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.
As Alternatives Credit Union has grown and changed, our use of the Credit Path model of financial empowerment has changed as well. Originally developed by Bill Myers as a way of understanding our members' financial situations and incorporating that into our business planning, the Credit Path describes where people are situated at various points along a continuum between poverty and self-sufficiency. Our job, as a community development financial institution, is to help our members move along that continuum by empowering them to make decisions, and offering opportunities, that will move them towards financial self-sufficiency.
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