Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Giving Back: From Chili Cookoffs to Egg Carton Donations

By Desiree Canto, Community Relations Specialist

Our Lending IT department had a strong desire to contribute more to local organizations, while continuing to support other company-wide initiatives.

The team got creative with their giving efforts. They launched donation drives, penny wars, bake sales and friendly cooking competitions to support Second Harvest Food Bank (Second Harvest) and the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS).

This team volunteers twice a year at Second Harvest packaging food. During one of the volunteer shifts, the team discovered good eggs being thrown out because the nonprofit didn’t have a way to store them properly. So, the team now collects egg cartons throughout the year. 


“We have people from across the company providing egg cartons,” said Amanda Palovcsik, Senior Manager of Agile Practice. “It’s just a very simple, free way to give back to the community and help move food into the hands of those who need it.” 

One of their most popular events the team runs is its Annual Chili Cookoff. Employees get a chance to bring in their homemade chili and co-workers pay $5 to taste as many chilis as they like. Each chili is judged and certificates of excellence are awarded. 

The Chili Cookoff raises hundreds of dollars to help purchase gifts for the DAIS Adopt-A-Family program over the holidays. DAIS is a Madison-area non-profit that works to ensure the safety and well-being of domestic violence survivors and their families. And, October 2018 will be the Lending IT team’s third Annual Chili Cookoff to support it. 

“Volunteers are really at the heart of what we do, and we would not be able to reach as many people as we do without the support of the community” said Alyssa Theder, Volunteer and Community Engagement Coordinator at DAIS. “CUNA Mutual has really embraced DAIS, they work really hard to address the issue of domestic abuse internally as well.” 

Here at CUNA Mutual Group we have supported both Second Harvest and DAIS through corporate and department donations. We also have an Employee Resource Group (ERG) that focuses on Domestic Abuse Awareness at the company. It is one of 12 ERGs who work together to support fellow employees and local causes we all care about with awareness and volunteerism year-round. 

Learn more about how we give back and focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a business. 

Whether it’s in a group or individually, you can always make an impact on your community by supporting local non-profits. Tell us what volunteer opportunities you participate in on Facebook or Twitter.