrelationships that exist between people and the changing environment. The center maintains five miles of trails on the adjacent state-owned Werner’s Woods property. This refuge is home to a variety of native wildlife species. Outdoor gardens provide opportunities for visitors to view wildflowers, birds and butterflies in season. Seasonal nature walks for all ages are offered throughout the year. “Roaring Brook Nature Center is most appreciative for the generous donation from American Eagle Financial Credit Union. The AEFCU gift will help us to keep our doors open and to provide programs, and serve as a resource to residents of the Farmington Valley and the greater Hartford area,” said Jay Kaplan, Director.
Watch Third Quarter Winners Video
For the quarter ending December 31, 2020, American Eagle Financial Credit Union donated $24,018, divided equally among the top three vote recipients in the amount of $8,026. We received 168 nominations and 5,083 votes from members and the general public. Congratulations to Healing Meals Community Project, Dog Star Rescue, and Farmington Friends of Music.
Healing Meals Community Project of Bloomfield provides healthy organic meals to people in a health crisis while fostering compassion and empowering youth and adult volunteers in our communities. “We are thrilled and honored to be a recipient of the American Eagle Financial Credit Union’s Cash Back to the Community program for the fourth quarter,” said Sarah Leathers, Founder & CEO of Healing Meals Community Project. “These funds will provide much-needed meals to clients and their family members, as well as grocery bags full of nutritional staples and fresh produce. We are grateful to community members that voted for us.”
Dog Star Rescue of Bloomfield saves stray, abandoned, shelter and owner surrendered dogs of all breeds and ages by placing them in qualified, caring, lifelong homes. “A donation like this helps Dog Star Rescue in so many ways,” said Dan McCabe, President of Dog Star Rescue. “It will help us further our mission of saving and rehoming dogs, and it will help us with the facility costs that come from running an all-volunteer operation as well as feeding the dogs we care for. This is an awesome way to cap off a crazy year—it has really boosted the spirits of our entire organization.”
Farmington Friends of Music is a non-profit organization created by supporters of Farmington Public Schools music students. Its mission is to promote the necessity of music education in Farmington Schools, enhance music education and support music educational opportunities for its schools and community. “We thank American Eagle Financial Credit Union for this wonderful opportunity,” said Leslie A. Isme, Music Department Chair of Farmington High School. “This year, with the pandemic and financial crisis, we have had more needs in our schooled than ever before. The money donated from the Cash Back to the Community program will directly support students in need of musical instruments, allowing them to participate or continue to participate in our music program.“