United Federal Credit Union donated more than $700 to local children’s charities during the 2018 Pay It Forward initiative.

As part of the Pay It Forward program, United provides $15 to every employee to give to a needy individual, family or organization of their choice. Many times, departments and branches combine funds to create a more substantial donation.

Employees in Fort Smith, Van Buren, Alma and Springdale raised money to gift the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter, CASA of Crawford County, The Call in Fort Smith as well as four families in Alma and Fort Smith.

Arkansas Market Vice President Lee Beason says it’s something employees look forward to every year.

“We talk about Pay It Forward for weeks in advance,” Beason explains in a news release. “Giving and doing what we can within the community is a big part of our culture. You can see in the thoughtfulness of our donations how personal each contribution is to our team.”

The program began in 2008 with a request from employees that they use the money otherwise spent on internal holiday celebrations to help people in the community.

In 2018 through the Pay It Forward initiative, United collectively donated more than $12,600 to 85 different families, individuals, and community organizations across the six states where branches are located.