The Virginia Credit Union League awarded Freedom First two first-place awards in recognition of its commitment to community development. For the second year in a row, Freedom First won the Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award. And this year, Freedom First won the Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award. Freedom First will represent Virginia in the national competition for the awards, which recognize leadership in tackling community financial assistance issues.
The Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award honors credit unions for their practical application of the “people-helping-people” philosophy that is the hallmark of the credit union movement. The competition is named after Louise McCarren Herring, a credit union pioneer, who believed that the operational application of credit union philosophy helped better people's lives. Freedom First won the award for its West End Project, a collaboration between the credit union, nonprofit agencies, governments, community leaders, and local businesses to build a full-service credit union, education room, and farmers’ market pavilion in an underserved urban neighborhood.
The Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award recognizes leadership within the credit union movement on behalf of financial literacy. This year, VACUL recognized Freedom First’s collaboration with Commonwealth Catholic Charities to help refugees and new immigrants take steps toward U.S. citizenship through financial literacy and economic self-sufficiency. The credit union reaches nearly 1,700 people each year with customized financial education for individuals, schools, and businesses.