Posts Tagged 'community'

Community support: a sense of duty

Brad Flory at the Jackson Citizen Patriot:

Founded in 1950 as the Jackson Co-Op Federal Credit Union, American 1 directly organizes and finances 11 community events each year in Jackson — including the Women’s Expo, the Kids’ Fest and the Teen Idol competition — with all proceeds going to local charities.

The company also gives financial support to many other community events and charities. It is largely responsible for reviving Jackson’s annual Rose Parade, and it gave the Jackson County Fair a much-needed financial boost by purchasing naming rights to the American 1 Fair Events Center.

We’re glad that Flory pointed out the other financial institutions around town that are doing their part to make Jackson a better place, too.

With so much bad news lately, it’s nice to hear about some home-grown businesses that are giving back, doing fun things, and doing it all out of what Flory calls a “sense of duty.”

Busy weekend in Jackson

Rose Parade - Follow me

Summer is, typically, a busy season for American 1. We host a bunch of summer community events – and 2010 is no different.

But this weekend is especially busy: we have both our Summer Sales Event on Friday and Saturday and the Rose Parade on Sunday.

Now that’s a crazy weekend.

At the sale, we invited dependable local dealerships to bring 200 of their best used vehicles on Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5 at the Sears parking lot in Jackson. Just in time to kick off your summer fun season.

The Rose Festival activities start on Saturday, but we’re proud of the Rose Parade on Sunday, June 6 starting at 1 p.m. in downtown Jackson. The parade winds its way down Greenwood Ave. and Fourth St. to Ella Sharp Park, where we kick off summer with the Party in the Park. The whole weekend is a celebration of Jackson, and a neat way to see local businesses and organizations show their creative side with all the floats.

If you’re in town this weekend, join us at both events!

What ‘local’ really means to us

Does the bank support community events or do they just pocket the money they earn? Do they have really good customer service or is it usually easier to just go use an ATM?

Most of the benefit of buying local comes from the fact that many local shops are involved with supporting the communities they serve…If the local bank doesn’t provide any value for being local – meaning they just scoop away money out of the community – I don’t value them any higher than any other bank. It becomes just a pure rate comparison.

Here, in an excerpt from The Simple Dollar, is American 1 in a nutshell.

As a not-for-profit credit union, we’re obligated to return our “profits” back to our members and our community. So while other financial institutions may keep the fees they charge you, we turn around and invest them in community events all year long.

That’s what being a “local” financial institution really means: giving back to the communities we serve.

American 1 gives $19,000 in scholarships

American 1 scholarship winners

We were proud to hand out 19 $1,000 scholarships to deserving, altruistic high school graduates yesterday.

These students embody what it means to give back to the community in a selfless way, and we salute all the winners from the counties that American 1 serves.

The 2009 Community Involvement Award winners are:

  • Samantha Allen (Leslie High School)
  • Samuel Eder (Lumen Christi High School)
  • Veronica Clayton (Homer High School)
  • Lindsay Youngren (Columbia Central High School)
  • Dylan Combs (Hanover-Horton High School)
  • Cyle Rigotzke (Hanover-Horton High School)
  • Ashley Clemons-Sanford (Napoleon High School)
  • Robert Cooley (Hillsdale High School)
  • Julie Lenardson (Western High School)
  • Amanda Weaver (Marshall High School)
  • Janelle Fraley (Bellevue High School)
  • Elizabeth Hayes (Lumen Christi High School)
  • Andrea Farmer (Springport High School)
  • Brian Edwards II (Homer High School)
  • Kylie Boehlke (Concord High School)
  • Rico Bailey (Battle Creek Central High School)
  • Robin Kocher (Lumen Christi High School)
  • Crystal Kotowicz (Michigan Center High School)
  • Amanda Bittle (Jonesville High School)

Congratulations, and thanks to Sam, Dylan, Brian, Julie, Andrea, Samantha, Crystal, Amanda, Robin, and Kylie (above) for attending our scholarship banquet yesterday morning.

Stay tuned next January for another opportunity to apply for our community involvement scholarship. In the meantime, give back to your community in ways that mean something to you.

GreenBack group for August: Recycling Jackson



Our first month of the GreenBack membership drive has ended, and the first group to benefit from new American 1 members is Recycling Jackson.

Recycling Jackson is a local recycling advocacy group focusing on raising awareness of proper waste management and educating Jackson residents about the benefits of recycling. The group is made up of a volunteer board of directors, an education and outreach coordinator, and several staff members that work at RJ’s recycling drop-off site on Monroe St. behind Home Depot.

Recycling Jackson was instrumental in getting the free drop-off stations installed throughout the county, and today is raising awareness about electronics waste (e-waste) recycling through community e-waste drives in partnership with Sam’s Club.

Recycling Jackson thrives on its membership base, who pay dues, as well as grants and donations it gets at e-waste drives.

Membership in Recycling Jackson costs $15 a year, which gets you their quarterly newsletter and free usage of their Monroe St. drop-off site – open the first and third Saturdays of every month.

The group manages a blog (just like us!) for updates and education, and a map of county recycling drop-off sites. They welcome volunteers, and the board meets the third Monday of every month at 5:30 p.m. at the Jackson County Health Department. You can e-mail them (recyclingjackson [at] yahoo [.] com) for more information.

We had 98 members referred to American 1 in the month of August, which means Recycling Jackson will receive a $200 donation on behalf of the credit union.

Thanks for making this donation possible, and remember – the more members you refer, the better your chances of winning a $500 gas card, and the more we can give away to local green groups fighting the good fight. September’s GreenBack group will be the Dahlem Center, so stay tuned to learn more about them.

Commercialized: check us out on Comcast



Have you seen our commercial on Comcast cable? This one is about our community involvement, highlighting all the fun events we organize.


Frugal tactics to save money this summer

Trent over at the Simple Dollar blog always has great personal finance tips to share. Check out his “Eight Little Frugal Tactics I’ve Learned This Summer” for some pointers on how to not spend a bunch of money, but still have a good time, during these warmer months.

Here’s one we can identify with:

Community festivals can be a very cheap way to spend a summer weekend, particularly ones near your home or ones that line up well with other planned summer trips. Just take along a sack lunch, watch a parade and the other activities (or even participate), and even sample some of the local fare by buying one and sharing it with the rest of your group. Even better, you can participate in events that push you a bit outside your comfort zone and let you try something a bit different than usual.

Great idea, Trent. In fact, we’ll give you a few ideas on some fun, free, family-focused activities this summer. His other tips include no-brainers like growing a garden, using scrap paper for kindling, and actually getting to know your neighbors. Imagine that.


Got water? Our water bottles explained.

American 1\'s customized water bottles

Everyone loves our water.

They love it so much, in fact, that we found out we gave away about 60,000 bottles in less than a year. From late last summer, when we introduced the new label design (above) to now, 60,000 water bottles have been taken and consumed. Amazing.

Why does American 1 do it? For one, it’s a great giveaway to charity golf events and school carnivals. We get tons of requests from non-profits to donate giveaways at community activities, and what could be better than a bottle of water?

We also use our bottled water to raise money for groups that helps us out during events like Kids’ Fest. A group from Hanover-Horton High School ran our concession stands, selling our bottled water for $0.25 – and all the money they raised was donated back to their organization.

If you’re lucky enough to come in during one of our Home Office popcorn Fridays, you can usually snag a bottle to wash down the popcorn. We also give bottles away at the myriad other activities we have going on. The stuff is popular.

The Water Store here in Jackson puries, bottles, and labels the water for us, and the water tastes great.

It must, if we’ve gone through 2,500 cases already.

Fair manager optimistic about Event Center partnership

American 1 president/CEO Dave Puckett and fair manager Steve Thelen

With the “shop local” movement in full swing, Jackson County Fair Manager Steve Thelen thinks a local “have fun” movement should accompany it, especially with high-quality venues and entertainment outlets “right down the street.”

“Folks can revisit what they have locally,” Thelen says. “This community has tons of opportunities.”

Thelen is optimistic about American 1’s sponsorship of the new American 1 Event Center at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. The partnership, he says, will ensure a community cornerstone will stay functional and operational. This after American 1 pledged $112,500 over ten years for the naming rights and to help keep the facility maintained.

“This is a way, through the partnership with American 1, to insure the Event Center’s financial stability,” Thelen says. “The light and fuel bills aren’t going down anytime soon. We have to make sure we can cover our base costs so we can provide local entertainment.”

Providing local entertainment is what the American 1 Event Center can do best. Continue reading ‘Fair manager optimistic about Event Center partnership’

‘Community Booster’ and more from the CitPat

We’ve received a bit of attention from the Jackson Citizen Patriot this past week.

In case you missed it, here are the articles that have featured American 1 and our role in the community. We appreciate the attention, but ultimately it’s what we’ve always done.


Look for my talk with Steve Thelen, manager at the Jackson County Fairgrounds, early next week.



American 1 Federal Credit Union