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SELCO's Employee Volunteer Stories

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At SELCO, we’re continually looking for ways to strengthen our bond with the communities in which we live and work—and to find new ways to serve those communities.

With the credit union ethos, “people helping people,” in mind, SELCO launched the Employee Volunteer Program (EVP) in February. Through the program, all team members are afforded 20 paid hours each year to volunteer at nonprofits of their choice.

SELCO employees have been volunteering for years. But what this program allows is the opportunity for team members to volunteer during work hours, which opens the door to those who have difficulty giving back through boots-on-the-ground efforts due to obligations outside of work.

Seven months in, the EVP has been a big hit, as more than a quarter of employees have collectively volunteered nearly 800 hours. Employees from all 15 branches and every department have taken part in the program.

The program had momentum on its side from the initial stages with support from the highest level of the credit union.

“SELCO employees and associates bring management skills and leadership skills … that will really benefit the organizations we’re trying to help,” said SELCO CEO/President Bob Newcomb. “I think it’s an opportunity to showcase those strong skills that our associates use every day in the work they do.”

This new program carries many benefits and advantages, including team-building aspects, employees sharing their passions with all of SELCO, and an emphatic nod to our educational roots.

Strengthening Bonds

Participation in the EVP has spanned generations of employees with diverse interests and individual passions. The goal of volunteering is always to support the community; bringing employees closer together is a bonus.

In June 2019, 11 SELCO team members from various Central Oregon branches and departments joined forces to volunteer for a day at Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity. Helping to build a home near the Old Mill Branch in Bend, the SELCO crew (pictured above) installed foam-board insulation throughout the structure. Ross Quacchia, a Member Service Representative IV at the Forest Park Branch, followed suit a month later by working on a home in the Portland area for Willamette West Habitat for Humanity.

Employees from all 15 branches and every department have taken part in the program.

“Completing this job brought a sense of happiness knowing we were helping our community,” said Lena Lesmeister, a Recovery Specialist/Legal Assistant who was part of the 11-person crew in Central Oregon. “There were definitely times of frustration, but we came together as a team and conquered!”

Bringing Awareness

Wake the World Oregon

In July 2019, SELCO employees Travis White, Dealer Relations Officer in Dealer Lending, and Sarah Means, Loan Center Manager, volunteered at a Wake the World Eugene event at Fern Ridge Reservoir.

Travis White, a Dealer Relations Officer at SELCO, has been involved with a global nonprofit called Wake the World since 2016. Wake the World is a nonprofit organization of boat owners who introduce the joys of watersports to foster children. As part of Wake the World Oregon, a friend of White’s started Wake the World Eugene in 2016, and White helps out whenever he can because of “the impact it has on these kids.”

After getting so much out of this volunteerism, White paid his newfound passion forward to the rest of SELCO on the company intranet. That page has been a steady stream of SELCO employees proudly sharing their volunteering experiences. White’s posts even piqued the interest of Loan Center Manager Sarah Means, and in July 2019, the two teamed up to volunteer at a Wake the World Eugene event at Fern Ridge Reservoir.

“A lot of them have led very tough lives,” White said. “Oregon state representatives say this is the event the kids look to every year. This is their Disneyland.”

Deep Roots in Education

Springfield Education Foundation Tour 2018

SELCO employees volunteering at the 2018 Springfield Education Foundation’s Grant Givers Tour.

SELCO is a credit union founded by educators for the benefit of fellow educators. That spirit of giving back to education has continued in the 80-plus years since as SELCO has expanded to the 27 Oregon counties it serves today.

From moderating the Oregon Battle of the Books, to helping middle-schoolers map out their futures, to serving on multiple education foundation boards and committees, SELCO employees have volunteered countless hours to local students and educators over the years.

“SELCO has been a great friend to Springfield Education Foundation and our students over the years,” said Dr. Sally Storm, Executive Director of Springfield Education Foundation. “They have contributed generously with financial help and by providing passionate and caring individuals who care about students and are willing to put in time and effort to help us.”

SELCO Business Analyst Onalee Edwards has mentored middle-school students through SEF for six years. So, it felt natural to continue that work with the Middle College Mentor program at Agnes Stewart Middle School. Although the program is ending, Edwards plans to keep devoting her time to “reaching young people and supporting them in their learning and curiosity.”

“I find myself learning as much from them as I hope they learn from me.”

“Working with middle-schoolers is a wonderful opportunity to start having more realistic, adult conversations with students but still tap into their own sense of wonder that they may lose in high school,” Edwards said. “I find myself learning as much from them as I hope they learn from me.”


The Employee Volunteer Program is still relatively new to SELCO, but the chance to connect with, and learn from, the people in our communities on a larger scale makes it near and dear to us. Volunteerism is also a real draw for new employees. Without prompting, freshly hired team members have noted in surveys that our community involvement was a big reason why they wanted to work at SELCO.

“When we ask candidates, ‘What do you know about SELCO?’ or ‘Why do you want to work at SELCO?’ we often hear about how our reputation in the community and our support of community organizations impacted their decision to apply,” said Christi Shaw, Director of Human Resources at SELCO. “Candidates want to work for an organization that is ingrained in the community and allows them to volunteer and support the causes that are important to them.”

Interested in joining the SELCO team? Visit our careers page to learn more.

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