The USC Credit Union has recently partnered with Yoobi, a classroom supply company that donates to a local school after one of their items is purchased.
The partnership is the brainchild of alumna Samantha Paxson, who is currently on the board of the USC Credit Union and is the chief marketing officer of CO-OP Financial Services. Paxson, who graduated from USC in 1997 with a dual degree in broadcast journalism and social sciences, stated that her background in journalism has been a major influence on how she has approached her own career and how she pursues potential partnerships like the one with Yoobi.
“What I’ve gained from my journalism degree and all of that background is the idea of storytelling,” Paxson said. “I’m very passionate about storytelling and the intersection of storytelling, creativity, innovation and purpose.”
According to Paxson, when she first heard about Yoobi’s products and their philanthropic aims, she immediately thought about how they could benefit the USC community.
“It got me thinking, — USC is in a community that is surrounded by several underprivileged schools, and the Yoobi mission is very much aligned with the Credit Union mission. I talked to the CEO of USC Credit Union [Gary Perez] and said, ‘There might be a partnership opportunity here.’”
When she brought this idea to Perez, Paxson said that her main selling point for the partnership was the positive impact it would have on the local community.
“We talked about being able to impact the grammar schools, the elementary schools that are directly in USC’s neighborhood, by being able to generate these classroom packs that Yoobi donates to kids in need,” she said.
The Credit Union plans to incentivize the purchasing of Yoobi products by giving discounts to members. The partnership is currently being finalized and Paxson estimates that it will be available to students at the bookstore and online at the USC Credit Union’s website by early next school year.
“Not only are you buying something that you need for your school supplies, but you’re also helping the local community and the local elementary schools ensure that they have the right tools,” Paxson said. “Teachers, on average, pay out of pocket $500 a year to get the supplies for their students. This is a way that they don’t have to do that.”
The initiative is currently being tested by CO-OP Financial Services and their member credit union in addition to the USC Credit Union and Yoobi. The program will initially start with five local schools. In addition to school supplies, Paxson said that Yoobi will also give local schools financial planning kits that will help teach schoolchildren basic financial skills.
“When they buy Yoobi school supplies, not only will school supplies be given to the surrounding elementary schools, but financial literacy kits called ‘money mammal’ kits will also be delivered,” Paxson said. “So we’re helping to give the community within USC the USC footprint to help them in their whole lives going forward.”
The hope is that these skills in financial planning will not only help elementary schoolchildren immediately, but also later in life.
“Our goal was not only to help [local students] with their educational supplies but their financial wellness,” Paxson said. “If we can help them build saving strategies at this age, by the time they’re 18 years old our hope is that they go to college and that it will improve the community as a whole.”
Correction: A previous version of the article said that the financial literacy kits were called “money manual” kits. They are called “money mammal” kits. The Daily Trojan regrets the error