Bellingham, WA (September 3, 2019) — Today, WECU announced winners of grant funds, in the culmination of an inaugural grant program. Whatcom Dream, BAAY, Lummi Youth Academy, and Opportunity Council are the 2019 recipients of Education First Grants totaling $110,000.

An internal panel reviewed 30 local applications. “We did not anticipate such an enormous response,” said Reid Frederick, Director of Community Impact and Education First Chair. “There are so many nonprofits looking to do good work and need resources. We are proud of our team of dedicated community members and staff who volunteered their personal time and talents to review and assess each application.” These volunteers worked in collaboration with The Giving Practice, a philanthropy consultant, and contributed individual expertise in areas of financial literacy, K-12 education, and nonprofit business analysis.

“As a financial institution, it is our duty to support financial literacy in our community,” Frederick
continued. “We cannot expect to break the cycle of poverty without giving people the tools needed to succeed.”

When asked about other social issues in Whatcom County, Frederick spoke to the challenges faced by families, “We know that, due to transportation and other economic struggles, educational institutions and their partnering nonprofits are well-positioned to meet the families where they are. This, combined with our desire to honor the educational roots of our cooperative, is why WECU committed to Education First.”

Jennifer Kutcher, WECU President and CEO, expects that the Education First Grant program will continue in 2020. “WECU’s mission is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our members, and our guiding principles reflect our commitment to the communities we serve. As a financial cooperative, we value people over profits and will continue to seek ways to help these in need in our community. Recognizing that together, we are stronger.”

Read about our 2019 Education First Grant Awardees here.

About WECU

WECU is a full-service consumer and commercial financial partner that operates 11 branch locations and two loan centers for business and home needs. WECU is proud to serve more than 125,000 members and has nearly $1.6 billion in assets. More information on WECU Charitable Giving programs can be found at

Media Contact:
Keith Mader, Program Manager PR & Content at WECU, 360-756-7694,