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.
On a Tuesday afternoon, students in the Cornell Cooperative Extension's directed SIFE (Students with Interrupted Formal Education) program at Belle Sherman Elementary can be found hard at work learning about money and getting hands-on banking experience depositing money into their Student Credit Union accounts at Alternatives. The students, all refugees from Burma, range in age from 2nd to 5th grade.
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