Members First Credit Union celebrates 70th anniversary with a charity challenge

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Members First Credit Union recently donated $19,490 to three nonprofit organizations on Giving Tuesday. (L-R) Deborah Ritcey, president and CEO, Granite State Independent Living; Joseph Byron, founder, Honor Flight New England; Karl Betz, senior vice president and CFO, Members First Credit Union; Hannah Fraitzl, special programs coordinator, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NH; Bruce Leighton, president and CEO, Members First Credit Union; Colleen Murray, Members First board of directors; Terry Wiegelman, vice president of marketing, Members First Credit Union. Courtesy Photo

MANCHESTER, NH – Members First Credit Union has a unique way of giving back. In honor of its 70th Anniversary, the credit union reached out to its members and the community for help with distributing $19,490 in donations among three nonprofit organizations. Voters selected their favorite between Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Hampshire, Granite State Independent Living and Honor Flight New England.

“They’re all winners,” said Bruce Leighton, president and CEO, Members First Credit Union. “We originally planned to select one organization to receive the donation, but had trouble narrowing it down. There are just so many worthy causes out there. That’s when we decided to select a few and put it out to a vote, granting each one a donation commensurate with the number of votes tallied. We knew there would be a positive outcome in this scenario – everyone benefits this way.”

Driven almost entirely on social media, the Giving Tuesday Charity Challenge garnered more than 12,000 votes in just 11 days. “It was a real nail biter,” said Terry Wiegelman, vice president of marketing. “At different points during the challenge, each organization had the lead. It was fun and exciting to watch the gauge move up and down from day to day and sometimes from minute to minute. It was truly humbling to see the support each of these organizations has from its constituents – a true testament to the importance of the services they provide.”

As for the results, each charity was granted a portion of the $19,490 donation based on the number of votes tallied. Big Brothers Big Sisters of NH received $10,000, Honor Flight New England received $6,000, and Granite State Independent Living received a check for $3,490.

“We are thrilled to be able to make and support more matches with this generous donation,” said Hannah Fraitzl, Special Programs Coordinator, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NH. “Every time a little is matched with a big, they are gaining someone in their corner who believes in them. Thanks to Members First for helping us continue our mission to ignite the power and potential of New Hampshire youth.”

“Thank you so much, Members First, for including us in the charity challenge,” said Joseph F. Byron, founder, Honor Flight New England. “It was exciting and fun to watch the results and to call, email and contact potential voters. Everyone at Honor Flight truly enjoyed all aspects of it. The $6,000 donation will allow ten of our most senior heroes to participate in an Honor Flight to Washington DC to visit and reflect at their memorials. Many have described the trip as one of the best days of their life.”

“Granite State Independent Living is honored to be standing with two other humbling New Hampshire organizations helping those often left behind,” said Deborah Ritcey, president and CEO, Granite State Independent Living. “Thank you to Members First Credit Union and their board for being so generous and giving back to the community. This donation will allow senior citizens and those living with a disability to be more active in their community.”

To learn more about these organizations and make a donation, visit, and