Element FCU, Linda Bodie sponsor Pride Month events in local community

by Lauren Culp, CUInsight.com

Credit Union Spotlight, presented by CUInsight, features credit unions taking action and changing their local communities. Join us as we recognize and celebrate the important work these credit unions do to bring their mission to life.

We’re always inspired by Charleston, W.Va.-based Element Federal Credit Union and its committed efforts to nurture its local community. The small-but-mighty credit union leads the industry in supporting and elevating LGBTQIA+ voices in a big way.

Element’s CEO & Innovator Linda Bodie is a recent recipient of the prestigious Herb Wegner Award. Under her visionary leadership, Element regularly punches above its weight in innovation and community impact. The credit union’s impact work takes place year round, and includes sponsoring and attending Rainbow Pride of West Virginia events. June, Pride Month, is full of celebrations.

Linda shared more with our team about the incredible things they’ve been up to this month in their mission to be #ThePlaceYouBelong:

Event 1:
Drag Race and East End Pub Crawl
East End of Charleston, West Virginia

A fun night of entertainment. DJ, dancing, drag queen performances and the annual “drag race” at the East End of Charleston, West Virginia. What’s a drag race? Well, teams of 4 compete against each other to see who can run in drag the fastest. Each competitor must put on high heels, a dress, and wig, and run the length of the course while being pelted with water balloons. Whoever finished first moves on to the next round, and one team is eventually crowned as champions of the drag race.

Event 2:
Rainbow Pride of West Virginia Pride Parade and Festival
Downtown Charleston, West Virginia

The annual pride parade and festival began in 1997 with a just a few hundred attendees. Today, over 10,000 people attend the festival in Downtown Charleston, West Virginia. Element has been sponsoring and attending the festival for more than 20 years.

Event 3:
Pride Night with the Charleston Dirty Birds
GoMart Ballpark, Downtown, Charleston, West Virginia

Element is the presenting sponsor of the annual Pride Night at the local minor league ballpark. The first ever event started in 2019. In 2023, the event became the first pride event in West Virginia to have fireworks! Element, in partnership with Rainbow Pride, led the way to Pride Night becoming a reality in our local baseball team.

Event 4:
Greenbrier Valley Pride Parade and Festival
Ronceverte, West Virginia

New in 2023, Element sponsored the Greenbrier Valley Pride Parade and Festival in Ronceverte, West Virginia. This pride group is newer (established in 2021) and this is their second festival. The population of Ronceverte? 1,600!

We traveled two hours to attend this event in a very rural part of West Virginia. Why? We had a free weekend and thought it would be great to support a new organization. We have over a dozen pride organizations throughout the state.

The best comment? “Is this real? Am I really seeing a bank (credit union) out here supporting the community and attending a pride event?” Yep! And this is why we do what we do. To support our communities and show them they are loved. If you’re willing and able, take a chance to stand up and stand proud with your fellow humans.

You can learn more about these events and more, here https://www.facebook.com/RainbowPrideWV and here https://www.facebook.com/bodieinxs

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