O Bee Credit Union—Giving Back through the Pandemic

With a rich history, a mandate to serve, and a commitment to community, O Bee Credit Union donated over $50,000 to local charitable organizations during Covid-19. Through their combined “Masks-for-Charity” initiative and Brewhouse t-shirt donations, O Bee donated proceeds to more than eight local charities.

After witnessing the effects of COVID-19 on locals, O Bee searched for a way to help those struggling in the communities they served. When the statewide mask mandate went into effect, it sparked an idea.

“We thought, why not offer our iconic Olympia, Rainier and Pabst beer logos on masks in exchange for a small donation?” said Lee Wojnar, Vice President of Marketing.

The new mask fundraising initiatives brought in about $30,000, coupled with their traditional Brewhouse t-shirts sales of $20,000. Many people offered well over the $5 suggested contribution for the masks, which maximized the money raised.

Soon after, O Bee began donating money to community organizations focused on helping those impacted by the pandemic. O Bee donated between $3,000 and $10,000 each to the following nonprofits:

  • Thurston County Food Bank & Nourish Pierce County. Both food banks faced shortages when a surge in demand doubled as more people relied on their services.
  • Family Support Center. Among its many services, it operates Pear Blossom Place — a 24/7 family shelter in Olympia that was impacted by a fire.
  • Little Red Schoolhouse. Little Red Schoolhouse provides school supplies, backpacks, and gently used clothes to students in need.
  • Homeless Backpacks. This organization is committed to fighting food insecurity for homeless children and teens in local communities.
  • The United Way of the Pacific Northwest’s Wildfire Relief Fund. The fund helps those affected by the wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Family Education and Support Services. The Resilience Center provides critical services to families to help keep children safe.
  • Community Youth Services. CYS provides short or long-term care for youth needing a safe, nurturing home.
  • Olympia Tumwater Foundation. This organization carries on the Schmidt Family philanthropic legacy.

O Bee Credit Union
obee.com

LYNN CASTLE

Pub-Style Banking at Point Ruston

The Olympia Brewery may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of banking, but O Bee Credit Union wants to change that. A leader in providing innovative financial solutions for more than 60 years, O Bee announced the opening of its newest branch, a unique blend of brewpub and financial service center in Point Ruston.

O Bee’s rich history as the original credit union of the Olympia Brewery is reflected in the interior of the new building. It features a brewpub aesthetic including brick walls, wood barrels, hand- painted murals, a transaction bar accented with brass rails and local beer taps, chalkboard signage and decor reminiscent of times gone by. Historic photos of Point Ruston and Tacoma are displayed throughout. “The pub atmosphere ties in well with our history. It’s reminiscent of the old brewery tasting room where the community met, and workers gathered after the end of a shift,” says James Collins, CEO.

This will be the sixth branch opening for O Bee and its first venture into Pierce County. “It’s exciting,” says Collins. “We’re one of the most unique credit unions in the country with products that can’t be found at most financial institutions.” In addition to an array of loan options including home and auto, O Bee offers its signature brewery credit and debit cards featuring favorite brands like Rainier and Olympia. The Berenstain Bears® Cub Account is also part of O Bee’s selection of products. Cub Accounts provide an incentive program for young savers that’s part of a financial education program emphasizing the concepts of “Save, Share, Spend and Earn.”

“Banks shouldn’t feel cold or impersonal and having a brick-and-mortar establishment is important to our membership, so we decided to have some fun with the design concept,” added Collins.

O Bee Credit Union (The Olympia Brewing Co. Employees and Families Credit Union) was started Feb. 15, 1955, by Ted McGill, who worked in the bottle house of the brewery. This full-service not-for-profit credit union, owned by its members, has five other branches located in Lacey, Tumwater, Tenino, Yelm and West Olympia. Membership is open to all Washington residents.

LEAH GROUT

For Additional Information
O Bee Credit Union
obee.com