Last Tuesday afternoon I witnessed an act that begs the question…“is it better to give or to receive?”

This question-leading act took place in the office of the principal of Detroit’s Remus Robinson Academy, Ms. Sharon Lee.  Beverly Outland, the Product Development Coordinator from Co-op Services Credit Union had just presented Principal Lee with a check for $1000.00 for her school garden, which is part of the urban garden program called Project Sweet Tomato.  In addition to the donation to the school, Ms. Outland was paying the administration fee for The Garden Resource Program and making an additional donation to the Greening of Detroit in the name of the school.  The look on the faces of these two ladies, one giving and the other receiving, was something special to behold.  If I didn’t already know who was doing what I would not have been able to tell.




Beverly Outland (l.), Principal Sharon Lee (r.)




Ms. Outland is an alumnus of the Detroit Public School System.  She went to Marshall Elementary, Nolan Junior High and Pershing High School.  She has a deep attachment to the neighborhood she grew up in and the city of Detroit and has spent much of her professional career finding ways to give back to the city and its communities.  She feels that she is extremely fortunate to be working for an organization that not only shares her beliefs but also promotes and supports her efforts and those of her fellow employees to make relevant contributions to society.  She gives…she receives!


What Co-op Services Credit Union understands is that you can’t fake your way into the hearts and minds of a community.  People know when a so-called “act of kindness” is nothing more than a publicity stunt.  A business writes a check and feels that their job is done…you never hear from or see them again.  That is until the next time they need a photo-op.  They know that communities, if they are going to survive and then thrive, are looking for a commitment.  They are looking for the type of commitment that reflects the depth of character, benevolent personality and sincere compassion of the company and that it, the commitment, will be there… everyday from sunrise to sunset.  To gain the respect of these people and ultimately their support in return you have to walk the walk while talking the talk.  In a variety of ways, Co-op Services Credit Union demonstrates that it is up to the task and by giving they ultimately will receive!




Principal Lee sharing the check with a classroom of kindergartners



As mentioned in an earlier blog, Co-op Services Credit Union, in addition toproviding support by sponsoring Project Sweet Tomato, intends to do the following for Remus Robinson Academy…


  • Introduce its Rock Star Savers program to the students of the school.  This program gives students the chance to open an account with the credit union with a $5.00 deposit that they will match with an additional $5.00.  Co-op Services Credit Union believes that it is very important to usher in the philosophy and discipline of proper money management at an early stage, giving these children lessons that they can carry forward for the rest of their lives.


  • Conduct financial literacy programs.  The purpose of these programs will be to break down the barriers to understanding banking that limit some teens, young adults and their parents in these fiscally difficult times.  It is their lack of understanding that keeps them in the cycle of bad financial decisions and non-productive lifestyles.  With the assistance and enthusiastic encouragement that is given sincerely by Co-op Services Credit Union these people will have a chance to change the paths that they are now on…moving from a world of futility to one that is filled with optimism and opportunity that they can truly embrace.


Can you imagine all of this happening just from the planting of one seed?  Co-op Services Credit Union, Principal Lee and the students of Remus Robinson Academy can!  So can you tell me what is better…giving or receiving?


To learn more about Project Sweet Tomato and other cause-related marketing programs contact Arthur Littsey/Nine Below Zero at or (313) 369-1710.