Now Accepting Entries for the 2021 Golden Apple Annual Educator Awards
We are now accepting entries for this year’s Golden Apple Educator Award! Entrants must be a Freedom Member* and an employee at a Harford or Baltimore County school (public or private).
1. First Place – $2,000 Award 2. Second Place – $1,000 Award 3. First Runner-Up – $500 Award 4. Second Runner-Up $500 Award
To enter, submit an entry form and essay. The essay must describe how you would use the funds and why you should be the one to win! Scoring favors proposals demonstrating the greatest impact on local schools, classes, students, and/or the community at large.
Freedom Federal Credit Union is pleased to offer four Annual Educator Awards of $2,000, $1,000, $500 and $500 to Harford and Baltimore County Education Employees who may be a deserving teacher, school administrator or school support employee.
Scoring favors the idea with the greatest impact on local students, classes, schools, and/or the local community.
To enter, complete the entry form and submit an essay that explains why you deserve the award. Your essay may address any or all of the following questions:
What is your plan to benefit your students, your class or your school? How will this money help you implement your plan?
Will you take a continuing education class or classes to improve your own education and expertise? (Please be specific.) How will your education improve your students’ learning?
Will you purchase supplies for your school or classroom? How will the supplies help improve student learning? (Please provide as many quantitative details as possible.)
Will your plan, training, or purchases affect the Harford County Community? If yes, how so?
Credit Union Awards $1,000 to Small Local Non-Profit to Support their Hope Center
Bel Air, MD – Freedom Federal Credit Union is pleased to congratulate Mike Nolan, Founder, Executive Director, and volunteer for Breathe 379, for winning the 3rd annual #FreedomToHelpChallenge. The six-week social media contest called for entrants to post pictures celebrating Harford or Baltimore County volunteerism for a chance to win $1,000 and other weekly prizes for their local charity of choice. Each week individual volunteers and non-profit organizations posted pictures showcasing local volunteerism in an effort that reached all corners of the two counties. Weekly winners and the Grand Award winner were chosen during public voting periods on Freedom’s Facebook page.
“I have to be honest, I’m completely blown away by it. I wasn’t even going to enter thinking we didn’t have a chance to win, but on a whim, I posted a submission of our amazing volunteers, and our supporters took it from there. We are so grateful for the Freedom To Help Challenge, for giving us the opportunity to showcase and thank our volunteers, and for everything Freedom has done for us in the wake of winning, not just in donations, but with publicity for our cause,” stated Mike Nolan. “This award will now allow even more members of our community and beyond to be served by Breathe’s Hope Center! Thank you, Freedom Federal Credit Union, for helping us help others!”
Officially founded in 2016, Breathe 379 is based in the simple notion of helping others, whatever the need. Breathe’s Hope Center, based in Edgewood, Maryland, looks quite different from most food and clothing pantries, providing a relaxing environment and complimentary coffee bar to help ease stress and offer the hope that is very much needed in everyone’s life from time to time. The organization is probably best known for their B379 Toy Drive, which distributes thousands of toys to local Harford County children in need during the holidays.
Mike Nolan and volunteers Nick Nizer, Vice President and Manager of the Well at Breathe, Bailey Alampi, Manager of Bailey Sue’s Country Market at Breathe, and Cheryl Andrews, Manager of The Cabin at Breathe, were all recently honored in a check presentation held at Breathe’s Hope Center with the $1,000 grand award. The Hope Center is located at 2124 Nuttal Ave. in Edgewood, Maryland and is open each Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and the second Saturday of every month from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. Learn more at breathe379.com.
About Freedom Federal Credit Union
Freedom Federal Credit Union is a community-chartered federal credit union offering consumer financial services to those who live, work, volunteer, worship, attend school, or have family in Harford or Baltimore County. Additionally, Freedom offers a full-line of banking services for all businesses, associations, and other organizations that are based in Harford or Baltimore County. Freedom has been in business since 1953 and has five locations throughout Harford County. To learn more, visit www.freedomfcu.org
The 12th Annual Economic Forum – View from the Top
Presented By The Kelly Group
Please join our partners, The Kelly Group, along with Keynote Speaker, Anirban Basu, Chairman & CEO of Sage Policy Group, Inc., an economic and policy consulting firm in Baltimore, for this free, virtual event. Basu is one of the Mid-Atlantic region’s most recognizable economists. With wisdom, wit, and a keen economist’s grasp, Basu will focus on answering some of the top economic questions, on where we’ve been and where we’re headed—globally, nationally, statewide, and locally.
Bel Air, MD –Freedom Federal Credit Union is pleased to recognize Bob Wehland, Senior Vice President of Business Banking, on his recent executive appointment to the Department of Social Services (DSS) Advisory Board in Harford County. Wehland received commendations on his appointment by County Executive Barry Glassman and County Council President Patrick Vincenti.
The Department of Social Services Advisory Board is involved in every phase of DSS planning, operations, and funding. The agency itself works under the mission to aggressively pursue opportunities to assist people in economic need, provide prevention services, and protect vulnerable children and adults.
Wehland comes to the board with over twenty years of banking management experience, and a long history of community involvement. Wehland is currently the Vice President for the Mason-Dixon Business Association, for which he has also served as both President and Treasurer since his initial involvement in 1999. Around the same time, Wehland also joined the board of Mason-Dixon Community Services, for which he has been the Treasurer for the last eight years.
Wehland is also the current chair of the Veterans Committee for Abingdon Elks Lodge # 2354, where he recently coordinated and assisted in delivering 115 boxed lunches and 105 hot dinners to Veterans at Perry Point.
In addition to his role at Freedom Federal Credit Union, Wehland has coordinated employee volunteers to participate in over twenty different non-profit causes and over 1,500 hours of volunteer time as Chairperson of Freedom’s Community Outreach Committee, a role he has held since 2015.
When asked to join the DSS Advisory Board, Wehland expressed that he was both “humbled and honored to be considered for such an opportunity”. “I have always believed it is important to give back to the community,” Wehland stated. “Fortunately, Freedom Federal Credit Union shares this philosophy of giving back and people helping people.”
“Offering a hand up, especially in a time of crisis, makes our world and our community a better place,” Wehland continued. “I hope to bring my knowledge, experience, and wisdom, along with my compassion and commitment to the DSS Advisory Board. I am very grateful for this opportunity and look forward to serving the citizens of Harford County in this new role.”
“Bob Wehland is as dedicated to his community as he is to the Freedom Federal Credit Union Team, and we could not be prouder” stated Mike MacPherson, Freedom’s President and CEO. “Over the years, it has been incredible to see our community being served in meaningful ways by our Freedom employees, board directors, committee volunteers, and members.”
The Credit Union encourages employees to volunteer their time and skills to better serve the Harford and Baltimore County communities, including serving on local non-profit boards and county government boards and commissions.
Freedom Federal Credit Union Introduces New Financial Program Exclusively for Educators
Freedom Federal Credit Union is pleased to introduce a new financial program exclusively for educators in Harford and Baltimore Counties. The Golden Apple Program was created to provide financial products and services to employees working within public and private schools in the two counties.
Among the benefits of the Golden Apple Program, Freedom offers the new Educator Visa® credit card, which provides teachers and school support staff a way to organize and save on school supply purchases. Once approved for the credit card, educators will have access to a $1,000 credit line at an annual percentage rate (APR) equal to the rate of prime, currently 3.25%, as of December 9, 2020.
According to the Harford County Education Foundation, 99.5% of teachers purchase basic school supplies for their students out of their own pockets. Additionally, teachers spend approximately $500-$1,000 each year on school supplies from their personal funds. The Educator Visa credit card is intended to lessen the burden of these purchases by providing educators with a way to organize all their school-related purchases on one card, and avoid paying an APR on those expenses that is double or triple the rate of prime, if not higher.
In conjunction with the new Educator Visa, Freedom is also updating their Educator Savings Program, which now offers school employees a much higher annual percentage yield (APY) on their savings. At 2.50% APY*, educators can earn interest well above the national average for savings accounts, which the FDIC is currently reporting to be just 0.05% as of December 2020. Freedom requires no minimum balance or fees for the account, just initial proof of employment with a school.
“Those who know us well, know that our support for educators extends well beyond our community-based sponsorships. Our real involvement comes from being there on a personal level for each and every educator and support employee that we can assist,” states Mike MacPherson, President and CEO of Freedom Federal Credit Union. “As we look ahead to the rest of the school year, we know that our school employees are under immense pressure, and we can’t think of a better time to reach out to help in our own way – to ease financial stress and assist in securing their future financial well-being.”
Also included in the Golden Apple Program, new Freedom members can receive a $100 bonus with direct deposit and eStatement enrollment, a high yield checking account, 2 free Skip-A-Pays on certain loans, auto refinancing specials, a mortgage bonus, matches on new youth accounts, and eligibility to apply for Freedom’s annual classroom grant awards program. Additionally, Harford County Public School employees are able to access their pay a full day in advance of their standard payday. For full Golden Apple Program details and requirements, please visit freedomfcu.org/golden-apple/.
* Qualifying applicants will earn 2.50% APY on balances up to $10,000 and 0.35% APY on balances of $10,000.01 and higher. No minimum balance requirements. No minimum to open account. Membership eligibility applies. Federally insured by the NCUA.
WMAR-2 News recently interviewed Freedom Federal Credit Union Marketing Communications Coordinator, Ashira Quabili, on their 3rd annual #FreedomToHelpChallenge.
“The best part about the #FreedomToHelpChallenge is any charity any non-profit big or small can be involved and get something great out of it, you can enter a photo and reach thousands of people in a week that may never have heard of your cause,” said Ashira Quabili, the Marketing Communications Coordinator for Freedom Federal Credit Union. She added, “all of these charities are doing amazing things in our communities and this is a great opportunity for them to get their name out there and get their missions out there.”
Freedom serves and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school, volunteers, or has family in Harford or Baltimore County, MD. As a credit union, we are committed to putting you first, not shareholders, and helping you achieve your financial goals. Learn more at freedomfcu.org or call us 800-440-4120 to see how we can help.
Your Turn: Submit a photo for the #FreedomToHelpChallenge. Post a picture on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Don’t forget to include the hashtag: #FreedomToHelpChallenge and tag us @FreedomFCU on Facebook and @FreedomFedCU on Twitter or Instagram.
You know what annoys me? Commercials. One in particular gets under my skin. It’s the commercial for Capital One. It’s bad enough they talk about having no fees or minimums on checking accounts like they just thought of it or that you can bank on the go with a mobile app like no one else offers that. No, it was the phrase “banking reimagined”. You know what banking reimagined is? A CREDIT UNION!!!
All you need to do is look at our history to know that banks are still banks no matter what kind of pretty package you put it in or spin you put on it. You still get your best deal, have your best experience, at a credit union and with people like you.