BALTIMORE (November 15, 2022) — In October 2020, in order to encourage acts of kindness amid the loneliness and lack of connection being felt in communities during COVID-19, the $5.2 billion, Linthicum, Md.-based SECU turned a day it had set aside for employee volunteering into a month-long campaign called Kindness Connects. The credit union distributed Kindness Kits to employees, members, partners and the community – which included items that could be used to spread kindness, such as postcards, flower seeds and sidewalk chalk – and made donations to charities for every Kindness Kit requested. Participants entered a raffle while logging their acts of kindness online, and in addition, SECU hosted a company-wide day of kindness and accepted in-branch donations.
It’s safe to say the kindness has been infectious, because the campaign has not only continued, but grown exponentially, according to an announcement from the credit union. As part of its third annual Kindness Connects campaign in October 2022, SECU beat its goal of 250,000 acts of kindness (one for every SECU member) with more than 280,000 completed acts. This represented more than triple the 70,000 acts of kindness completed in 2021 (https://www.cutimes.com/2022/01/18/credit-unions-sharpen-giving-strategies/) and a 4,000% increase from the number completed in the campaign’s first year.
“Since launching our first Kindness Campaign three years ago, we have seen the transformative impact that kindness can have on our communities,” said Becky Smith, EVP and chief strategy and growth officer for SECU and president of the SECU MD Foundation, the credit union’s charitable arm. “Although often unseen or uncelebrated, kindness is what brings us together and can have a long-lasting impact.”
Results of the credit union’s 2022 Kindness Connects campaign included the following:
- The distribution of 4,000 item- and idea-filled Kindness Kits in SECU branches and by mail to 12 U.S. states and one international country. Virtual Kindness Kits were also available.
- A $5 donation to each of SECU’s key charity partners, Special Olympics Maryland and the Kennedy Krieger Institute, for each Kindness Kit requested, for a total of $25,000 donated to each charity.
- A company-wide Day of Kindness on Oct. 10, when about 400 SECU employees gathered at SECU Arena at Towson University in Towson, Md., to perform 100,000 acts of kindness with 15 nonprofit partners. Volunteers’ activities included creating blankets for hospital patients, packing healthy snacks for high-poverty children and making dog toys for animal shelters.
- A “Grand Act of Kindness,” which entailed surprising shoppers at a local grocery store with free groceries.
- In-kind donation collections at SECU branches, totaling $26,000 in needed supplies for local communities, organizations and nonprofits. Donations included school and clothing items for youth, care packages for veterans and non-perishable foods for food banks.
- Partnerships with local schools, which participated in the initiative as an opportunity to teach students the importance of kindness and the profound impact it can have.
- More than $10,000 raised in support of the SECU MD Foundation and initiatives that support education, health and wellness, and community development.
- Support for more than 70 non-profits in Maryland, and employee volunteer time totaling nearly 3,000 hours.
Those interested in getting involved with SECU’s annual Kindness campaign can learn more at secukindness.org.