Alternatives Impact is the 501(c)3 affiliate of Alternatives Federal Credit Union. We raise funds to support community programs and a shared mission: To build wealth and create economic opportunity for underserved people and communities. Previously, these programs were primarily supported by federal and state grants, which are dwindling or disappearing.
To meet the growing demand for these programs in Tompkins County, New York, we actively seek support from individuals, corporate and family foundations, businesses, and government agencies.
The Free Tax Preparation Program (VITA): free service where volunteers help eligible tax filers receive their maximum available tax credit. 1,833 tax filers served by 61 volunteers; $3.8 million returned to Tompkins County.
Individual Development Accounts (IDAs): matched savings accounts and financial education that help people build assets (higher education, first home, small business). 90 new accounts open; 40 accounts closed to purchase first home, for microenterprise, or for higher education.
MoneyWise: Seven-week course provides adults with tools to confront and conquer personal financial challenges. Four sessions held, 77 MoneyWise graduates.
Student Credit Union: financial education and savings program for school-aged children and youth in Tompkins County.
561 students saving weekly in 11 Tompkins County schools (public, private, home school) served by 74 volunteers.
The Bill Myers Internship: opportunity for one high school student, selected each year, to gain hands-on work experience at Alternatives Federal Credit Union.
My IDA [Individual Development Account] experience was just incredible. I saved a few bucks every week and after a year, I had a savings account with $3,000 in it! And I'm glad that the MoneyWise class was required, because it really helped me develop a healthier relationship with money. So many of the skills I learned in class seemed so obvious, but I never thought/knew how to do them until we went over them in class. For example, tracking my spending made a HUGE difference in how I now spend money. Also, the exercises in the beginning when we explored our relationships with money - I discovered I'm a carefree, spirited, impulsive spender. It helps to put a name on things.
After accruing thousands of dollars in debt from student loans from when I was an undergraduate, I was determined to do all I could to stay out of debt for when I continued my education. The IDA really helped. I feel so much better prepared to build equity and save for my future. Thanks, Alternatives!
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