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May 11, 2018

Freedom First star icon.Freedom First Announces Board of Directors at Annual Meeting

Freedom First recently held their annual membership meeting and announced the returning members of the board of directors. Filling the three open positions of the nine-member volunteer board are re-elected incumbent directors, Brent Cochran and Judith Harrison, and first-time director, Andrea Garland. The Freedom First Credit Union board of directors are democratically elected by the membership to serve three-year terms.

Brent Cochran is a Roanoke native and social entrepreneur committed to developing sustainable solutions through triple-bottom-line business methods. Brent has already served one term on the board and a few months on the Executive Committee. He holds an MBA in Sustainable Business, is an active entrepreneur and business leader, and a millennial. Brent is the Founding Director of LEAP, the Founding Advisor of the Grandin Co-Lab, General Manager of River Rock Climbing Gym, and Co-founder and Director of Community Sourced Capital.

Judith Harrison has had many years in the Credit Union movement on local and state levels and brings almost 40 years of experience serving on the Supervisory and Board of Directors positions. Judith represents the Credit Union well to our employees, members, potential members and the community at large. She is passionately involved in the Mountain View neighborhood preservation and revitalization efforts.

Andrea Garland offers a diverse cultural knowledge and technical expertise to the Board as an immigrant, young professional, and female engineer. After housing, transportation is on average the largest household expense for American families. Andrea has helped shape the way the Credit Union understands transportation, and brings new ideas on how transportation options can benefit members as a member of the Supervisory Committee.

“Our entire board of directors embodies the spirit of community and brings talent, expertise, and energy to help guide Freedom First,” said Paul Phillips, President and CEO. “We are very fortunate to have each of them by our side as we serve our members in the Roanoke and New River Valleys.”

The other six directors on Freedom First’s board include: Dan Merenda, Chairman; Wayne Strickland, Melinda Payne, Ron Williams, Michelle Dykstra, and Tim Sutphin. The board of directors is responsible for establishing strategic goals and guiding policies, as well as monitoring the performance of management.

May 1, 2018

Freedom First star icon. Freedom First Partners With Alzheimer's Association

Freedom First Credit Union in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association of Central and Western Virginia is proud to sponsor "The Crime of the 21st Century: How to Protect Older Adults from Financial Exploitation"This presentation is free and open to the public. Call (800) 272-3900 for information.

The #1 elder abuse issue is financial fraud...and it is growing. Learn how to avoid misuse of assets at this program. Medical, legal, banking, and law enforcement experts will share important information on protecting your resources. A Q&A will follow the panel presentation.

Esteemed Guest Speakers:
Karen A. Roberto, Ph.D, Director of the Institute for Society, Culture & Environment, and
Senior Fellow at the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech. Secondary appointee-Department of Internal
Medicine & Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Virginia Tech Carilion School
of Medicine. Primary architect of the MetLife Mature Market Institute studies on financial abuse.
Chris Desimone, Attorney, Anderson, Desimone & Green
Susan Drees-Armstrong, MBA, CFE, Special Agent Accountant, Virginia State Police
Sarah Andrews, Chief Operating Officer, Freedom First Credit Union

2 Venues and Dates:
May 15, 2018, 1-2:30 p.m.
South County Library, SOCO Auditorium - Room 155
6303 Merriman Road, Roanoke, VA 24018

May 17, 2018, 1-2:30 p.m.
Blacksburg Library,
200 Miller Street, Blacksburg, VA 24060


March 28, 2018

Freedom First star icon.Senator Mark Warner Visits Freedom First's West End Branch For Credit Union Town Hall

Freedom First welcomed Senator Mark Warner to a town hall style session for Credit Unions. The Virginia Credit Union League and the Senator's office were instrumental in organizing and promoting this event at the Freedom First West End Branch on Patterson Avenue in Roanoke. The West End Branch community room was filled to capacity with employees, other credit union invitees, and local politicians. The Senator spoke at length about the effect that Credit Unions have on their local communities, how banking regulations implemented in recent years affect smaller community banks, and his vision for changes that he hopes to see legislated in the coming months.

Dave Prosser (SVP — Community Development) and Sarah Andrews (Chief Operating Officer) also spoke with Senator Warner, bringing him up to date on Freedom First's initiatives in Southwest Virginia and the amazing outreach and impact that we have had on our members and communities. The West End Branch, with its community kitchen operated by LEAP for Local Food, is a prime example of what we hope to see in more food and bank deserts in our Valleys.

Freedom First is guided by our mission: Helping People Prosper - Helping Communities Thrive. It was our distinct pleasure to host Senator Warner and the town hall session.


March 19, 2018

Freedom First star icon.Freedom First St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Shamrock Festival Was a Smash Hit

The Freedom First St. Patricks Day Parade and Shamrock Festival was a resounding success. Freedom First was proud to be the title sponsor and enjoyed seeing the multitude of people and many of our members attend this event and enjoy community festivities. This heavily attended event featured floats, children's activities, live bands, food, and plenty of fun. Being the first big event of early spring, we were delighted to see a huge crowd again this year. Freedom First employees decorated and manned the first float in the parade as well as volunteered to help out with other activites like tickets, food stalls, and directing people.

Freedom First takes great pride in being a part of our communities in various ways. By sponsoring local events and bringing people together we believe that we are accomplishing our mission of Helping People Prosper - Helping Communities Thrive.

When you open an account at Freedom First we reinvest the profits locally by sponsoring local events and with our innovative suite of Community Impact Products. Call our Contact Center or Community Development team with questions. (540) 389-0244.

March 17, 2018

Freedom First star icon.You're Invited to the 2018 Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at the Salem Civic Center

All members are invited to the Freedom First annual meeting on Thursday, May 10, 2018 beginning at 6:30 pm at the Salem Civic Center to welcome our Board of Directors.

For 2018, the nominating committee has returned three nominations for the three vacancies on the Board, and as a result there will be no nominations taken from the floor at the annual meeting. Therefore, no election will be held for 2018 Board members.

Congratulations to our three new Board members:

  • Brent Cochran, Current Board Member
  • Judith Ann Harrison, Current Board Member
  • Andrea Garland, Current Supervisory Committee Member

We hope to see you there!

February 19, 2018

Freedom First star icon.Roanoke's Own Ed Walker Speaks at Freedom First 2018 Employee Meeting

All 180 Freedom First employees gathered in Salem on President's Day for the annual Employee Meeting. CEO Paul Phillips reviewed the past year, recognized stellar employees, and welcomed several guest speakers. 2017 Community Grant recipient The Prevention Council of Roanoke County spoke on their expanding Digital Literacy and safety program, as well as on how Southwest Virginia's opioid epidemic is affecting our youth. 

Ed Walker — Roanoke's very own Real Estate Developer, Roanoke Citizen of the Year (2014), Entrepreneur, & Idea Man — spoke about the importance of social enterprise and how as a credit union, Freedom First is in a prime position to bridge the gap between private business and charitable organizations. He expanded on this point by saying, "“The work you do is a necessary condition to individuals and the community becoming everything they can be. Access to capital and knowledge is a foundational requirement to a community reaching its full potential. I hope to see more investors and depositors make deposits at Freedom First to keep capital here in the community."

Tony Pearman, CEO of Access Advertising & Public Relations, closed the meeting with his recommendations on how Freedom First can provide even more excellent services, products, and member satisfaction in the year ahead. Be sure to keep an eye out on Facebook and Twitter to hear exciting updates! 
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