By Dawn Hiltner
At the 2021 NJEA Equity Alliance on Jan. 16, NJEA President Marie Blistan announced that Visions Federal Credit Union has committed to a $1 million grant to NJEA to be used for the benefit of NJEA members and their students. The grant will be payable over 10 years, beginning in 2021. The first installment of the grant will support the creation of the NJEA Racial and Social Justice Institute under NJEA’s newly-created Office of Human and Civil Rights.
“NJEA is thankful to have Visions Federal Credit Union as our partner in public education,” Blistan said. “As educators, we help shape society. We have a great responsibility to instill compassion, courage, and conviction in the young people we teach and help our members meet the diverse and changing needs of our student population. Visions is helping make our vision of more equitable public schools a reality.”
The goal of the NJEA Racial and Social Justice Institute is to stand in solidarity in teaching on the issues of systemic racism, institutional racism, environmental racism, colorism, homophobia, and all other forms of inequity. The institute will provide high-quality training and workshops for educators, students, families and communities. It will also work to support local initiatives in public schools and county colleges.
Visions Federal Credit Union (FCU) has been serving the North New Jersey community since its 2012 merger with Paragon FCU in Bergen County and further expanded in the market with the 2014 merger of Tri-Co FCU, serving Morris, Warren, and Sussex counties. It has strong roots supporting educators and is excited to expand these opportunities to impact all educators in New Jersey, notably with the first installment being invested in the creation of the NJEA Racial and Social Justice Institute.
“Visions wanted to make a splash and a big impact across the state of New Jersey,” said Tyrone Muse, president and CEO of Visions FCU. “An investment of this size has the capability to make some real change, and when faced with a decision, partnering with NJEA was a no-brainer. Their vision for the institute has the capability to impact every educator and student in the state of New Jersey.”
The NJEA grant is part of Visions Federal Credit Union’s Visions Cares program (visionsfcu.org/cares), which is responsible for over $1 million in annual contributions to the communities they serve, as well as a work-force volunteer program that yields thousands of volunteer hours annually.
The credit union also created the Visions Loves Educators program (visionsloveseducators.com), a collection of products, services, and grants tailored to the needs of educators.
Dawn Hiltner is an associate director in the NJEA Communications Division. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.