(Grant winner Nicole McCluskey (center) and her students at Southwest Legacy High School)
Firstmark Credit Union
In 1932, during the Great Depression, ten teachers signed a charter to establish San Antonio Teachers Credit Union (SATCU), and it became the first state-chartered credit union in San Antonio. SATCU proudly served members for 70 years before expanding membership qualifications in 2002 to help more people in the community, where it was then renamed to Firstmark Credit Union.
As a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative, Firstmark is committed to creating pathways to stimulate savings, home ownership, and promote financial wellness for all our members. Continuing to build upon an already strong foundation, we exist to help people live out the highest vision of themselves and to support the economic growth and development of the communities we serve. From helping our members, to providing resources to educators, to internships that introduce students to the functional areas of the credit union, Firstmark is on a timeless and rewarding mission in honor of our founding ten teachers.
The Firstmark Foundation
Publicly launched in October 2021, the Firstmark Foundation serves as a giving arm of the credit union to focus on the needs of schools. The Foundation’s common purpose is to make a tangible, positive impact in the education community through the collective giving of our membership. Powered by the support of members enrolled in Power of the Dollar® Checking, the Foundation will fund significant needs across our school districts, such as constructing new facilities, improving existing amenities, and enhancing learning spaces.
Since its inauguration, the Foundation has helped support the early infrastructure costs of CAST Teach High School, The Holdsworth Center’s professional development program for superintendents in Texas, and a residency program for educators with the CAST Schools Network. Additionally, the Foundation has successfully funded 35 education grants across Bexar County and the surrounding area, where the grants afford school employees the opportunity to create innovative programming and initiatives that help students learn and engage with important content and concepts. Through the Foundation, we want to continue to help improve our school communities, assisting programs such as CAST Teach, CAST Schools, and The Holdsworth Center. Better-prepared educators mean better-prepared students.
The Foundation is committed more than ever to the success of our school employees who work hard to educate our children, but also to those students. In partnership with the San Antonio Area Foundation, the Cunningham Scholarship is offered to 20 college-bound students who each receive $1,000 to help cover the cost of their higher education. The application process opens in the Fall and details are included on our website. The Foundation also provides a financial literacy program that introduces the fundamentals of money management to middle and high school students. Understanding the basics early in life can be an empowering motivator for smart financial decision-making.
The Foundation continues to make exceptional strides in building a positive presence throughout our local education community by providing essential financial relief and fundamental resources to help equip school employees for the vital work they do. The contributions made by the Foundation would not be possible without our Power of the Dollar® members, who continue to provide a stream of resources to fund important initiatives that help create sustainability within the education system.
Power of the Dollar® – Making an Impact
Over the years, Firstmark has remained true to a guiding principle inspired by the credit union movement: we are people helping people. The Foundation’s ability to provide for our local education community stems from Firstmark’s Power of the Dollar® Checking. Members enrolled in the Power of the Dollar® Checking pay a $1 monthly impact fee that directly funds the Foundation and allows members to save more while giving more.
With new members joining daily, the number of lives we can impact together grows in tandem. This is the power to make an impact together, in action, with tangible results seen across the education landscape. The needs of the education community are many, and with just $1 per month, we can make a lasting difference in the communities we serve. If you have not yet enrolled in the Power of the Dollar® Checking, we invite you to join – and make an impact – today. To learn more, please visit www. firstmarkcu.org/checking.