NorthRidge Community
Credit Union

2022 Community Spark Awards Second Place Winner

Donating to: United Way of NE Minnesota

NorthRidge Community Credit Union began a campaign in January 2022 to spread kindness around the communities they serve, donate food to area food pantries, and connect with local, small businesses. This campaign is called Local Dough and is an on-going effort.

To spread kindness around the communities, NorthRidge kicked off Local Dough by having its employees conducting regular Random Acts of Kindness (RAKs) around the communities where their five branches are located. The RAKs are paid for by NorthRidge, and employees have paid for gas, groceries, coffee, dinners, and more for community members. As of April, over $250 had been spent on community RAKs. As employees conduct their RAK, they give the recipient a notecard that encourages them to pay it forward by conducting their own RAK in the community (people are encouraged to help their neighbors shovel snow, help someone haul groceries to their vehicle, pick up trash in local parks, or buy someone’s coffee or lunch). Those recipients that do participate and pay it forward are also able to enter a drawing to win a $500 Visa Gift Card from NorthRidge, just by being kind. As of April, there are 12 entrants with stories about how they did something kind in their community. While these numbers may seem small, NorthRidge is located in a very rural area of Northern Minnesota, so the impact is much bigger than it seems.

As a part of Local Dough, NorthRidge has been donating fresh-baked bread to local food panties. Many food shelf recipients report that bread is something they do not have regular access to, or do not receive often from food shelves, and NorthRidge wanted to change that. As of April, over 100 loaves of fresh bread have been donated to 4 different food shelves. Donations happen weekly.

Finally, the third part of Local Dough is connecting with local, small businesses. Every Friday in 2022 so far, NorthRidge has picked up fresh-baked treats (like cookies, cupcakes, donuts, etc.) from local bakeries and delivered it to a local business as a message of support and unity in the community. As of mid-April, 10 businesses have been recipients of these surprise “donut drops.”

Last, but not least, to support local businesses and in keeping with the campaign slogan to “Keep your dough local,” NorthRidge is sponsoring 6 local bakeries, located across the Iron Range in northern MN, to have their own commercials professional filmed and edited by a local, professional filming studio. NorthRidge is providing the funding of over $11,000 to have these commercials shot and edited to be used by the bakeries in any type of advertising they’d like. This opportunity provides these local bakers a way to promote their businesses that they likely could not have afforded otherwise given their small size. The videos can be posted by the bakeries for free to social media or used on TV or Streaming if theyโ€™d like to pay for advertising. NorthRidge also hosts these videos for free on their website and social media channels to add more exposure.

The combination of reaching individual community members as well as small businesses with random acts of kindness, regular food donations, and marketing opportunities has been a way for NorthRidge to deepen their community roots and demonstrate the credit union philosophy of people helping people.

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