Classroom Cash, a program put together by local community partner TwinStar Credit Union, supports local educators and their students by providing financial assistance for items that will enrich and enhance the school experience.
According to Business Development Director Tony Ruestig, “Since 2004, TwinStar has distributed over $35,000 in Classroom Cash grants to area teachers,” including the most recent grants to 14 educators right here in SW Washington. Teachers from Hathaway, Union Ridge, Hearthwood, Tukes Valley, Marrion, Sunset, and Burnt Bridge Elementary Schools; Hosanna Christian School, and Alki Middle School all received Classroom Cash to use as needed.
Melissa Anderholt, a teacher at Alki Middle School, was one of this year’s recipients. “It was really easy to apply for the Classroom Cash,” Melissa explained, “I had to submit an online application with some of the things I would hope to get for my classroom. I heard sometime later that it was awarded to me and Tony from TwinStar came to my school and delivered it.” Teachers often use the grant funds for classroom enhancements such as calculators, software, books, musical instruments, classroom supplies, games and more. According to Tony, “Some teachers pool their Classroom Cash together for fields trips to OMSI or the Bonneville Resource Center.”
TwinStar Credit Union has been a supporter of education since its founding in 1937. Known in those years as Thurston County Teacher’s Credit Union it was originally started for teachers, by teachers and operated that way for many years. Though the name has changed and eligibility for membership has expanded, supporting students and educators has always been a significant part of the work they do in and for the communities they serve.
A not-for-profit, TwinStar Credit Union is a member-owned financial institution; their commitment to support educators, students, and the community is demonstrated in many ways. In addition, to the Classroom Cash grants, they fund other scholarships that credit union members can apply for. TwinStar provides financial education for students as well. They also offer free one-hour Financial Fitness presentations for students K-12. Financial Education Specialist Amanda Stevens visits children and young adults in the classroom, giving over 200 presentations a year to local schools and groups. Educators do not need to be members of TwinStar Credit Union to request a presentation for their class.
Education is important to TwinStar Credit Union for many reasons because, as Tony mentions, “Education is something everyone needs to attain financial literacy.” Through a good education, becoming financially literate enables people to make informed and responsible decisions when it comes to spending, saving, and investing.