The 2021 Polar Plunge has officially wrapped up and has added yet another successful fundraising event for Special Olympics Minnesota!
For this year’s Special Olympics Minnesota Polar Plunge, things looked a little different compared to previous years. Plungers had two options in how to participate: in-person or virtually. Not only did employees jump into freezing bodies of water, they also recorded themselves having freezing water dumped on them or sliding down a slip and slide. Throughout Minnesota, there were more than 127 Plungers from 19 different teams who participated either in-person or virtually.
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union and its employees raised more than $40,000 for this year’s fundraiser. Affinity Plus also spurred an additional $80,000 raised by members and communities by making a $50 donation to Plungers who registered between April 1st and April 16th, 2021. More than 500 people signed up during this kick-start donation and plunged in-person or virtually.
Special Olympics Minnesota holds the Polar Plunge annually and it is their largest fundraiser of the year. The money raised through participation and donations goes to training, programming, and services for more than 8,100 athletes in the state of Minnesota. The mission of Special Olympics Minnesota is for people with intellectual disabilities to transform themselves, their communities, and the world through athletic, health, and leadership programs.
"We are proud to once again partner with Special Olympics Minnesota for the Polar Plunge. It’s incredible to see Affinity Plus employees, members, and our community come together for such a wonderful and worthwhile cause,” said Dave Larson, President and CEO of Affinity Plus, who participated in the 2021 Polar Plunge. “I am blown away by the support and willingness to give, especially given the pandemic. Whether people plunged virtually or in-person, it makes a difference. We believe everyone deserves kindness and a sense of belonging, which is why we love partnering with our friends at Special Olympics Minnesota.”
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union has proudly been Plunging for more than 10 years. Every year this fundraiser shows the tremendous heart and dedication that Affinity Plus employees, members, and communities all have for others.
Getting to Know You: Casey Krafnick
If you’ve visited our St. Cloud branch, chances are, you’ve met Casey Krafnick. Casey is a member advisor and a long-standing Affinity Plus member. She loved banking with Affinity Plus so much that she decided to join the team in 2019. Before working at Affinity Plus, she says she never thought she’d be able to have a savings account, after working paycheck to paycheck, just to get by. Casey says there was no real thought of future savings but that quickly started to change. We sat down with Casey to get to know her better and find out why she thinks Affinity Plus is one of the best places to bank (and work).
Q: Tell us a little bit more about you! We’ve been told you’re a former preschool teacher!
A: Yes! I was a preschool teacher for about five years, but knew that I had to look at my future and look for a place where I could see myself for a really long time. I came into the branch and the rest is history! I got married in October 2019 to my husband, Aksel, and I’m a proud dog Momma to Tucker, who is a pitbull mix and the sweetest rescue!
Q: What has your experience been like working at Affinity Plus?
A: I knew right from the start during training how different this company was – and in such a positive way! The camaraderie during that week-long training just builds with others, who are starting in the same boat. It’s so important to build and foster those relationships – to feel connected and to feel inspired by your peers. It was during my training where I recognized that the company wants to set you up for success and help you feel supported.
Q: The pandemic threw a bit of a wrench into working at the branch. How was the experience for you?
A: Obviously the last year has looked a little different, but I have a great team who is super supportive, even throughout changes and a global pandemic. I started in December and the following March is when COVID began. I was feeling nervous about going home and answering calls from home, as I was still a pretty fresh teammate. Even with that, I still had so many resources and everyone was willing to help find answers and support me. The kind of people who work at Affinity Plus are cut from the same cloth – they want to help people, from colleagues to members.
Q: As a member advisor, you see plenty of members each day, each with different financial goals. What would you say is your top financial tip?
A: The best way I started saving was not putting it into my checking account; I put myself on my own allowance. Not seeing the full balance in my checking was hard to get used to, but knowing the safety net was there in my savings was a nice feeling – one I wasn’t used to because I never really had a savings before. When I only saw a specific number in my account, I knew that’s’ where I had to be.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to find a place like Affinity Plus?
A: Before joining the team and while I was a member, I realized how important and nice it was that when I came into a branch, they knew my name, or they remembered something personal. I wasn’t just a number in a crowd – it’s so important to treat people like people and feel supported by a place that was managing my money and help me on the path to financial success.
Q: Why should someone join Affinity Plus?
A: I feel like people should want to be members because they want to, not because they have to. It truly is a different banking experience and when someone realizes that, they start shouting it from the rooftop. It’s so personable, and banking here is just different, in the best way possible.
Join Casey and become a member advisor. View job openings and apply online today.
What would my credit score be if I ___?
Your Free Credit Score Tool
Do you know about the Credit Score tool in your Affinity Plus mobile banking app and online banking, right on your Accounts screen? It offers free and easy access to your credit score, credit report, and daily credit monitoring for potential fraud.
And now with the new Score Simulator, it can help you even more!
Make More Informed Decisions
Use the Score Simulator to see how different scenarios might affect your credit score. See how a tweak here or there could improve or ding your overall credit health. And you can check it yourself, right in digital banking, anytime day or night. For free!
What if I _____?
You can plug all kinds of things into that question, to find how much higher (or lower) your score might go.
A college education can open doors to job opportunities, but it also comes with a hefty price tag. As a parent, you want your child to have access to the best college education possible but don’t want them to be saddled with loads of debt upon graduation.
When you have exhausted all other sources of financial aid such as scholarships, grants, and federal loans, Affinity Plus can help. Our Student Choice education solution provides your family a private student loan with your best interests in mind.
We know that determining your college funding needs may be a challenge. Don’t worry – with our private education line of credit, we’ve got you covered. Even if you’re unsure of the college you’ll be attending or the exact loan amount you may need, you can establish your private education line of credit today. Then, once your plans have been finalized, you can come back to request the exact funding you need.
You’ll find our Student Choice line of credit offers competitive rates, flexible funding and repayment options, and educational support to help your student make wise financial decisions – now and in the future.
Seminar Opportunity to Learn More
Affinity Plus is here to help wherever you might be in the planning process, including with our free seminar, "College Planning 101: How to Plan, Prepare, and Pay for College". This seminar is hosted by Affinity Plus partner Student Choice, the seminar will be held virtually through Zoom on Wednesday, June 23 at 6 p.m. CST.
Donate to Students In Need: Tech Drive Tuesdays Returns This Summer
Have some unwanted computer equipment at home, and you’re not too sure what to do with it? Tech, yeah, we could use it! Affinity Plus, KARE 11, and Minnesota Computers for Schools are partnering once again for Tech Drive Tuesday, as a way to create more digital equity and ensure all Minnesota students have access to the technology they need to learn. Computers are vital for students of all ages and together, we can help ensure everyone has access to these tools that help them succeed. We would love your help!
We are inviting you to drop off unwanted computer equipment to be re-housed and repurposed during events hosted at our branches beginning in July and running into August. Donation events will be contactless and completely outdoors.
And – your good deeds and donations will pay off! For every usable computer donated, the Affinity Plus Foundation will donate $150 toward the purchase of another repurposed computer for a student or school in your local community.
Mark your calendars! We hope to see you at one of these locations this summer.
Tuesday, July 13: Coon Rapids, Cambridge, Faribault
Tuesday, July 20: Duluth, Eagan, Grand Rapids – 2nd Ave
Tuesday, July 27: Rochester, Roseville, Winona
Tuesday, August 3: St. Paul – Lafayette, St. Cloud – Community, Mankato – Community (Madison Ave)
Tuesday, August 10: Bemidji – Hannah Ave, Brainerd Lakes, Lakeville