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Member Moment: Philip’s Story
Philip is an Affinity Plus member in Coon Rapids and has a smile that could light up an entire room. His kindness is equally infectious. He recently stopped by the Coon Rapids branch to spread cheer with posters (and smiles) during these challenging times with COVID-19.
Philip was a translator in Basra, Iraq, when he met Paul Braun, a member of the 43th Military Police Company of the Minnesota National Guard. Braun and Philip grew close over the next nine months. Braun promised to help bring Philip to the United States, and he did just that in 2013. Philip’s family later followed him to Minnesota in 2016.
He says Affinity Plus has helped him find this financial footing, all while making him feel like he’s part of a family.
Watch the video on Philip and to hear more of his inspiring story.
Educators & Nonprofits: We give grants.
Now more than ever, non-profit organizations and educators play a critical role in our communities. In response, the Affinity Plus Foundation is offering two grant opportunities to help them with their important work.
Cultivator Grants (for Educators)
The Cultivator Grant goes to MN schools to support educators with $2,000 toward the purchase of materials, curriculum or supplies. This award is for a new or existing program focusing on at least 1 of these things:
Community involvement or giving back
Ethics and respect
Local civic engagement
Extra credit for measurable outcomes!
Community Grants (for Organizations)
The Community Grant goes to MN 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations focused on engaging, educating and empowering their communities. Eligible organizations can receive up to $5,000 to support their efforts. All such groups are encouraged to apply, but priority consideration is given to those in communities where Affinity Plus has branches.
And just like with the Cultivator Grants, measurable outcomes increase your chances.
Want to apply for a grant?
We hope so! The Affinity Plus Foundation would love to hear about your important work, and see if we can help.
Application Deadline: May 31, 2020 Funds Awarded: By Sept. 1, 2020
Affinity Plus Partners With Second Harvest Heartland to Combat Hunger Across State Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
Hunger won’t take a break or stop due to a global pandemic. In fact, food shelves across the state have seen demand triple during the month of March. Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union recognized the need to give back by donating 30,000 meals to its partner of choice, Second Harvest Heartland. Second Harvest Heartland can leverage each dollar donated into 3 meals for hungry Minnesotans.
In addition to the financial contribution, Affinity Plus will help raise awareness for the significant growing need food banks are experiencing at this time.
Second Harvest Heartland recognizes that the need for emergency food assistance will increase as communities and the economy are impacted by the coronavirus. To help during this time of uncertainty, Second Harvest Heartland has put a plan in place to help give back to those in need across Minnesota:
Emergency food boxes. Second Harvest Heartland is providing emergency food boxes so those experiencing hunger can access needed meals while reducing their risk of exposure.
Partnering with restaurants to provide prepared meals. There is a coordinated effort to distribute meals prepared by local restaurants through Loaves and Fishes—a free public dining program with 30 locations across Minnesota.
Access to SNAP (food stamps). Second Harvest Heartland is working to ensure that everyone who is eligible for these benefits can access them.
Extra measures to keep teams and food safe.
Partnering with elected officials. Second Harvest Heartland is working to ensure every member of the community is prepared for and well fed during the outbreak.
If you’re in the position to give, Affinity Plus members can use 1,250 MyPlus Rewards™ points for a $10 charitable donation to your regional food bank. Just log in to the mobile app or online banking to check and redeem your points. Or you can find your region’s food bank by visiting the Feeding America – Minnesota website and make a direct donation.
If you’re experiencing food insecurity or looking for help during uncertain times, please visit the Feeding America – Minnesota website to see where you can find nearby emergency food shelves, prepared meals, and ongoing supplemental programs.
Protect Your Finances Through the Pandemic
Let’s face it, we are all feeling the impact of COVID-19. From temporary closings of businesses, schools and public facilities, you might be feeling anxious or stressed during these uncertain times. We’re here for you.
One of the biggest questions we continue to receive is how to protect your finances amid COVID-19. And we’re here with special ways to connect: drive thru, curbside service, digital, mobile and phone options – we can help you get through it – together. As we continue working with individuals and communities we serve, below are some of the latest tips from our personal finance experts for everyone – and some special options for those already impacted:
Already Suffering from Loss of Income
If you are already – or expect to be – financially impacted by the pandemic:
Take a look at your budget and find ways to reduce your expenses
If possible, replace some of your income by promptly filing for unemployment
Engage with other members in your household about the situation.
Proactively reach to your creditors and explain to them what is going on. Utilities, financial institutions and businesses have programs and options that can help you – some of them new since the stimulus package
Before entering any formal new agreements, make sure you understand the short- and long-term impact. In times of uncertainty like these, it might be better if you take it one month at a time.
Some special options for Affinity Plus members:
Skip-a-Payment for auto and consumer loans – with no fee
Fee Refunds* – We’re automatically refunding all late and overdraft (also called Courtesy Pay and NSF) fees issued through May 1
Minimum Balance & Other Fees* – We continue to cancel or minimize additional fees; no action needed on your part
Recovery Loan** – To help bridge your financial gap, Affinity Plus is offering a special 0% loan for up to $2,500 for current members who are affected – with no payments for six months.
Small Business Recovery Loan** – also at 0%, as well as access to new Small Business Administration programs
Reducing Financial Stress for Everyone
Prioritize your expenses and review your budget. Consider tightening your budget to make sure you have enough funds to cover your expenses. This is an especially good time to look at recurring subscriptions and payments you may have forgotten about.
Monitor your accounts to understand what is going in and out. Check them daily using Affinity Plus’s online or mobile platforms. Use our online digital banking feature. Be sure to download the most recent version of our app and test your login.
Never give out any information about your current financial standing to unfamiliar businesses soliciting you through emails, text, social media, etc. Fraudsters love times of uncertainty and look for people to let their guards down – we’re already hearing about fraudulent emails about the coming stimulus checks. Stay vigilant and recognize that many times the things that appear too good to be true really are too good to be true.
Have realistic expectations of the situation and yourself. In these uncertain times, it is easy to dwell on the things that may not be the way they used to be. Some will expect to get through it unscathed and some might, but many won’t. This isn’t a reason to give up. You will be able to get through these uncertain times – and we’re here to help. Just be real with yourself.
Know your options ahead of time – we’ve got them! Look into options that may be available for any loans you have; many are listed below.
Check your credit report. Make sure your credit reports are accurate. This way, you can identify any potentially fraudulent activity and respond to it before it damages your credit.
Affinity Plus is here to help you and we want to help. Please call us, chat with us or, use your online message center within the online banking application if you have questions or concerns about how to protect your finances.
*Standard membership terms and conditions apply. During the stated period, the above-mentioned fees will either be refunded, waived or suspended, depending on the fee type. And it will be done automatically. Affinity Plus reserves the right to discontinue the program at any time for any reason. See our complete list of fees.
**APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Subject to credit approval, and some restrictions may apply. Existing Affinity Plus membership is required. Membership must be open at least 60 days and in good standing. Payment Example: A loan for 24 months at 0.00% APR will result in an approximate monthly payment of $41.67 per $1,000 borrowed. To qualify for the Recovery Loan, you must be directly impacted by COVID-19 through loss or reduction of employment due to being employed in an affected industry (i.e. retail/restaurant/hospitality etc.). The credit union reserves the right to discontinue the product at any time, for any reason.
*** APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Subject to credit approval, and some restrictions may apply. Existing Affinity Plus business membership is required. Business membership must be open at least 60 days and in good standing. Payment Example: A loan for 24 months at 3.00% APR will result in an approximate monthly payment of $42.98 per $1,000 borrowed. To qualify for the Business Recovery Loan, your business must be an industry directly impacted by COVID-19 (retail/restaurant/hospitality, etc.), and be able to demonstrate direct and adverse effects by the COVID-19 pandemic. You must also have – or be in the application process for getting – SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance. And you must agree to pay off the Business Recovery Loan if financing is received after loan approval. The credit union reserves the right to discontinue the product at any time, for any reason.
Communities that KARE
As we continue to adjust our lives to the new realities facing our state and country, it’s important to remember that there is good happening within our communities.
Kindness matters, perhaps now more than ever, and Affinity Plus wants to support the folks who are working to make Minnesota a better place. With that in mind, Affinity Plus has partnered with KARE 11 and the Communities that KARE program.
Caring with KARE
Communities that KARE is a popular part of the KARESunrise program, running from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. During the program, we’re introduced to local nonprofits and other organizations in our state and learn about their missions.
Along with a story on the morning show, each group featured will received $1,000 from Affinity Plus to continue their good work.
The organizations and individuals to be featured in April include:
Grace Myler’s Threads for Teens which provides at-risk girls in the Twin Cities and surrounding area communities with free, brand-new clothing.
Ebenezer Chinedu-Ench, a senior with the University of Minnesota, who works with youths in afterschool programs and with the Huntly House for African American Men, promoting educational equity.
Hope Flanagan and the Dream of Wild Health, whose mission is to “restore health and well-being in the Native community by recovering knowledge of and access to healthy Indigenous foods, medicines and lifeways.”
Amira Adawe, with the BeautyWell Project, aimed at developing healthy individuals, families, and communities through education, research, empowerment, and policy and systems changes.
Do you know of an organization or individual who could benefit from being on Communities that KARE? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include Affinity Plus in the subject line to let them know you’re a member.