Meriwest Helps Community Agencies get AHEAD with Grants

For Immediate Release
Greg Meyer
Meriwest Credit Union
Community Relations Manager
Direct Line: 408-365-6328                                             

SAN JOSE, CA – September 19, 2011– Through Meriwest’s sponsorship, Catholic Charities and Sacred Heart Community Services will both benefit from grants provided by the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. The Access to Housing and Economic Assistance for Development (AHEAD) Grant program provides money to community development agencies to support economic development activities. In the case of the two grants sponsored by Meriwest Credit Union, both programs were related to asset building and each had a financial literacy component.  Meriwest and Mendo Lake Credit Union were the only two CU’s to sponsor FHLB approved grants.

Catholic Charities was awarded $20,000 for the ABC-Asset Building Continuum. The Continuum provides services for low-income families and will pilot the “In-Line Process,” which seamlessly links tax preparation clients with banking accounts, matched savings programs, and financial education services and workshops.  “Catholic Charities reaches over 3,000 people annually through its Asset Building programs.” said Stephen Hicken, Division Director of Economic Development Services at Catholic Charities. “Our partnership with Meriwest permits us both to reach out to even greater numbers of low income neighbors here in Santa Clara County, helping people to help themselves via wise, informed financial decision making.”

Sacred Heart was awarded $25,000 for their Asset Building for Independence program. ABI offers low-income households comprehensive, integrated services designed to help clients maintain economic self-sufficiency. Services will include job search, job posting, financial literacy, as well as support for families managing the labyrinth of social services in search of additional supportive programs.  “Our partnership with Meriwest is critical to meeting the needs of people that want to work hard.” said Asset Building for Independence Program Manager, Son Mai. “As the recent statistics show, poverty is on the increase across the nation, and that means more people will be coming to Sacred Heart seeking hope for their lives. With this grant, we can help them create their resumes, find work, use their money wisely and build better futures for their families.”

“The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco has been an excellent partner and our membership with them has helped Meriwest expand its footprint in the community.” said Christopher Owen, President and CEO of Meriwest. “As the result of this grant program, our grant recipients, Catholic Charities and Sacred Heart Community Services, will be able to significantly increase the impact of their asset building and financial services education programs for Santa Clara County families.”

About Meriwest Credit Union

Meriwest Credit Union, one of Silicon Valley’s largest and established financial institutions, has been providing proactive, personal, convenient and innovative financial services to over 83,000 businesses and families throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Tucson, Arizona, for more than 50 years. More information can be found at

About Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County serves and advocates for families and individuals in need, especially those living in poverty. Rooted in gospel values, they work to create a more just and compassionate community in which people of all cultures and beliefs can participate.

About Sacred Heart Community Services

Founded in 1964, Sacred Heart Community Service is dedicated to bringing the community together to address poverty in Silicon Valley. Through a comprehensive array of resources, services, and community involvement initiatives, SHCS is making a real impact in the lives of working poor families.

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