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Community Foundation(s): Brainerd Lakes Area
Award: 2022 BLACF Award in Philanthropy
The 2022 recipient of the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation’s (BLACF) Award in Philanthropy was the Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union (MMFCU). This award recognizes the efforts of a family, an individual, or an organization who has significantly contributed to the field of philanthropy. MMFCU has clearly exhibited all these attributes in a significant way. MMFCU received this award because of their generosity and support of the Brainerd Lakes Area. MMFCU is a member-owned financial cooperative with 163 team members and serving 11 locations across central Minnesota. They believe in giving back to community and their impact in the Brainerd Lakes Area is something they are very proud of.
MMFCU donates $1 per member annually and with over 53,000 members currently that amount is impactful to communities in the Brainerd Lakes Area. These donations are decided by local staff and committees that Mid Minnesota serves including Pequot Lakes, Brainerd, Baxter, and Crosby. Brainerd High School’s Strength Center, Lakes Area Restorative Justice, Kinship Partners, and Northland Arboretum are all examples of larger projects receiving $500 or more in grant funding selected by MMFCU’s volunteer board members. MMFCU also gives donations as a credit union wide project and assists with fundraising for organizations such as the United Way with matching funds. MMFCU provides scholarships for high school seniors in their service area and sponsorships for school recognition events. Community engagement and education are budgeted and staffed because it is at the core of their mission to give back and improve financial well-being. MMFCU provides over 10 hours per week of financial education to high schools and other nonprofits, as well as an 18 week (1 credit) course at Brainerd Learning Center called “Money Smarts”. MMFCU also offers a Poverty Simulation that provides participants a view of living in poverty, offering an exercise in empathy and how each of us can support those struggling in our community. High school students enjoy attending the Mad City Money simulation to experience “real world” budgeting where students are assigned a job, a family, debt, and bills and they must live within a budget. In addition to grants and education, MMFUC employees volunteer thousands of hours supporting local nonprofits. MMFCU is a great employer offering its employees many great benefits including many internal networking opportunities, career development and competitive wages.
Karl Samp, Executive Director of Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation states, “MMFCU has assisted with the growth and development of the Brainerd Lakes Area and the surrounding communities through supporting nonprofit organizations with financial donations and volunteering for many events and offering financial education to many populations within our community. The Brainerd Lakes Area is a better place because of them. We were honored to present MMFCU with the 2022 Award in Philanthropy.”