Pictured here in an SECU branch lobby, an employee wearing a burgundy blouse and a headset smiles and embraces a member, donning glasses and a t-shirt. The scene imbues joy.
article | 7 MIN

We’re here for our members, in our local branches and in our communities.

Our members come first. Pictured: Staff at the Lowe’s Grove branch greeting a visiting member.

At SECU, we’re not just committed to being a part of communities across North Carolina, but also to playing an active role in supporting schools, local organizations, and communities at large. We’re reaching out from branches across the state to make a difference in our members’ lives and to build a foundation on which we can all thrive.

Through our evolving programs, scholarships, and philanthropy, SECU and the SECU Foundation1 aim to help communities tackle everything from education access to financial literacy. And, like many skills sets, the learning starts early.

We’re Promoting Financial Savvy in Young North Carolinians

It’s never too early to bank smart. Through a variety of programs, we help prepare our young community members for financial scenarios and decisions that they will face in the years to come.

  • Our FAT CAT program, designed for elementary age students, offers fun games, videos and activities that cover topics such as careers, needs vs. wants, savings accounts and—yes—even economics. The FAT CAT interactive website is not only for kids to enjoy, but is also a resource for parents, providing tips and tools for how to talk with kids about money.
  • Supported through the SECU Foundation, Biz Kid$ is an interactive financial education website where middle school kids can find videos, stories of young entrepreneurs and games that incorporate budgeting, savings and business management. These tools are available to FAT CAT participants, but also to students from all over the state.
  • Eighth graders and high schoolers can learn about financial responsibility through “The Reality of Money,” a hands-on, interactive, real-world simulation traveling to schools across the state. Groups of students are “transformed” into young adults and wrestle with many of the financial decisions they could experience in their early life.


Two well-dressed students are pictured sitting at a table, looking at financial documents together with some concentration. One student is gesturing toward the document and explaining something to her peer.
Students learn about important financial decisions during a “Reality of Money” event.


SECU was recently recognized by the Credit Union Financial Education Network for its financial education efforts to benefit North Carolina’s youth. From July 2022 to June 2023, we reached the most students of any credit union with more than $1 billion in assets. And we’re not done yet.


We’re Investing in the Future, and it’s Looking Bright

When school is out for the summer, we step in even more for our communities. This year marked SECU’s second annual Summer Camp Awards, in which 185 students across North Carolina received a $500 scholarship to be used toward their summer camp expenses. Thus far, this program has provided over $162,000 in scholarships for youth.

SECU’s support extends beyond secondary education. Since 2005, the SECU Foundation’s “People Helping People®” scholarship program has assisted students across North Carolina in achieving their educational goals. With an annual commitment of over $5 million, more than 500 scholarships are awarded each year to at least one high school senior in each school district. Students attending either a four-year program at a UNC System school or one of the 58 community colleges in the North Carolina Community College System are eligible. Recipients are recognized for not only their academic achievement, but for their leadership, integrity and community involvement.

Supported by the SECU Foundation, the Bridge to Career program seeks to remove financial barriers for students who hope to obtain state-regulated or industry-recognized credentials through the Workforce Continuing Education Division of their local community college. Scholarships for 2-year, 4-year and workforce development programs are available to qualified students.


We’re Making Big Impact Locally, Where it Matters Most

Community involvement is key for all of us, at any age, in every corner of North Carolina.

We applaud and support the work our local branches do every day to reach out into their communities and make a difference. Many have participated in March of Dimes® walks and other fundraising events for years, raising thousands of dollars for the cause. SECU branches, including Henderson and Charlotte Airport Center Parkway, host “Shred It” events for members to safely shred and dispose of sensitive documents. Some of our branches raise money for breast cancer awareness and research, while others organize volunteer efforts and donations for their local food banks and animal shelters. We’re proud to see their passion pay off in so many different ways.


We’re Committed to Our Communities, With the Receipts to Prove It 

SECU and our many branches have been recognized for the critical work we help support in communities across the state. Just this year, we were awarded second place in both the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award (given to credit unions who support successful external social responsibility projects within the community) and the Louise Herring Philosophy-In-Action Member Service Award (given to credit unions for internal programs that benefit membership in ways aligned with credit union philosophy).

At SECU, we believe in the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People®”. It’s at the core of who we are, and it’s a guiding light for who we aspire to be.

SECU’s community involvement extends beyond scholarships and financial education programs. Each day, members of the SECU Board of Directors, Advisory Board members, employees and SECU members throughout North Carolina donate their time, energy and passion to support causes across the state. SECU remains, and will always remain, deeply committed to uplifting the communities it serves.


1 – The SECU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization funded by the contributions of SECU members, promotes local community development in North Carolina primarily through high-impact projects in the areas of housing, education, healthcare, and human services. Since 2004, SECU Foundation has made a collective financial commitment of over $235 million for initiatives to benefit North Carolinians statewide.