2021 Connexus Cares Annual Impact Report

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2021 Connexus Cares Annual Impact Report

A MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT AND CEO In another year that brought forth its share of challenges and adversity for millions across the country, Connexus Cares pushed further than before to support communities and organizations that needed help. We doubled down on our mission of “Giving with Purpose,” expanding our reach to provide resources and financial contributions to new non-profits that serve critical needs in our communities. We were able to persevere in 2021 as a result of our collaborative cycle of giving that involves our employees, members, and communities, led by the Connexus Cares Committee. The success of our organization begins with our employees, highlighted by programs such as Volunteer Time Off and donation matching, right alongside a continuous dedication to making Connexus the financial institution of choice for our members. In turn, our members trust us to safeguard their finances and support their financial goals, which allows our profitability to directly affect the reach of our impact as we contribute to charitable community organizations through Connexus Cares. Being a part of Connexus Cares, and the meaningful giveback we’re able to provide, is a source of pride for all of our employees and continued motivation to work hard and remain committed to the organization. This brings us full circle, demonstrating how every person connected to our organization is valuable, whether you’re a member, employee, or part of our expanding communities. This is how we’re able to make a difference in the world—through synergy, selflessness, and caring for one another. With 2021 in the rear-view mirror, and many meaningful opportunities to look forward to in 2022, I’d like to once again express gratitude for all those who contribute to Connexus Cares in some way and breathe life into our mission. As you’ll see on the following pages, 2021 was our largest giving year to date, with over $2.5 million distributed to charitable organizations across the country. I cannot begin to express enough thanks to those who have made it possible to make such an impact in our communities, and I look forward to going above and beyond in 2022. Regards,

Boyd Gustke Connexus Credit Union President and Chief Executive Officer


240+ organizations

IN 2021, CONNEXUS CARES GAVE WITH PURPOSE. The mission of Connexus Cares, the philanthropic program of Connexus Credit Union, is to give with purpose — to our members, employees, and communities. And in 2021, that’s exactly what we did. In fact, we donated over $2.5 million.


4 million

pounds of food

2,700 volunteer hours since January 2019

Founded in January of 2019, Connexus Cares has already had an outsized impact within our local Central Wisconsin communities and nationwide, donating over $5.3 million. We’ve also supported over 240 organizations and donated over 10 million pounds of food, and Connexus team members have spent nearly 2,700 hours volunteering their time since the start of 2019. Connexus Cares prioritizes support and funding to organizations that provide basic humanitarian needs (like food, shelter, and crisis services) and those that work with at-risk youth, seniors, and veterans. In short, we thoughtfully allocate resources so that charitable organizations can focus on doing the work that matters: providing meaningful services that improve lives and benefit our communities.

We rely on the tireless work and support of the Connexus Credit Union team to do the work that we do. In 2021, our employees participated in numerous peer-to-peer giving campaigns, including: • Gift card and logo wear sales, Flamingo Wars, and a 72-Hour Challenge, all to benefit the American Cancer Society • Connexus Community’s Cutest Pet Contest to raise funds for local humane societies • Connexus Spooktacular Halloween Photo Contest to benefit local food pantries • Giving Tuesday employee donation matching event, which raised $25,000 for 55 organizations Those giving campaigns are in addition to employee participation in the Connexus American Cancer Society Relay for Life team, the many hours spent volunteering in their communities, and their generous financial gifts to various fundraisers throughout the year. Connexus Cares continues to be profoundly appreciative and humbled by the generosity of our team. Now, we’re excited to present the following Connexus Cares Annual Report, which will serve to highlight how we gave back in 2021.

GIVING WITH CARE: CONNEXUS CARES AWARD Each year since 2019, Connexus Credit Union recognizes employees that help the organization achieve excellence through charitable giving. This includes going above and beyond to serve our members, assist our communities, and support fellow colleagues. As part of the Connexus Recognition Awards, the Connexus Cares Award is presented to an employee who encompasses the mission and intention of our philanthropic program. Employees are nominated by their peers for this award; the individual must be well versed in and actively embrace the Connexus Values, which means consistently doing what’s right above all else, fostering a values-based culture, prioritizing a healthy work-life balance, and supporting collaboration across departments. Additionally, they must utilize their time and talents to positively impact our members, employees, and communities, volunteer in the community beyond the hours provided through the Volunteer Time Off Program, and actively seek to inspire others as a servant leader within the organization.

The 2021 Connexus Cares Award recipient was announced during a virtual awards celebration that was shared with all Connexus employees. In addition to being recognized among their peers, the award winner receives a commemorative trophy to proudly display the meaningful accomplishment.

Join us in congratulating our 2021 Connexus Cares Award winner, Tina W.!

“Over the past two years, not only has Tina supported many different organizations through the Connexus Cares donationmatching program, but also utilized her Years of Service milestone anniversary bonus to give back to her community, which is truly selfless and incredible.” – Nominated by Bailey S.

GIVING BY THE NUMBERS Total donated in 2021:

$2,500,189 Largest single donation of 2021: $1 million to Community Partners Campus

Total donated since January 2019:

$5,288,547 Total donated to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Event: $125,000

Number of organizations supported:


Number of volunteer hours: Total raised during our Giving Tuesday 2-to-1 Donation Matching Event: $25,000


GIVING WITH CARE: 2021 CAPITAL CAMPAIGNS $1 million to Community Partners Campus In March of 2021, we made our largest donation to date: $1 million to Community Partners Campus (CPC) in Wausau, Wisconsin. CPC is a non-profit center offering a functional, collaborative, shared space for organizations with a mission-driven purpose and focus on food, clothing, shelter, medical care, mental health, and social wellbeing. CPC’s first partners to occupy the new space include the Neighbor’s Place, Catholic Charities Warming Center, Blessings in a Backpack, North Central Community Action Program, Wausau Free Clinic, North Central Health Care’s Crisis Assessment Response Team, Wausau Police Department’s Victim Resource Center, and Wausau Area Mobile Meals.

“Once Community Partners Campus is complete, it will be one of the most comprehensive human services centers in the state of Wisconsin. The support we have seen from the community has been tremendous, and Connexus has certainly been a leader in supporting us and the nonprofit organizations who work to serve disadvantaged families and individuals in our community.” – Brian Gumness, Board President of CPC

GIVING WITH CARE: 2021 CAPITAL CAMPAIGNS $125,000 to Feeding Our Communities with United Services (FOCUS) Connexus Cares made a $125,000 donation to the Feeding Our Communities with United Services’ (FOCUS) building relocation project, a dollar-for-dollar campaign match of all donations made between May and August of 2021. FOCUS was established in 2020 when three local non-profits merged resources to address food insecurity in Wisconsin’s South Wood County. “We are very grateful to be the recipient of $125,000 raised by Connexus Credit Union’s matching funds challenge in our Focus on the Future Capital Campaign. We look forward to moving into our new location later this year and can’t thank Connexus enough for their support during this very exciting journey into our future.” – Terri Rapp, Board Chair of FOCUS

$25,000 to Aspirus for a NICU Newborn Isolette Transporter Connexus Cares donated $25,000 to Aspirus Wausau Hospital to be used towards the purchase of a NICU Newborn Isolette Transporter. Aspirus uses the Newborn Isolette Transporter to transport infants in the NICU to and from other locations. In 2020, 39 infants were transported using the Isolette units. As the NICU at Aspirus expands, the need for these transporters is expected to grow.

GIVING WITH REACH: NATIONAL CHARITIES 2021 donation total: $328,625 Although we focus our donating and volunteering locally, we don’t limit ourselves. In 2021, we donated $328,625 to national charitable organizations in local communities that Connexus serves. Organizations we support through this strategic giving pillar include local United Ways, YMCAs, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and more. “Connexus Cares allows me the opportunity to give back and connect with individuals less fortunate than myself and the organizations that support them, not only locally but throughout the country. Connexus Care supports me in donating monetarily or by volunteering my time for non-profits that have had a profound impact on my life and that I hold dear to my heart. My favorite part of Connexus Cares is the pride and commitment it generates in helping the needs of our communities and the realization of how the donations presented to the non-profits are life-changing to those in need by adding a bit of light to their current darkness.” – Sue C., Connexus employee

GIVING WITH ABUNDANCE: FOOD INSECURITY GIVEBACK 2021 donation total: $346,625 According to the USDA, more than 38 million people (including 12 million children) in the US are living with food insecurity. Connexus Cares remains committed to supporting organizations that support our community members facing food insecurities.

GIVING SANCTUARY: SHELTERS AND HOUSING GIVEBACK 2021 donation total: $338,750 There are currently over 500,000 individuals facing homelessness across the US, and the COVID-19 pandemic only increased these numbers. Connexus Cares is committed to supporting organizations providing safe shelter for our community members.

GIVING FOR THE FUTURE: YOUTH PROGRAMS 2021 donation total: $195,750 Connexus Cares is dedicated to fostering bright futures by supporting organizations committed to serving youth. Some of our funded partners include the Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and more. “Connexus Cares allows us to reach even more youth who are in need of a positive, caring role model. With a Big in their life, Littles in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program are empowered to ignite their potential as they grow in their self-esteem, earn better grades, and develop a lifelong friendship with their Big.” – Dawn C., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Wisconsin

GIVING WITH COMPASSION: SENIOR SERVICES 2021 donation total: $180,000 Connexus Cares recognizes the need for programs and services to support the aging populations in our communities, which is why we’re proud to support organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association and the Aging & Disability Resource Centers that support senior community members.

GIVING WITH RESPECT: VETERANS PROGRAMS 2021 donation total: $170,250 Connexus Cares is proud to give back to organizations that specialize in providing vital resources to the men and women who served in the military. “The Minnesota Military Family Foundation (MMFF) exists to help military members currently wearing the uniform in service to America when they have financial needs. We rely on generous organizations and individuals to help us carry out our mission. Without the help of organizations like Connexus, we would not be able to be there for military members and their families in time of need. Because we are an all-volunteer organization, $.95 of every $1.00 donated goes to the program. Since our founding in 2004, we have provided financial grants to more than 2,140 families totaling over $5,000,000. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of military members and their families.” – Tim K., Minnesota Military Family Foundation

GIVING IN THE FUTURE Reflecting on our 2021 impact has us filled with gratitude and excitement. Gratitude for the support we’ve been able to give and excitement for the limitless possibilities of the future. In 2022 and beyond, Connexus Cares will continue to give time and financial resources to organizations that are working diligently to support people in our communities and across our nation. We look forward to finding more organizations that fit our mission and to whom we can provide support. We will also continue engaging our employees in new community giveback opportunities. To learn more about our charitable activities, follow us on Facebook and visit our Connexus Cares page.

Here’s to the future of Connexus Cares, and all of the good we can do ­— together.

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