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Three core values guide the work we do at Navy Federal. One of those is Championing Community. For us, that means fostering financial health and well-being for the military, veterans and their families. It also means improving outcomes in our local communities. Giving back to the areas where we live and serve through volunteerism is a part of who we are at our core.

Operation: Give Back

I recently sat down with Jennifer McFarren, our manager of community and education outreach, to hear how we’re living up to this value. She shared the programs we have to empower team members to give back, starting with the launch of Operation: Give Back. This program provides employees with eight hours of paid leave to volunteer with any organization they choose. As a result, they can take time off during the week to support causes they care about.

The pandemic made volunteering in person challenging. However, our employees got creative with virtual and socially distant opportunities. They read stories to children via Zoom, created care packages for front-line responders, wrote letters of gratitude to servicemembers and more. During a time when it was needed most, our employees continued to give back.

As a company, we recognize every employee’s situation is different. Some may want to support an organization financially, and others may feel more comfortable giving their time. “We provide our employees with resources to give back in a way that works for them,” said Jennifer. “They have the autonomy to decide to give back via time, treasure, talent or a combination of the three.”

Volunteer of the Quarter Award

We want to encourage our team members to live up to this core value. As part of that effort, we recently debuted our Volunteer of the Quarter award. This award recognizes one exceptional employee volunteer each quarter. Their prize? A $1,000 donation to the organization of their choice.

Donald Belcher, a supervisor on our Training team, earned the title for the first quarter of 2021. For him, it was an easy choice deciding what organization would receive the $1,000 donation: Toys for Tots. Donald has proudly championed their work throughout his Marine and Navy Federal careers.

“I’m overjoyed to receive this award. It means so much to be part of an organization that allows me to do what I love,” Donald said. “I can’t explain how rewarding it is to bring joy through Toys for Tots to those who are facing a hard time. Community service is an important part of striking balances in my life.”

In addition to his work with Toys for Tots, Donald serves as a School Partnership Program volunteer. As part of Classroom Learning, he presents professional and financial education courses to local students. Last year, in support of our annual holiday giving program Project Neighbors, he adopted a family of 17. Through his generosity, each received a gift as well as a meal to share.

Partner Opportunities

Our School Partnership Program is one of a few programs focused on driving volunteerism through connections with outside organizations. “We also have a Community Service Champion Council. This group consists of 30 volunteers from across the organization that support a number of volunteer efforts throughout the year,” shared Jennifer.

“Our Greening Up! Council is another one of these programs. It focuses on making our campuses more sustainable while also offering ways for our employees to support those same efforts in their own communities.”

We’re proud of all the ways our team members give back. As a credit union, serving our members and the community is at the core of who we are. Our team members take that passion to another level, making an important impact for others in the world. We remain focused on continuing to grow those efforts.

Author Bio: Casey Pelfrey has been with Navy Federal since May 2018 and serves as a corporate communications strategist. In her role, she supports the media relations and communications strategy for security, digital, HR and CSR. In addition to those functions, she manages corporate philanthropy and Navy Federal’s relationships with non-profit partners.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.