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| 6 min read

What is a Charitable Donation Account?

Are you a credit union executive looking for an efficient and effective way to support your charitable giving strategies? A Charitable Donation Account (CDA) is an investment account that grants credit unions special investment capabilities while supporting their donations to foundations and charities.

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| 5 min read

Charitable Donation Accounts: Community Impact

Charitable Donation Accounts (CDAs) give credit unions the opportunity to give back to the very communities they serve. With the goal of better fulfilling its charitable mission nationwide, Firefighters First Credit Union (FFCU) established a charitable donation account with Members Trust Company in 2018. Since then, Firefighters First has been able to fund its foundation through investment returns, rather than operating income — by making more with their charitable donation account, they have been able to give back more to communities.

In 1935, a group of firefighters established Firefighters First Credit Union to serve firefighters and their families through quality service. Firefighters First has used its charitable donation account’s investment returns to fund the Fire Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support and financial assistance to firefighters, volunteer firefighters, and families in need.

Every year, the Fire Family Foundation provides grants, funds, and scholarships to individuals and fire charities across the country.

Through the Firefighter Relief Fund, the Foundation provides monthly grants for medical care, financial assistance, and other resources. In the summer of 2020, the Foundation partnered with the New Mexico Fire Protection Grant Council to donate 500 infrared thermometers. The donation allowed firefighters and paramedics to quickly assess their potential risk for COVID-19 exposure while responding to emergencies.

“Our firefighters were experiencing high call volumes that placed members at increased risk of exposure to the virus,” said Robert E. Larrañaga, Chairperson of the New Mexico Fire Protection Grant Council. “We express sincere gratitude to the Fire Family Foundation for their efforts in protecting our firefighters.”

One of the biggest programs of the Foundation, the Fire Family Scholarship Fund, awards $50,000 in scholarships to biological or adopted children of firefighters. The Foundation selects ten students annually based on merit, including GPA, past achievements, community involvement, and an application essay.

In 2019, the Fire Family Foundation launched its disaster relief program to provide immediate relief to the emergency needs of firefighters in federally declared disaster areas. Through this program, firefighters impacted by natural or man-made disasters, such as wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods, are eligible to receive disaster relief kits. Each kit includes a $250 Visa gift card, a fleece blanket, hand sanitizer, notebook and pen set, and a reusable toiletry bag filled with essentials. The first kits were sent in 2020 to firefighters battling the record-setting wildfires in Northern California.

“Firefighters First established this CDA investment for the purpose of having it fund the Foundation, instead of a direct expense every year.  This is the spirit of what a charitable donation account is permitted to do.  Normally, credit unions can’t invest in certain securities, but through a CDA, we can get a higher return, and thereby help fund the foundation.” – Richard Dillion, Chief Financial Officer at Firefighters First Credit Union.

By making more through charitable donation accounts, credit unions give back more. For more information about Charitable Donation Accounts, please contact Jason Ritzenthaler at (813) 386-8705 or jason.ritzenthaler@memberstrust.com.

Trust and Investment products are not federally insured, are not obligations of or guaranteed by the credit union or any affiliated entity, involve investment risks, including the possible loss of principal. This is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or tax advice regarding your situation. For legal or tax advice, please consult your attorney and/or accountant.

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