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.
In the spring of 2014, we learned that our minivan needed repairs in excess of it's value. We'd already been cutting back on our auto use, and were trying to walk and bike more. We'd been talking with friends and reading about cargo bikes as a car alternative. Around the same time, a new business, "Boxy Bikes" opened in Ithaca, which specializes in electric and cargo bikes. We found a model we were interested in, and approached alternatives seeking financing. Alternatives set us up with a signature loan, and a "green loan" discount on our rate. Thanks to Alternatives, we are now the happy owners of a "Yuba Mundo" Electric Cargo bike. We can get anywhere we need to go, using no gas, and creating no emissions. I can carry two passengers, or a weeks worth of groceries. The loan will be paid off in two years, and the bike could last for many more, at a fraction of the cost of an automobile.
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