People with years of research, who have that “boots on the ground” experience, have come to understand that poverty doesn’t emerge from a vacuum. Rather, it is the confluence of social, economic and personal forces that make it hard for a family to find stability. In St. Louis Community Credit Union’s (SLCCU) business plan, we set out to be ever present at the center of these forces. We are committed to creating the necessary pathways by and between the members and communities we serve with the many critical resources of our current and future partners. Our business plan is centered on organizing a series of related efforts into a cohesive offer that improves the many facets of the lives of our St. Louis region.
It is a relatively simple idea. If job training helps to eliminate unemployment, which adds to the reduction in poverty, which enhances health, than we should be involved in job training. If access to healthcare increases life expectancy, and we have facilities that can be used for health screenings, than we should engage health care partners. If education is more than likely to provide economic stability that leads to better health, then we should insert ourselves into the formula to help. If healthy foods lead to improved quality and length of life, then we should be engaged at some level. If making college a reality for children in low-income households and creates economic opportunities that solve the problems listed, then SLCCU should be engaged.
Our business plan is not a stretch with respect to our mission, it is a direct manifestation of our reason to exist.
SLCCU has been serving in St. Louis for 75 years. We have relationships with people and neighborhoods alike. Whatever we set out to do, we attempt to engage, empower and respond to whatever are the needs of the people we serve. I’m going to call it the “network effect.”
For example, we know that housing, healthcare, daycare, education, transportation and financial services are major concerns in the low- to moderate-income populations we serve. Members hold daily conversations that demand decisions that carry meaningful consequences. Spending resources and partnering with expert resources to understand the best tactics to tackle the problems our members face seems like an investment that improves our community, the residents and subsequently SLCCU.
We look forward to working with our community partners to make our region a great place in 2017 and beyond.