First Tech FCU + Ground Up Coffee Shop + Java4Kids

“One of the things that we hope that these students will come away with is, for us, to strengthen financial well-being. They have the opportunity to manage the budget for the coffee shop, understand how to deal with money, and interact with team members and customers. What we do every day as a financial institution is to help our members with their well-being.”



with guests:

Monique Little
Chief People & Administration Officer of First Tech FCU

Nate LaMora
Education Liaison & Marketing Lab Manager of Hillsboro School District Ground Up Coffee Shop

Episode Summary

In this enlightening episode of the Digital Banking Podcast, Josh DeTar welcomed Monique Little of First Tech Federal Credit Union and Nate LaMora of Ground Up Coffee Shop. The trio discussed the innovative collaboration between a credit union and a local coffee shop designed to empower students and support community financial institutions. Through this partnership, they’ve created a model that benefits both the community and the participating students, providing them with invaluable real-world business experience.

Little shared the background of First Tech Federal Credit Union’s commitment to community engagement and its focus on supporting children’s education and well-being. LaMora detailed his journey with Ground Up Coffee Shop, highlighting the educational and social impact the program has on high school students. The initiative not only offers practical business skills but also contributes to scholarship funds, emphasizing financial literacy and well-being.

The episode underscored the importance of community-based partnerships in creating meaningful impact. By connecting coffee lovers with a cause, the collaboration between First Tech and Ground Up demonstrates the power of innovative thinking in addressing community needs. This partnership serves as a beacon for other institutions looking to make a difference, blending the love for coffee with the ethos of people helping people.

Key Insights

Ground Up Coffee Shop Brews Opportunities for Students

In an innovative twist on community engagement, First Tech Federal Credit Union, under Monique Little’s leadership, collaborated with Nate LaMora and the Hillsboro School District to establish Ground Up Coffee Shop. This unique initiative offers high school students a platform to gain real-world business experience, from managing operations to understanding customer service and marketing. The coffee shop, located within First Tech’s headquarters, serves as a practical classroom, empowering students with skills that extend beyond the academic, preparing them for future career paths while fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility.

First Tech’s Mission: Beyond Banking to Community Building

Monique Little illuminated the pivotal role of credit unions in enriching their communities, highlighting First Tech Federal Credit Union’s long standing commitment. This episode showcased how First Tech transcends traditional banking roles by deeply engaging in community initiatives, such as supporting children’s education and well-being. Through partnerships like the one with Ground Up Coffee Shop and contributions to initiatives like Credit Unions for Kids, First Tech exemplifies how financial institutions can leverage their resources and networks to create substantial, positive impacts on society, reinforcing the credit union mantra of “people helping people.”

Java4Kids: Where Every Sip Supports a Cause

The collaboration between First Tech Federal Credit Union and Tyfone introduced an ingenious philanthropic model, Java4Kids, spotlighted by both Little and DeTar. This initiative seamlessly turns the daily habit of coffee consumption into a vehicle for charitable giving, with proceeds supporting the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals via Credit Unions for Kids. By integrating the sale of high-quality coffee with their fundraising efforts, First Tech and its partners have crafted a sustainable, engaging way to rally community support around a vital cause, demonstrating the powerful synergy between commerce and philanthropy.

Guest At A Glance

Monique Little
Chief People & Administration Officer

First Tech FCU

Find Little On:

Monique is a community impact advocate.

Nate LaMora
Education Liaison & Marketing Lab Manager

Hillsboro School District Ground Up Coffee Shop

Find LaMora On:

Nate was instrumental in Ground Up Coffee Shop’s inception.

Josh DeTar: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Digital Banking Podcast. I have a very special episode planned for us today, and something little bit different than we normally do, and maybe a little bit outside of what we would traditionally talk about with digital technology, but as hopefully all of you who to this show faithfully have really gathered years of us producing it.

What’s so incredibly important to is giving an opportunity to bring ideas and perspectives that are focused on community financial institutions the amazing work that they do in their communities. 

And guests today probably one of my favorite shining examples of just that.

So, I, as you see, I’m joined by two amazing people today. I have first, Monique Little from First Tech Credit Union, a Chief and Administrative Officer. I’m also joined by Nate LaMora, who’s the Education [00:01:00] Liaison for school district and the marketing lab manager for Ground Up Coffee Shop.

So welcome to the show. The two of you. Thanks for joining me today.

Monique Little: So fun! Thank for inviting us.

Josh: Absolutely. Well, I mean, we’ve got a lot of really cool stuff to talk about. And, you know, like kind of said, second ago, it’s really about just talking to you know, Credit unions in specific so relentlessly focused on the impact and the value that they bring to the communities that they serve.

And I don’t know, I’m just going kind of throw it out there. think probably one of the things really gets a lot of us all fired up as kids, right? And supporting children and all the different stages their life. And, First Tech no stranger to that and specifically around the Credit Unions for Kids Initiative.

So Monique, I’d love to kind of start by having you talk through with us a little bit about, you know, First Tech’s History and in CU for [00:02:00] Kids, and just some of the different evolutions you’ve had in that space over the last, what, quite a few years.

Monique: Absolutely. Well, Josh, you I mean, you said it was spot on credit unions. think their core, we hear the phrase people helping people, used by credit unions across the country and, I that is what translated into, you know, The birth of credit unions for kids more than 30 years ago, and it’s and dear to because we were privileged at the to be led a CEO by the name of Tom Sargent, who with first tack as our CEO for years, and he believed there a way take this people helping people concept. that’s the root of credit unions and to actually form a community connection collectively and partnership with, a handful of credit [00:03:00] unions here in the Pacific Northwest, the concept of helping Children’s hospitals, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals specifically, born was, it started from a conversation this handful CEOs, who had collaborated together, on so many other fronts, started.

And, and thought, gosh, you know, if we could come together and only help our members, but help the community, what better to focus on future, which kids. And so the concept of credit for kids was born. And, you know, fundraising was very simple in the early days to selling bars and, asking and employees

be part of annual fundraising efforts, and then those translated after a number of years, to more sophisticated fundraising, which course, after a number of years, then [00:04:00] spread throughout the country. And, you know, I what’s so exciting for credit unions and what we of see when you look the top fundraisers Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Credit unions is up amongst the biggest fundraisers nationally. And what an amazing credit to credit unions to say that together, we could make that big of an impact the of hundreds of thousands of kids, and really make an impact on families. I  don’t know what better story credit unions could be telling than that.

Josh: I agree. So first off, not terribly familiar with the credit unions for kids story and just the amazing impact this organization has for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, actually go back in the archives of this podcast and episode 37. I was with Nick Coleman, [00:05:00] from Credit Unions for Kids. So absolutely go back in the archives, take a listen to, just talking a little bit about the impact, but also really cool shout out, you know, you were saying Monique that, CU Kids  one of biggest donors to CMNH hospitals, right? And,  actually we’re airing this podcast. Friday before the week that in Orlando credit unions is getting special honor from Miracle Network hospitals for all of the efforts that they do on their behalf.

So really cool stuff. I want to dig a little bit deeper into that. But before we do, Monique, I would love for you kind of tee up introduce our other good friend here, Nate from ground up. So talk to us about just kind of this Overall mission first tech, not just around credit unions for kids, but just around supporting local community and children multiple stages of life, just, in the younger

Monique: [00:06:00] Absolutely. Excited that I get to share this podcast with Nate because I remember meeting him for the first time as a high school student. to your point, he in very early days the beginning the Ground Up Coffee Shop here in corporate office in Hillsborough, Oregon. And the thing is about, the credit unions for story and kind of how really fit with the relationship and this opportunity to partner, with Hillsborough School District is, you know, our focus as an organization, all of our philanthropic giving volunteerism, the thousands of hours that our employees give to community, but the dollars that we invest, in advancing of the nonprofit work, of these really important organizations.

All centers around funding the future and it’s about kids. So all the that we do through credit for kids, but also supporting STEM and STEAM education, and supporting some of the very basic needs [00:07:00] like eradicated hunger and focusing on literacy, our philanthropic work is all about kids. So, many years ago, that translated into another really important relationship and that was with the Hillsborough School District. You know, the market where we have operations, where many of our employees live and work and many of the members, are in the Hillsborough community.

And so the relationship with Hillsborough School District has been longstanding and we’ve had the opportunity to partner with them on a number different fronts. but birth of coffee really came through, the construction of our new corporate office, back in the 2017 frame.

We to relocate because we’d outgrown existing space releasing a building and needed to do something different. And so this, beautiful campus, in Hillsborough through the course that construction, we employees you know, what are [00:08:00] some of things that you would like to see?

are some of the amenities and experiences that we can create if we’re really going to take a people first, employee first approach to this campus of ours for our employees? you know, one of employees said is we want convenience. And want to be able to have some of, you know, the things that love really accessible to us, able to get lunch easily of course, getting good coffee. So that was a piece of feedback from employees. And so, that really a conversation to Well, what is going to look Because unfortunately, we’re building campus in an area where the time, wasn’t a Starbucks.

There wasn’t a coffee that you know, in close proximity. And so started brainstorming and having conversations with our friends at Hillsborough District, which, by the are neighbors of our building. this concept of gosh, wouldn’t it be amazing if we could have a coffee shop on site for our [00:09:00] employees? and they, well, wouldn’t it be if we could figure how to help you with that? and actually to work. And we thought, win. And so the idea was born before the building was even finished, because it allowed us to actually in partnership with Hillsborough School District, this coffee shop, and construct it and then formulate this great program students can.

learn about business. They can learn about marketing. They can learn about customer service. can get exposed to the world of work as continuing their education. And hopefully be prepared launch their future after high school. And so that’s really ground up came to be a great demonstration of collaboration, partnership and how you continue to do good in the community.

Josh: That’s awesome. Nate, going to have to forgive me. I’m going to drop the epic, like dad joke, Mike on this one. But so tell us, how [00:10:00] did you get on the ground up ground up? I told

Nate LaMora: really did.

Josh: Sorry.

Monique: He’s speechless. was pretty good, Josh.

Nate: I’m at a loss of words here. no, I was super fortunate to be able to jump on that train to help build it from the ground up. It was, I mean, it was so fast paced back then because like Monique said, when the idea was pitched and when, the Hillsborough School District began working with First Tech.

The head of the program at the time, who’s my current boss now, she was just getting everything rolling out. She was just trying to get the wheels turning, trying to get people as part of the program. I mean, really, we were entirely designing it. There was so much freedom in that space. When they pitched the idea of having a coffee shop, of having a work experienced class, I mean, gosh, I didn’t really know what to expect.

We were expected to entirely [00:11:00] design the name, the logo, I mean the entire marketing mix, the promotional mix for what ground up was. We helped in terms of curating the menu of, right, designing just the most basic, you know, facets of that. And there was so much guidance along the way, which I have to give credit to.

I mean, they didn’t leave us stranded there. They definitely set us up for success. And yeah, it’s just been, it’s such a cool opportunity, especially for someone who, You know, education wasn’t always, you know, my strong suit and social skills were, you know, even still are now tough. It’s a really neat program to, to help you break out of your shell, to allow you to meet some amazing people and just get you out there.

I think that’s the best way to put it.

Josh: Yeah. So for of you listening, if you to first text headquarters, like Monique was saying, they’re in Hillsborough. I mean, yeah, I mean, this is like obvious, no brainer connection that needed happen. Like if you’re in the Pacific Northwest, coffee is like, for blood for us.

So I understand [00:12:00] Monique’s concerns about like, there was no coffee shop near us. that was something had think about in our building. How do we solve for that problem? But so if go to their beautiful, headquarters there in Hillsboro. You don’t have to be a member, you don’t even need to get a badge.

Go in, go right up to the first floor, up the flight of stairs. And there’s this Ground Up Coffee Shop, at the of stairs that you can go and just a cup of coffee. So folks from local businesses come in, members come in, staff obviously use this. And this all run organized by the high school students of Hillsboro school district, right?

So Nate, talk to us a little bit about just the structure of it. So, you know, when are guys open? What kinds of things serve? Through, you you know, you even plan all marketing the menus. So, you know, walk us through a little bit how you’ve structured this program.

Nate: Oh, absolutely. Each year we have a new student group that enters. Sometimes we have a few, you know, veteran students who help lead the way. You know, train and so forth, but [00:13:00] really we, I mean, the name speaks for itself. We are restarting every year and these students have the opportunity to work from a basis, right?

We, the business itself stays the same. We have a set menu of coffee items. We have other beverages as well, such as Red Bull, smoothies, Italian cream sodas, so on. You know, we have a lot of different fans out there. So trying to appeal to the people. We also offer local pastries from different businesses within the area.

We are currently open 8 to 11 and are working on expanding hours. It really is just dependent on first tax availability, with budget and then HSDs with getting the students over. But I mean, yeah, they, when we start the year off, we sit everyone down, get everyone trained just in the basics, right?

Becoming baristas, becoming individuals who work within customer service, but. I think the biggest part for me is seeing where everyone is at from a business academia level and from, you know, culinary perspective. Because then we get to elevate, right? You can learn a concept in the [00:14:00] classroom, you can, you know, talk about what unique value proposition is, but you don’t really understand that until, right, you’re truly trying to serve UVP, when you’re really trying to push out, you know, value that you hold dear to yourself and your institution.

And I think I mean, I’ve just been extremely blessed by this entire program because, I mean, it gave me the chance to go to college. There’s a scholarship attached for students, so all the tips that go in are funneled into a fund for scholarships. That itself was a huge step, but it’s so much more than that.

Like, I mean, when I had that opportunity, I was able to make so many amazing friends. I still talk to so many of the first tech employees who were just so charitable to myself and my peers and to our students now. I mean, it’s the best environment you can work in just because you are, you’re in a safe space where you can, right, engage with these different concepts when you’re able to build yourself up, but then you also are just serving the nicest people in the world.

I mean, it’s really, it’s a communal space and [00:15:00] to Monique’s point earlier. I mean, we. We are doing amazing things because we can act as another community builder in First X Block. We bring everyone from our business part together, or at least we try to, and recognizing that potential, recognizing the importance of, you know, tabilizing interaction and, you know, positive change, that’s, it’s something that’s very rewarding and seeing the students benefit from that has been, it’s been such a privilege.


Josh: You know, just thinking about the program, like it’s so intelligent forethought from the team at first tech of, you know, attaching this to coffee. Because it’s one of those habitual things, right? Like, I mean, you and I were joking this morning we watched Greg come through and he gets his four shots of espresso every morning.

And like how many of us so addicted this stuff that it is like a part of my regimen every morning. And I’m like, don’t talk me before coffee. it that level for a lot of people like and so. It’s something that [00:16:00] not like we’re asking people to go outside of their normal behavior or outside day to activities to engage in community and engage in, you know, actually doing some good with the money they were spend anyway, right? We’re all going to go get our coffee somewhere. I’m going to go get it from Starbucks or Dutch Bros or wherever it may I’m going to get coffee question is just who’s getting money. And so this is a really concept that, you know, it allows, like you’re like tech as they’re coming into the office in the morning say, Hey, you know what?

I’m just going to coffee from up. And then they’re actually supporting local that has actually more meaning and add that’s being created than just. Giving your money a large, you know, coffee retailer. Pick your name of choice. But so, I mean, it’s a really cool program you all thought through. I mean, what kind of led you down? kind of touched on it a little bit, what led down the path of actually saying, Hey, you know what, rather than put coffee shop in, it to be [00:17:00] a coffee shop, kind of with a cause.

Monique: Yeah, I mean, I again, I, you know, I it’s just our DNA. I think every credit would credit union would say that sure. But I think, for us, it was and team and I had the privilege you know, leading the construction of, of this campus. And so members of my team, you know, that highly involved in creation of facility.

We’re all engaged, from 30 year smart to, folks that were already really involved the community. And it was really at the heart of who they are. And so I think because of those individuals and their just passion for doing work with kids, it’s what generated sort brainstorming piece of it and to say, Hey, if we’re to put in a coffee shop, and how do we do it economically?

And, but also with [00:18:00] intention, the natural solution was like, Hey, can we partner with them? and put them to work. was sort of initial t And, but then it was like, wow, well, that going to involve us to try employ students and for us to have manage it? then that seemed like kind of a tall order, right?

so there, it led to, well, gosh, some relationships, in the local schools. There opportunity there? So that’s really sort of was the behind conversation with Hillsborough School District was like, hey, we think, employing kids, would be a great approach to consider.

But probably too much for us to take on ourselves. So how can we find somebody to help us? And that’s that partnership really came in. And, you know, to the point, you know, It took no time at all for employees to behind the idea of the employees were absolutely enthusiastic about, [00:19:00] the opportunity to interact with kids and us to do work in partnership community.

So, we knew that they would get behind it. And that just made it even more successful. Yeah.

Josh: over the last little bit, but think this is also a real to you personally, Monique, if you me to make that bold of a statement, but I think so many times that we talk about things, right? And yes, the credit union industry has motto of people helping people, but it’s the time to something through. makes the big difference, And really easy to just have conversation about something you have. That’d be a cool idea. That looks like a lot of work. Like, ah, know what? first text, not going on doing whole thing. We’re just, we’ll abandon ship. We’ll, you know, use that as a coat closet instead of a coffee shop.

Like we’ll just move on. Right. I it’s really to make those kinds of, [00:20:00] Statements then not through with it. And there was a lot of work went into actually following through this idea, right? can’t imagine how much of this probably a, you know, a part time job you just going process just coffee shop while you’re, let alone building a brand new campus.

And we’ll touch on this but that’s also kind of why we’re today and why, we’re doing this next level partnership you and I got talking, like it could have been really easy for you to go. Yeah, that was a nice conversation. And out of sight, out of mind and when we’re done, but it’s kind of having that special realization of, Hey, We put a little bit of effort into this could be pretty So to, we’re to put the effort in.

Monique: Well, you’re very kind. And I say that, I’m grateful that I work an organization that always had sort of innovation and creativity, as sort of part of our culture and who we are. And so I that’s a space, to invite conversations like the one we with Hillsborough School District, [00:21:00] like the one josh and I had, right?

So I I’m just Proud to be in organization makes for all. employees to do that. You know, we a community garden out, on campus a couple of years ago because an employee came with idea, you know, that walking in the office every day and saying some, you know, green space out there that isn’t getting used anything.

So, is there reason why can’t grow out there that then donate to one of our partners? And, that’s how garden So I think You know, well, I appreciate compliment. I want credit to an organization that’s created an environment, that invites those conversations and that creativity.

Cause I think where great ideas can bubble up from anywhere.

Josh: Yeah, I love that. it’s something that actually comes up a lot on the podcast money. Is just talking about, you know, of credit unions, superpowers collaboration [00:22:00] and then the spirit behind enabling that collaboration really allowing people look for opportunities to create partnerships that you know, a value beyond just the idea, right?

you know, Nate, were talking about just how many wins this has for the coffee shop for you all. Yeah. Right. So talk to me a little bit about how this has turned into some wins the high school students. you were on just the opportunity for them to have some, you know, experience, socializing running coffee shop, also running, you know, a team and working on, you know, running a retail store and customer service elements. So how does that kind fall into win categories for the students?

Nate: I touch on that, I just want to say, on Monique’s point, a very profound one, right? When we talk about how this organization at First Tech has allowed for so many different voices to be heard, this level of creativity, I think it’s hilarious because right now bringing in [00:23:00] Java4Kids, it ignited a passion in the students.

I mean, they are obsessed with wanting to help, to support. They’re looking at different efforts that we can make to be more sustainable to, right, supporting the different initiatives that, First Tech employees have taken on. And I think, To that, right? When we talk about these various wins that we’ve, that we’ve accomplished with partnering with being able to support the amazing your work that y’all do.

I mean, they’ve taken it full force, whether that be right, designing the promotional materials and really testing their skills because we have students from various disciplines. I mean, one of our, one of our kids right now, She is focused in an art pathway and has found a knack for marketing through that.

I mean she has completely designed the posters. She’s taking so much time to actually like go through and write fully draft those out You just see a level of dedication like no other And that’s what this is all about, right? But finding connection through it and being able to to really make something out there to right bring our passions to fruition aside from that, I mean just [00:24:00] even right talking about the You The missions that we’re aiming for here, right?

The end goals of supporting Children’s Miracle Networks and making an impact in that way. That in itself has been so rewarding because I feel like we see the students becoming more involved, more focused in their work when they are talking to customers about, right, the beans that we’re serving. I mean, it was never like that before because we didn’t have that aligned mission.

Right. Social corporate responsibility goes such a long way. And to see the students really care about their work, to align with that, it means the world. So, in that sense, Java4Kids has been more than a win for GroundUp. It’s been extremely game changing. I feel like we are having a restart in itself, just from seeing the culture shift.

Josh: Super cool. Now, you know, and that brings up a good point, Nate, right? I even myself you know, going through [00:25:00] high school and if somebody gives me a and they’re like, we’ve told you what the is, it’s due on Tuesday. this is for a grade. And you’re like, I don’t know, me personally, probably just tried mail it as cheaply as I could.

Some much students out there than I was that actually some effort into it. But about like actually aligning to a mission and something that excites you and that on. personal passions and you’re like, Hey, you know what? This is not even just to get a grade.

Like I’m working on this piece of marketing collateral for this coffee shop that I’m working in doing some greater good in a multitude of other avenues. But on top of that, getting to, you know, do something I enjoy, fun around and be creative and kind of that process learn from. So you’re getting some. Outside box experience in that sense too, right? I mean,

Nate: No, I couldn’t put any better. And, you know, to that note, I mean, watching them also develop their [00:26:00] portfolios, because that goes such a long way, you know, when they can write on their own, because back when, right, I graduated from the program is as fortunate as I was, right, there were only so many things that we were doing at the time, but now, right, they can legitimately discuss and showcase the work that they’ve accomplished partnering with external organizations, right?

Building, different initiatives on their own and in collaboration. I mean, it’s just so cool. And I mean, I think you’ve said it best too, but traditional academia is not for everyone. And in College and Career Pathways at HSD, the Hillsborough School District, we’re trying to, we’re trying to recognize that we’re trying to make sure that we provide different avenues for all students to have the best success, right?

There’s no one path forward. And I’m very proud of the fact that Ground Up is at least attempting to deviate from that mark to, right, make a change in that regard. And it’s thanks to the amazing organizations that are for a second job and for kids that we can do [00:27:00] that. These partnerships make a difference.

Josh: I definitely see, you’re saying lots of wins to this program, right? So you see just the, the they get to have, the educational element out of it, the career training, the real world training, but let’s honest, there’s one other big piece of this barely touched on and that’s, you know, raising some funds for scholarships for these kids too. You know, Monique, you can chime in here cause you’re in the thick of it college age kids. Right. But, I’ve

Monique: Times two. You’re right, Josh.

Josh: like I got two young kids just sitting down with our financial advisor talking about how much we need to set aside for college tuition mind boggling. So, I mean, we want to be able to give kids, I mean, think can speak for Monique and I on as parents, like, The number one thing I care about life, most important thing for me in life is setting my kids up for success, right? And just that they’re taken care of and shown love and given every opportunity to succeed.

And making sure they have [00:28:00] opportunities for things like higher education is so important. so, you know, is also fulfilling a really important need and just literally the actual financial side supporting kids having access to higher education. So Nate, do you want to talk a little bit about just how that program works?

Nate: Absolutely. I mean, it’s something that from the start, It was kind of, it was designed for the purpose of elevating different opportunities. I mean, because for most of us in the program, I mean, college was out of the question. I mean, it was out of scope. And I feel like, I mean, aside from just providing financial levity, even reminding the students within our course that, right, there are those who care about, you know, getting them to that next step, to that next level.

It’s so huge. And, right now, how, It currently operates is whenever, you as a customer tip the students, all that is funneled into a separate fund that completely funds scholarships. At the moment, it’s 500 per term. So the [00:29:00] maximum a student could receive, being two years in the program would be 2, 000.

And I mean, it does, it goes a long way. I mean, we also have so many, amazing customers who. That you have come out and, you know, said, hey, like, you know, what can we do to, you know, further support this? Because, I think the biggest part is just giving kids that chance that isn’t typically there, or isn’t at least accessible to the, you know, to the easiest degree.

We are continually trying to improve that, to make it more of a fluid process, to, to increase that funding so we can, right? really provide security for those out there. And again, thanks to initiatives like, like what we’re doing now. I mean, it’s bringing a spotlight to that.

Josh: Monique, I think,

Monique: Josh, and if I if I may, because I, you know, scholarship I think is really important. But I also that, one of things that we hope that these [00:30:00] students will come away with is for us to strength financial well being right. They have the opportunity to budget, you know, to manage a budget the coffee shop to understand how to deal with money.

And to interact with team members that, you know, what we do every day as a financial institution is to help our members their well being. And so for us able to extend that to these students, not just by scholarship, but hopefully equip some knowledge, that will help them the future.

Because think we can appreciate important. Financial well is to our mental well and our physical well being, regardless to Nate’s point whatever path you take, you know, those are important skills, us to able to build and to those available.

everybody has them. And so I think for us to be able to extend these students, is [00:31:00] something is important to us.

Josh: this is why you’re pro. That’s exactly what I was going to tee you talk about. You jump right

Monique: Dang it. Sorry. I got

Josh: I love it. I know. No, it’s but I can’t, I think this is going to sound silly, but again, that to when the right people are thinking about these types of initiatives, like where your head goes, right?

And this is why this to be holistically thought out type of program is because there are so many different of potential impact that are available when have the right mindset. And this is why I this aligns so well to the credit union mission helping people, right, is to your exact point, what’s one of the biggest areas that credit unions can really have a positive impact in the early stages of, young lives.

helping set up healthy financial futures for them and helping get the education that they need. it on the podcast recently. I was out of town, so you it, but I had to go [00:32:00] coffee from somewhere else. It was maybe a big box, but I was talking to the girl coffee shop and somehow came up that I work in, FinTech whole thing.

And she was like, Oh yeah, that’s just a for me. was like, what do you mean? tell me more. talking about, she goes, well, I mean, like, I know I have a credit But I don’t know like what it means and I don’t know why I care and my My school, think taught me how to write Yeah, I think I know how to write a check she was but that’s it. I don’t know anything else about finances. I’m like, man, what a missed opportunity Right, like this is where we stepping in and you know, somebody that’s talking about their well being From a place of care and, and from a place that actually, you know, wants see them succeed.

And let’s be honest. And this is where this kind ties back this podcast. You think about the competition that’s coming into the credit space these days in, the Neo banks the and, you know, big tech [00:33:00] getting into banking. Look, I’m just going to say super bluntly. they don’t care, right?

They’re all out for a margin. They’re all out for revenue. all out for quarterly and what they show their shareholders. And it’s a different coming from a credit union. And you see that exactly. And Monique immediately up on Hey, one of the other wins here is financial education for these students.


Monique: Absolutely. Yeah, I think that’s a differentiator. Right? I think as as credit what unions can do. And I think you combine with, you know, again, passion for Children’s Miracle Network. you know, making a difference in the of kids. I mean, you do it through, you know, if kids aren’t healthy there, they can’t learn, they can’t they can’t thrive.

And then the next, I think, the that goes hand so many with young families who are dealing devastation kiddo is it’s so financially families, right? And so to able to [00:34:00] impart, you know, that knowledge, those resources, that level of support, I think is so important.

And it’s something I think as credit we can get behind the literacy piece. then when you combine kids and families with it, wow, it’s really a powerful combination. we can a tremendous impact when we do it together

Josh: yeah. Well, and I think that’s, what’s cool about this to me, right. Is that you think about it’s literally something as simple as somebody may just a cup of coffee to them, all they did was buy a of coffee. But in the last 35 minutes you’ve seen just how many little that one cup coffee you bought has touched.

Impacts that it has from interaction that high school student to with you as a customer to all the work that went back end preparing to make that cup of coffee for you present for that to the wins that out of, being part of a [00:35:00] union, that’s to be in an environment that’s encouraging financial education and awareness and literacy to the on the job training there, get to the scholarship fund getting out of being part of I mean, it’s just ridiculous. All that cup coffee that you bought. It’s super simple, but like impact is huge. Nate, so you’ve been a part of this since very beginning, right? And you were talking about how, you know, there’s kind of been a new invigoration of the program. So, one of the other reasons that we’re this today is if have been a listener of our podcast, or, unfortunate enough follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen and heard a lot from me about our program, for Kids, you can to Tyfone website, or directly, you can order coffee are shipped directly to you. You can get them in variety of roasts. You can everything from small bags to five pound bags. If somebody me who has an unhealthy addiction with coffee, and [00:36:00] you get it in any type grind you want whole bean.

But, The really the important part of that is, is that for every bag of coffee that’s sold, percent of the proceeds or 5 is donated to Credit Unions for Kids. And this is kind of how this, really got point was, I was at the first tech headquarters for a completely unrelated meeting. And I’m standing there, you know, getting ready to go into the meeting and I see the coffee shop. And again, if you know me well enough know, you know, I’m not going pass a coffee shop a cup of coffee. So I stopped and of coffee. And Monique was there coffee shop getting a cup of coffee as well.

And we got to talking and talked about program ground up had their first tech. And then I telling her a little bit our Java4Kids program. And immediately her brain goes well, hey, we something together. And then it didn’t end there. So the long short of this that now, Nate I identified actually ordering through our same roaster, kind of leveraging our bulk ordering has lowered their cost their [00:37:00] coffee.

So ground coffee shop sourcing coffee the for kids program direct. And that we’re kind of running as a separate program. So anytime ground up orders coffee, add no additional markup. all of the fees for it. So what means is all those proceeds of the additional that they’re having on saving what their coffee costs are is going funds for operating the coffee shop and, you know, those donations and scholarships and things.

then turn. up is just that they’re using the Java4Kids coffee on giving folks that come into the coffee shop an to purchase the for kids coffee with kind of the concept of, hey, If you want somebody else to make coffee today, let ground up, take care of it.

If you need a bag coffee for home, get it from for kids and make

Monique: for your weekend coffee

Josh: Exactly. Weekend nighttime [00:38:00] coffee, that kind of thing. But, but so that’s kind of how this partnership has unfolded. So, we’re recording the podcast today on April fool’s day. this is not an April Fool’s, but we went live officially also shout out. It’s also Nate’s birthday. So happy birthday, Nate, out of the bag. Sorry, man. 

Nate: Fair enough.

Josh: But, so today Ground Up Coffee Shop went live Java4Kids beans, and the for kids branding. So Monique, I’d love to just your perspective on, what kind of went your head when we were talking how do see getting from conversation to now what it has become today and what do you see some of the wins out of that?

Monique: Oh, my gosh. Well, I mean, first of all, get drink great coffee. were kind enough to expose me to some of the coffee a number of months ago last year, and it delicious. And so, you know, as you and I got as you said, was just again [00:39:00] this idea like, a minute. Why? are we not? something together. Like I make something this and you know, not knowing the logistics of school district how they sourcing coffee process whatnot. but again, it’s sort of how ideas and collaboration can result in something pretty exciting, which to your when they get to some money, we to drink some pretty fabulous coffee.

And me, I the idea that how do expose more people to the opportunity to enjoy great coffee for a cause, And so, potential that this to our employees. And as and I talked about, Josh, sky’s I there’s so many more things that we can do.

Expose more of our members of other team members, other credit unions, to Java how we can get great coffee in people’s hands, but yet do [00:40:00] at the same time. I it’s so exciting. fact that it’s like, Hey, let’s something, and figure out how this works.

And then tell the story hopefully create, a concept that replicated by other people. Bigger the impact the more kids that we can make difference for. And for me, I mean, that means like, on, let’s do it. Let’s, figure out how we, how we take this on grander scale see the impact and when you.

have the opportunity to one of our Children’s hospitals and meet firsthand the families and the kids whose have been absolutely transformed. You want to do everything in your power. And when you’re a parent, know this, Josh, want every parent to be able to create an environment that their kid can in.

And to to, have a long and fruitful life. And so I’m just so excited we can get this pilot going and, [00:41:00] excited see where it leads us.

Josh: Monique, you were just talking about. Like the that it has the parents I’ll with you, you know, when we had our second, our little Annie, she was 10 days old and got a bad case of RSV and my wife took her to the urgent care here near our house. They took one look at her and basically said, she’s got to go to the ER immediately. And they rushed her to Doernbecher ER. And so was home with our son, a family member to come watch and then went to Doernbecher to meet them. And what, I mean, it was absolutely one of those profound moments in my life that I I’ll ever forget. I can picture Doernbecher logo and they even have a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, you know, logo there at Doernbecher. I mean, it just, it me like a truck walking in and seeing that. thinking, man, now a parent with little fragile infant here in this hospital. And I’m getting [00:42:00] amazing care from people who that, you know, are passionate about the care that they provide to these children. And this is what my silly little Java4Kids thing is supporting.

Like is important stuff. And, and so is a really neat opportunity to just to give people a different way help contribute to making a profound impact in people’s lives at a time where they may need it more than ever, right? The last thing you want with a sick kid is to be worrying about your finances. You know, you made comment earlier, Monique, that I actually, as soon as he said it, I totally forgot about it until you made comment. And I my gosh, I remember that. I remember seeing chocolate bars in my branch my credit like 20 years ago for credit unions, for kids, right?

I remember buying a chocolate bar every once a while. I started laughing when you made that comment. Cause I was man, I’d feel pretty crummy today. If I was like, Hey, you do me a favor? will every single day, you buy a candy bar from us? [00:43:00] You know, to raise money, probably not the healthiest thing I could be advising, but coffee, I feel great about that.

Drink all the coffee you can folks, like go get some coffee and make a donation to credit unions for Like, so this is almost kind of evolution of a new way for employees members of credit unions to be able make simple purchases they in their normal everyday lives and a really profound impact out of what they’re doing.


Monique: chocolate my coffee, so I mean, we might have to bring chocolate bars back. But to your point, I think the impact can certainly be bigger and coffee’s a must right? It’s a, it’s an everyday for. of us, many of us. it’s part our everyday routine.

And so I think this is gonna so relevant folks and being able to give back at the same time is, you know, getting some of basic everyday necessities covered. How easy [00:44:00] is that?

Josh: now you got worried now got me thinking I’m going to wake up tonight at in the morning and go, now we have start cocoa for kids. but so Nate, I want to say thank right? You’ve just been such an incredible partner through this whole process to of working with us to identify, how can insert now? I mean, goodness, we go down the list. There’s lot of brands that are represented between, you know, tech up in Hillsborough school district, now for kids, Miracle Network Hospitals, unions for kids have a fun offshoot angle payment space helping processing the payments for coffee shop to improve efficiency, give ahead.

I mean, kind of ridiculous going down this line. So I want to thank as well being willing on these initiatives and these projects because it’s time job.

Nate: It’s, first off, I mean, thank you for your kind words, but I have to shoot it right back because y’all have just been, I mean, everyone who’s been involved with this process has been [00:45:00] amazing to work with. I mean, the work that y’all are doing is so impactful and more than anything, right? I mean, working at a school district, right, we want to give opportunities.

We want to make sure that we are doing the most we can to create a better future for our youth, to be able to provide opportunity in unique ways to expand out. And it’s thanks to the innovation and the uniqueness of these initiatives that we can do that. And more than anything on a personal note, I mean, I never want to impose on the kids my own values or my own ideas, but knowing that we can have such a large effect on those that we serve and with the work that we’re doing, I personally think it’s important that we engage with partners that we want to work with, that we believe in, and I fully believe in what Java4Kids is doing.

Seriously, Josh, thank you.

Josh: Well, kind of [00:46:00] brings me to, you know, Monique, you were saying, there’s big opportunity here, right. And especially with the opportunity to scale and the real impact that this can have, you know, just, crunching some really simple, silly numbers, look, got a hundred unions to follow first text lead and kind of promote the Java4Kids, angle for members to, you know, Get that and their chocolate bar got a hundred credit unions to do that and they simply 25 bags of coffee a month, it would generate over 150, 000 each year for credit unions, for kids and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, And again, you it, like you’re saying, I mean, all drink coffee every day. It’s not that hard to think about just 25 bags of coffee, but the impact could have on somebody’s life. I mean, that’s money we’re talking about. You know, Monique, I’d to your thoughts on, you know, that you, like I said, and your incredible team at First Tech have [00:47:00] really kind of seized the opportunity, to leverage this as another avenue, to, you know, Increase the amount of work that you do in creating donations for CU for kids.

Like, you see this something First Tech could continue to evolve roll out? And what would maybe be some of your recommendations for other credit unions that want to be a part of it?

Monique: Yeah, I the power of the collective as you describe, getting 100 credit unions, is so I what we hope to to take, this pilot, that running and, again, create a if you will, that we then make to other credit unions.

Because credit are all about sharing, and collaborating and, you know, Each succeed on so many different fronts and we run our business and how we serve our members, in how we create experiences our employees. And so why not think about how we create a model that then, be, you know, turnkey solution [00:48:00] that another credit union could adopt, and make available, to their employees, to their members.

And I Josh, You know, your numbers in my mind are super conservative about 25 bags of coffee. We’re simply selling our employees, peasy, 25 bags of coffee a month, right? But if we about then how extend that opportunity to our members, think of hundreds of millions people we the country are members of credit unions.

Josh: Yeah,

Monique: so I as stand up this concept help other credit unions, follow suit and share this their employees, and find success in doing think the national, natural is that we look at how do we extend this to our members, because members want of connect.

They already see. feel sense of connection to their credit union collective, right? They are shareholders, they [00:49:00] own our institution. And so I’m a big believer that our members, are going to embrace like employees do if we introduce and give them opportunity to be part, be part of this.

So I think, you know, I, and I’ve talked, I think I’ve got big ideas. got ideas how we can, you know, you know, take this just it to credit unions, and their employees. But we’re going to start there and we’re going to build something I think is again, you know, toolkit of sorts that we can share with other organizations say, here’s how you launch it.

Here’s collateral you use, make it your own, run with it. Let’s just make some money and help kids. then how do we sort of extend to the next phase? Of journey together.

Josh: Yeah, so excited. I’m with I mean, I put those numbers together to be ultra conservative just to show even with kind of what I agree, if we roll this out to members, like that’s kind of joke of a number. silly number, but it generates that kind [00:50:00] of, donation value. So, you know, you think about, we first started this program, a joke. We’re ah, you know, we’ll do some We’ll raise some money. And just our own Tyfone employees buying coffee, like, Hey, we’re going to buy it anyway. We might as well make donation out of it while we’re making our purchases.

it into some of partners in the industry started to do it. And then now credit unions. But ultimately to your point, want to reach a massive scale, that’s to really throw that needle. It’s to members, right? And the people that we serve. And I love what said.

It is, we are members of credit unions because that sense of community, because we want to belong to something that is different. And because we that connection to community and the good that it does, this is an opportunity for people to do that. So I really cool idea to, to roll to members.

And I agree. I think I’d to hope those are really conservative numbers. Nick would to say that those are going to be really conservative

Monique: [00:51:00] Well, and I think, you know, thanks to you and Tyfone setting up Java4Kids, because you’ve created a way for credit unions to do this so easily and seamlessly. Again, back in the days of selling candy bars, we had to and buy. Boxes of candy bars, and front cost and then distribute those to, all of the branch locations on then manage the selling, you know, payments and then making that got funneled into the right account all of that.

But with Java for you know, it’s really. So as simple as just advertising telling the story, and then letting employees and hopefully, you know, in not long from now, members code, make an have this convenience of having it shipped directly to your home. And so we get out of the business of, you know, trying to stock manage, all of the logistics go along with doing types of [00:52:00] campaigns, that all done, in so many shapes sizes over the years. Something so simple, but where we can generally generate a lot of money.

Josh: Yeah. I mean, that’s a point when he gets just the behind this concept is to be really super turnkey, right? With virtually zero lift on the credit unions side. This is, you know, you’re somebody, you’re a union that is already actively involved in credit unions for kids, this is just another way to augment the work that you’re doing there without putting anything really on your plate.

Or not involved, but you’re looking way to get involved and maybe have a big team that can create, you know, incredible event like first text, golf tournament every year. They’re Northwest classic. Like if you don’t have team to something like that, you can still do something. You can still roll out QR code a, you know, a branch with a little bit text about, Hey, like coffee? you do, ship it directly to you. And time you make a purchase, you know, you have an [00:53:00] impact on a child’s life. It’s a pretty cool story. on top we’re also working with Nate and his team at ground to even together some plans for, you know, if credit unions would also again, take first lead in, you know, partnering a local school district to put a coffee shop in, like, what would that look like? I think this is such cool model, model. We’ve, you know, seen how many winds out of it. And it’s, it takes work to get and running and it takes work to support, think it in comparison to the value that it adds. Well, we are also going to be, releasing after this podcast airs. On April 9th, an official release, kind of highlighting the partnership between First Tech Ground Up and Java4Kids, with credit unions for kids and then myself and the amazing man, Mr. Greg the CEO of first tech will actually be on site for that [00:54:00] really cool event in Orlando. where credit unions for kids is accepting, the honor from the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. So of amazing things happening in the CU for kids world, just over the next little bit and, shameless plug friends, this I’ve been really hard fast, podcast will be a sales We don’t bring people to pitch products today. Probably like a little of a pitch and I’m okay with one this around, cause it’s a pitch for good. So shameless plug at the of this. You know, Monique’s said no more than probably, or no less than probably 10 times throughout.

want to see the collaborative get behind this. We would like to see additional support. We’d to numbers get bumped up and we’d like to see people join us in helping to, you know, use this as an avenue for generating donations to credit unions for kids. So I want to thank the two you, for being guests on a podcast today, just to talk about it. But quite frankly, this podcast episode wouldn’t exist if people like you didn’t care and put in the work. So I want to thank the both of you for just [00:55:00] the effort that you put into these programs. And Monique especially just a huge shout out to the First Tech team. It’s a very obvious, the, just the and the passion that you have for the credit unions, for kids, movement.

So thank both. I really appreciate it.

Monique: Well, thank for the invitation. And, I hope everybody after listening is out at Java, the number four kids. And placing an order. I personally, highly recommend barrel. It’s my favorite. I think, you you the page, Josh, they’re all good. We got to sample, the India roast this morning.

So can’t go wrong any available. But, yeah, give a taste. I think you’ll be hooked and, you’ll definitely, help kids in the process. So, yeah. Good stuff.

Josh: Thanks Monique.

Nate: Absolutely. Thank you, Josh, for having us. Monique. It’s always a pleasure sharing the stage with you. Sincere to, you know, all the viewers. Not that my voice really matters here, [00:56:00] but thank you for considering because it really does make such a large difference. And,

Monique: wouldn’t be here

Josh: Yeah, we’re not ending on that note, Nate. I know a


Josh: but

Monique: student number one and now, chief in charge of, the student coffee shop been one of our champions, one. So, 

Nate: It’s the students that,

Monique: to have you.

Nate: it’s really the students who run it though, and that’s what I love about it, and with this too, right, just, the power to give back, the power to, you know, empower others. Yeah. It’s amazing.

Josh: is what this all about. You know, this podcast has been about that from the second one. It’s really bringing unique ideas and perspectives to the table in kind of this long form, unscripted conversation. To really bring a highlight to the amazing work that credit unions and community financial institutions do in everyday people’s lives and the number ways that they do that.

And quite frankly, just can we continue to elevate that? So yes, that happens in things like the digital transformation and kind of the big topics we [00:57:00] typically about, but it also happens in really cool ground up programs like this. So, again, I just want to thank the both of you. For everything that you do, and thank you for being guests on the Digital Banking Podcast.

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