As a Corporate Charitable Partner, CommunityAmerica Credit Union has generously supported Starlight’s Blue Star Awards Program for the past two years, and countless other charitable organizations. We recently sat down with Kathryn Harvel, Executive Director of the CommunityAmerica Foundation, to discuss their philanthropic approach.
How would you describe the values that guide CommunityAmerica Credit Union’s approach to business and community relations?
CommunityAmerica Credit Union is guided by the credit union philosophy of “people helping people.” We are a “forever local” financial institution with over 75 years of delivering a full array of personal and business banking products and services to our members. Because we are a member-owned, not-for-profit credit union, we return our profit to those who bank with us in many ways—like better rates, lower fees and our Profit Payout program. In 2021 our members received $8.4 million in Profit Payout.
What inspired CommunityAmerica to start a charitable giving program? Why is it important for local businesses to support area non-profits?
We are motivated by our desire to make a positive and lasting impact in the Kansas City community. Our philanthropy supports local organizations in four key areas: financial literacy and stability; education and reading literacy; health and well-being; and strengthening communities, which includes the arts. Non-profit organizations make a huge impact in delivering programs and services that ensure people have the needed support and that make Kansas City a great place to live and work. Savvy business leaders recognize that investments in our non-profit community and the arts are a good investment for Kansas City’s future.
Why do you choose to support Starlight’s Blue Star Awards Program?
CommunityAmerica considers Starlight to be a true gem and a unique asset in our community. The opportunity to support Starlight and area high school students pursuing their passion for the arts was just a winning combination for us. And this fits into our strategic efforts to support young adults - helping educate them on the financial basics so they are armed with the information they need to create sound financial futures. We hope that our sponsorship will motivate Blue Star students and families to check us out and to take advantage of the young adult products and services we offer, which includes free College and Career planning services.
What kind of impact do you feel Starlight’s programs like the Blue Star Awards have on the Kansas City community, and why does that matter to CommunityAmerica as a business leader?
We applaud Starlight Theatre’s desire to recognize and support the rising stars of our community. But we also love that the Blue Star Awards honors the work and dedication of those working behind the scenes in set design, lighting, costuming, etc. Like the Blue Star Awards, CommunityAmerica supports and recognizes our employees for the great things they do, inside and outside of the organization. We hope that some of these young adults will someday be lending their talents as business leaders at CommunityAmerica.
In what ways do you encourage your employees to engage in philanthropic activities – through Starlight and its programs or other charitable organizations and initiatives in the area?
CommunityAmerica supports our employees in multiple ways. First, we provide 16 paid hours annually for employees to volunteer at local nonprofits that are meaningful to them. We also work with area nonprofits to identify group volunteer projects where our employees can come together as teams to make a positive impact. Finally, through CommunityAmerica Foundation, we provide a matching gift program matching dollar for dollar up to $250 annually per employee. We believe that the philanthropic support we extend to employees directly correlates to employee satisfaction and is part of the reason we have been named as a “Best Place to Work” in Kansas City.
Thanks for your continued support of Starlight and future generations of performing artists!