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Giving Back to Our Community

January 3, 2019

2018 A Year in Review  

At First Source we make it part of our mission to give back. In 2018, we helped support our community by giving approximately $300,000, and countless volunteer hours, to help a number of local organizations and thousands of individuals.

Our charitable work does more than simply give a handout; it gives a hand up. In addition to helping many local businesses grow, it provides for basic human needs, a better future, and education. It helps people live smarter, healthier, more independent lives.

It is important to give where we can, get involved, and make a difference to those who need it most. Thank you for helping to support community causes along with us throughout the year. You have truly made an impact.

 Some 2018 highlights include:

  • Started Financial Friday events at the Utica Children’s Museum, and provided financial education for 6,300 students in 77 schools

  • Participated in #GivingTuesday providing an additional $7,000 in funding to local, employee choice charities

  • Matched employee funding to the United Way of Greater Utica, giving over $6,000 to support vital community needs

  • Raised funds for and awareness of The American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery Program and the American Red Cross’s Sound the Alarm event fueling needed participation

  • Helped Kids Oneida provide Thanksgiving meals for 1,000 families and holiday needs for 10 families, including 30 children

  • Joined the NYS Mentoring program

  • Supported economic development in the greater Utica, Rome, Herkimer and surrounding areas

  • Fundraised and participated in multiple charitable walks

  • Supported our Veterans through Flags for Heroes

  • Worked with the Fibonacci Foundation to support STEAM learning for area youth

  • Supported multiple local humane societies

  • Purchased gym equipment for several local schools to help get and keep our kids healthy, in cooperation with the American Heart Association’s Get Moving campaign

  • Supported the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s educational outreach and prevention initiatives

  • Purchased iPads for the Tilton School at the House of the Good Shepherd, and donated blankets to children in need

  • Helped to finance and sponsor the Compassion Coalition’s new Bargain Grocery facility

  • Helped to send visually impaired children to a special ability summer camp

  • Supported many student and semi-professional athletic training programs

  • Aided in youth scholarship programs
     

Financial Friday at the Children’s Museum

August 17, 2018

Young boy learning the importance of a dollar

It’s Never Too Early to Start Your Child’s Financial Education

On Friday August 24th at the Utica Children’s Museum, we will be hosting a fun filled financial event, where we’ll be teaching kids about the value of a dollar. This interactive financial literacy program is a great way to show children the importance of money, where it comes from and the value it holds. 

Kids will have the opportunity to speak with First Source representatives, ask questions, earn their own “paycheck” and decide how best to save, spend, and even donate their money to community causes in the First Source Kid’s Branch, located on the first floor of the museum. Two separate sessions are available for families that are interested in signing their children up for the event. 

We are proud to be able to partner with the Children’s Museum in educating our children about the importance of developing good financial habits.

Sign up

Opening a New Branch: Child’s Play at Utica Children’s Museum

July 1, 2016

Children's Museum

We’ll be opening a new “branch” soon: a play credit union for kids who visit the Utica Children’s Museum in Utica. Stan Kocyba, our Facilities Manager, will be creating a new financially-focused learning and play space for inquisitive young minds. Stan is in charge of our properties decisions, normally making the important calls on land and buildings, maintenance, and upgrades. This time, he’ll be thinking a bit smaller.

“We are taking two existing spaces, each 8 feet by 8 feet, and combining them into one larger space for our needs,” Stan said, as demolition started at the museum. “An old dentist office area and bank area will become the new credit union area. There was no existing technology installed, and we wanted kids to experience that, so we’ll be adding some interactive technology.”

The new space will be larger, and more interactive inside and out. The proposed design would give children a space with a play ATM, teller window with 2-way drawer, pneumatic tube system, live camera with monitor, loan area, vault, and a large erasable check.

While a good bit of general building design and construction skills are needed, creating a space like this for young people involves additional challenges. We always consider safety first, and the structure will be built to child scale. Our staff may be called in to help with maintenance of the site as well, so ease of access will be considered. Stan laughs, adding, “Kids can be a bit destructive, so our ‘functioning’ mini credit union branch will have to be built to withstand that.”

“Dramatic play is the foundation of our Exploration Station, and we‎ are so excited to welcome First Source as a community partner,” said Elizabeth Brando, the Utica Children’s Museum Executive Director.

In addition to Stan Kocyba and Elizabeth Brando, our team includes a graphic designer (for branding, wall design, and decals), and a community relations specialist. Other First Source volunteers will help with the painting. The entire project is projected to be finished in a few weeks.

“It’s fun to build for kids,” Stan says. “To know they’ll use and enjoy it. I like that they’ll be learning and playing. It makes you feel good. I have a son, and I like to build and create for him. I truly enjoy projects like this.”

Stan’s last kids’ project was a handicapped-accessible tree house outside of Rochester, for children of all abilities to enjoy playing in the trees. This one is not nearly as big a project, but he looks forward to the joy it will bring to museum visitors.

Posted in: Blog, Posts

LMV Day 7: Stay True to Yourself

March 1, 2016

Brenda Rogowski at the February LMV Meeting
Our February LMV program was centered around “Media & Promotion Day”. Once again, we were fortunate to engage with many different community leaders.

Kevin Crosley, Executive Director of the Herkimer ARC, started us off. He delivered an empowering message of how important it is to collaborate and think outside the box. He runs a non-profit organization but has found ways to partner with other non-profits, as well as for-profit businesses, to further the goals of his organization. He has been able to create networking, job, and fundraising opportunities through this approach.

In concert, our Leadership Lesson was all about fostering collaboration and strengthening others to act, through building a climate of trust.

We also heard from UC Men’s Hockey Coach Gary Heenan. We learned how important it is to believe in yourself and your idea, especially when you are building it from the ground up. Gary showed that you have to build the “brand of you”. Once people buy into that, see and feel your authenticity, they are more apt to be willing to listen to and support your ideas and goals. Once you have established yourself, you no longer have to start with selling you. You can jump into your concept more quickly. Never underestimate the power of connections. The smallest gesture can have a rippling effect, with a far larger reach than you initially thought.

Ryan Miller of the ThINCubator taught us about leveraging social media to gain support, and how quickly you can connect to pretty much anyone, anywhere in the world. The old “gatekeeper” structure is being broken down by social media. You can find yourself only 2-3 connections away from a CEO you may never have been able to access in the past.

The day was very inspiring for me. I was moved by the idea of putting yourself out there, and making yourself accessible for collaboration. You have to be willing to trust and extend your hand first, and then they will in turn begin to trust you when you exhibit integrity and consistency. Trust others and earn their trust in return. Know yourself. Stay true to yourself. Trust others. Invite others to share in a vision, and it will lead to success and support. All employees are the voice of their company. You are your biggest cheerleader. Get your story heard.

A smaller takeaway, but also important, was a brainstorming exercise on ways to motivate, thank, reward, and recognize people in ways other than just monetarily. We completed an exercise that challenged us to find ways to do this for under $25.

Children’s Museum Update:

We traveled to the Ithaca Community Garden for inspiration, and came back with some amazing ideas for the space we will be creating at the Children’s Museum. They designed interactive areas to feed the senses and promote imaginative free play. We’re now meeting with the Children’s Museum to present our creative thoughts on the space, and we’ll also be engaging with a local landscape architect regarding plan implementation and cost.

– Brenda Rogowski, Loan and Deposit Operations Manager, LMV Participant

Posted in: Blog, Posts

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