“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford
At Golden 1 Credit Union, we are committed to sharing the credit union difference, and we know that it goes beyond brick and mortar. At our core, we are about people helping people and doing right by our members. For more than 85 years, our story has been centered on hard-working people gaining financial strength and becoming “Stronger Together.” We started in California’s state capital in 1933 and today stand as one of the nation’s largest credit unions with more than 1 million members and more than $12 billion in assets. As we have grown, our philosophy has remained steadfast. We are more than a financial services provider. We are a strong, integral partner to everyone we serve – from employees to communities to members. By investing in California, Golden 1 will continue to help shape its future through our core values of service excellence, respect, integrity, and reliability.
Golden 1 prioritizes a company culture of caring and serving with pride. We look to our employees as stakeholders in our success. We engage employees by offering tools they need to be successful, both as Golden 1 employees and in everyday life. Not only do we offer a competitive benefits package, we also offer wellness programs for health and finances and regular opportunities for our employees to volunteer and donate to our communities. For example, we support employees’ participation in charitable fun runs and walks and employee-led fundraising drives for local nonprofits. In addition, each year we invest nearly $60,000 in our employees through our tuition reimbursement program. We also annually offer dependents of Golden 1 employees the chance to apply for academic college scholarships, ranging from $1,000 to $20,000.
To enhance the quality of life in the communities we serve, Golden 1 supports nonprofit organizations across California. Since its inception in 2014, our Community Grant Program has collaborated with 56 nonprofits in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, providing more than $2.6 million in funding. These grants fund programs that address the needs of children and young adults in two categories: reading literacy and transition-age foster youth. Golden 1 also invites community organizations to experience Sacramento’s newest sports and entertainment venue, Golden 1 Center. We provide them with a VIP experience, complete with tickets and refreshments, for all the great work they do. We launched our Food Bank Donation Program six years ago. Since 2011, Golden 1 has donated more than $300,000 to California food banks that provide food to individuals and families in need.
Our “Stronger Together” approach enriches the lives of our members. We place our members at the center of everything we do, helping hard-working people reach their goals. One way we help our members achieve their financial dreams is through our online Financial Wellness Portal. The Portal offers a suite of instructor-led and self-paced interactive multimedia content to empower members to achieve their financial goals. This comprehensive program is tailored for all learning styles. Topics range from Home Buying 101 to How to Protect Yourself from ID Theft to Budgeting for College. We work together to make sure all our members have the tools they need to live their best lives at every step.
Golden 1 also invests in California’s future leaders with our annual renewable scholarship program for members and their dependents attending colleges in California. Students receive awards based on their academic achievements, community involvement, extracurricular activities, and education and career goals. Since the program began in 2013, Golden 1 has awarded nearly $2.5 million in total scholarship funding.
Another avenue for Golden 1’s community support for members is through our Community Emergency Relief Program. Ongoing major natural disasters in California continue to disrupt the lives of our employees and members. It is our job as a caring and committed partner and leader to respond and help our members and employees weather these difficult times. The Community Emergency Relief Program offers payment options on existing loans and provides a short-term loan, up to $5,000, to help with expenses associated with the unexpected hardship related to a natural disaster. One of Golden 1’s most significant community investments to date is our partnership with Wind Youth Services, a service provider focusing on runaway, homeless and street youth in Sacramento County, to address the unique challenges of homeless youth. In 2017, Golden 1 pledged $1 million over three years to fund the development of a youth center for homeless young people across the region. The new Wind Youth Center serves as a 24-hour crisis support center for young people between the ages of 12-24, and offers respite services, food, and showers. The Center officially opened its doors in October 2018.
Golden 1’s significant investment in youth homelessness is another example of our commitment to giving back to communities and organizations that make a positive impact on people throughout California. We carefully researched youth homelessness in our region and chose to support this project because it has the potential to impact homeless youth and young adults in a material and meaningful way.
Golden 1’s “Stronger Together” philosophy is a simple, memorable way to sum up what we want people to know about our credit union. We work around the clock to ensure that Golden 1 strengthens employees, diverse communities, and our members. It is a constant focus to uplift Californians so they can pave the way for our golden future. By coming together, keeping together, and working together, success has followed. Our membership has grown to more than one million members and our assets have reached $12.13 billion, which ranks Golden 1 as one of the largest credit unions in the United States. As the credit union grows and word of the credit union difference spreads, our employees, members, and our communities become “Stronger Together.”
Erica Taylor is Vice President, Communications and Community Relations at The Golden 1 Credit Union