Coasthills employee giving program blows away expectations

Credit Union staff on pace to donate $12,000 to local nonprofits in first year of ‘I’m All In’ initiative

LOMPOC, CA (June 21, 2016) — The first donations have been made, and CoastHills Credit Union’s “I’m All In” employee giving program has tripled projections since being introduced in December.

In the first quarter of the year, CoastHills was proud to present three checks of $1,000 each to the Central Coast Rescue MissionCentral Coast Music Academy and Fairlawn Elementary in Santa Maria.

At the end of 2015, the CoastHills Community Foundation — the charitable fundraising arm of the credit union — announced that employees could elect to donate as little or as much money as they’d like from their own paychecks to support local causes. The funds would be pooled together, and once a quarter, a drawing would be held where the winner could donate to the cause of his or her choice.

Foundation director Rebecca Alarcio initially planned to raise enough money to award a single $1,000 sponsorship per quarter. Putting their dedicated spirit of generosity on display, CoastHills employees blew that number away.

“I knew that CoastHills employees were all in on our mission to make a difference in our neighbors’ lives,” Alarcio said. “But I was truly astounded to find nearly every one of our 220-plus employees line up at our December all-staff meeting to sign up for the program — and do so without hesitation. They are making a personal commitment from every paycheck to give back to their communities. Honestly, I was choked up to see the outpouring.”

With a drawing set to take place for the second-quarter sponsorships later this week, here’s a look at the first three recipients and the employees that chose each organization:

Member Services Officer Jeff Aldridge & the Central Coast Rescue Mission
Aldridge, who works at CoastHills’ Orcutt branch, was deeply affected by a volunteer visit to a rescue mission in Santa Barbara when he was just 13 years old.

“I remember talking to a guy. He was homeless, and he was so thankful that we took the day to come hang out and serve him food. That really stuck with me because we were kids that grew up in Vandenberg Village, and we didn’t have to worry where our next meal was coming from. And he didn’t have anything.”

Now living in Santa Maria, Jeff wanted to support a similar cause in his current community.

The Central Coast Rescue Mission is an 18-bed drug and alcohol recovery program. In addition to the recovery classes, the men enrolled also receive vocational training through a variety of volunteer activities. The Rescue Mission runs a thrift store, a food pantry that serves about 100 families and a commercial-quality kitchen that provides meals for the homeless and especially ramps up during the holidays.

“About half come off the streets and the other half come out of the courts,” director Larry Cooney said. “We want the judges to be able to say, ‘Man, I hope there’s a bed available because that’s where you’re going to get some help.”


Photo caption: Residents of the Central Coast Rescue Mission’s Life Recovery Program and director Larry Cooney accept a $1,000 check from CoastHills Credit Union Community Foundation director Rebecca Alarcio at the Rescue Mission facility in Santa Maria.

Telecommunications Specialist Wayne Copes & Central Coast Music Academy
Copes gave up playing guitar when he was a teenager because he thought his fingers were too stubby. Only 20 years later when he brought that old six string out of his parents’ attic did he realize the only thing holding him back all that time was himself.

Given the chance to sponsor an organization, Wayne chose to help ensure as many kids as possible receive the opportunity that he didn’t give himself, the chance to learn and enjoy playing music.

The Central Coast Music Academy was formed five years ago when founders and musicians Larry and Kathleen Hill decided to do something about the waning funding for music education in public schools.

The Academy holds summer music camps in Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo and has recently started providing year-round music education to children between 7 and 16 years old.

“This is going to help 10 kids go to our music camp this summer, kids that might not have had the opportunity because of their financial situation,” Kathleen Hill said. “Our summer program is inexpensive, but it’s still a stretch for some people. This gift is really a godsend.”


Photo caption: Telecommunications specialist Wayne Copes, CoastHills Community Foundation board member and Vice President of Wealth Management Bruce Altheide join Central Coast Music Academy co-founder Kathleen Hill for a jam session.

Member Services Officer Karla Gonzalez and Fairlawn Elementary School
Gonzalez has fond memories from her time at Fairlawn Elementary in Santa Maria. She’ll never forget visiting places like The Getty Center and going off to 6th Grade Camp. Now that her son Adrian is a student at her old school, it feels like something’s missing.

“When I was a student here at Fairlawn, we had so many more field trips, we had so many more activities,” Karla said, “but the budget keeps getting cut. And if anything, maybe the kids will have one field trip a year, and that’s about it.”

Fairlawn’s Parent Teacher Committee will decide how the donation is spent, and the school has many worthy causes. Field trips, Read Across America Day, the Math Super Bowl, Battle of the Books and the school’s soccer team are all funded through the committee. The school is also purchasing a new electronic marquee and maintains a uniform closet to help clothe kids in need.

“Oh my gosh,” Fairlawn Principal Toni Kelly said. “A thousand dollars at a time covers a couple field trips locally. It covers a field trip far away. The electronic marquee, it certainly puts a dent in the price tag that we’re going to pay for that. It makes a huge difference for our kids.”


Photo caption: Children from Fairlawn Elementary in Santa Maria accepted a $1,000 donation from the CoastHills Community Foundation’s “I’m All In” program.

About CoastHills Credit Union

CoastHills is a not-for-profit Credit Union serving more than 70,000 members in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Ventura and Santa Cruz counties. Founded in 1958 to primarily serve military and civilian personnel at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CoastHills now serves the entire community with 11 branches and a locally staffed full-service call center. With assets of more than $1.3 billion CoastHills is the second largest locally owned financial institution on the Central Coast.  

About The CoastHills Community Foundation

The CoastHills Community Foundation reflects the credit union’s aspiration to be a positive force on the Central Coast. It was formed in 2005 to provide funding and support of CoastHills Credit Union’s community outreach initiatives. The CoastHills Community Foundation has raised more than $625,000 and supports approximately 200 community-based charitable organizations each year.


Joshua D. Scroggin
(805)733-7608 |

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