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Three-Tier Diversity Engagement Initiative

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By Felicia Hudson Hannafan

1 minute

Everence FCU includes inclusion in its foundational thinking, strategic priorities and all-staff workshops.

Everence Federal Credit Union is a faith-based credit cooperative serving more than 30 church denominations and networks with historic roots or relationships with the Anabaptist faith community. Aphaphanh Nussbaum, MBA, SHRM-SCP, the credit union's diversity and recruiting coordinator, says inclusion at the $258 million organization in Goshen, Indiana, extends to being a workforce that reflects and values diversity of faith backgrounds, generations, cultures and talents, and building a welcoming work environment. 

The credit union has created a diversity engagement initiative that encompasses three tiers. Let's look at each of these in turn.

  1. The organization’s strategic priorities, which call for the credit union to be an employer of choice with a workforce that reflects the growing diversity of the communities it serves. Additionally, in serving its current and prospective client base, Everence FCU is developing vibrant, authentic relationships beyond its traditional European Anabaptist communities and building a stronger presence in urban, multicultural and intercultural settings. For example, the credit union opened a new branch in the summer of 2020 in northern Philadelphia to serve the unbanked or underbanked community located in the Kensington neighborhood. It also partnered with the Esperanza Health Center, a multi-cultural ministry that provides holistic healthcare to the Latino and underserved communities of Philadelphia. In addition, the credit unions strengthens its ties with members by offering loans to people who have Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers rather than more traditional Social Security numbers. 
  2. A framework for humanizing diversity and inclusion, based on the Milton Bennett Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity, which focuses on understanding how we, as humans, process information and how this impacts how we interact with others.
  3. All-staff engagement workshops designed to foster awareness, belonging and re-imaging, including everything from having employees share their individual stories to understanding social group identity and reconciling unity and diversity.

Formerly a member of the CUES marketing staff, Felicia Hudson Hannafan is a freelance writer based in the Chicago area.

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