MAQUOKETA, Iowa—Delora "Dee" Beal and Dupaco Community Credit Union are proof positive of the power of paying it forward.
Nearly three years ago, Beal benefited from a Dupaco savings program that literally changed the Maquoketa woman's life, giving her the keys to a world of personal and professional possibilities. And along the way, she has paid forward her good fortune and hard work, making a difference in the lives of others.
Beal credits Dupaco's Individual Development Account (IDA) program—a grant-based initiative that provides matching funds and financial coaching to qualified participants—for putting her on the road to a brighter future.
"It helped me get a better job and more stability, and now I can live a dream I’ve had since I was a kid," Beal said.
How it Works
In the IDA program, the savings of a participant are matched by a dollar-for-dollar grant from the Iowa Credit Union Foundation (ICUF). The individual uses the funds for a specific asset, such as purchasing a vehicle or home, starting a small business or paying for education or job training.
Beal used her savings and matching funds to buy a white 2004 Dodge Intrepid on April 11, 2011, just one year and two days after enrolling in the program. Saving $50 from every paycheck, she had accrued $1,900, with another $1,900 matched by the ICUF. (Read Beal's story from 2011)
"Dee is a role model for everyone who says they can’t save money," said Dupaco Consumer Loan Officer Cindy Hilkin, one of Beal's financial coaches. "I think all of us wish we could go back and tell a younger version of ourselves to start saving sooner so we're in a better financial position later in life."
Living a Dream
Beal, who once relied on her feet and a beat-up bike for transportation, is making the most of life's new possibilities.
Owning a car allowed Beal to become eligible for a promotion at work at Hartig Drug, where she now serves as a floor supervisor. She also moved out of a housing project and onto a small acreage in Maquoketa, where she helps an elderly friend. And she helps take care of horses, a dream she's had for as long as she can remember.
Beal's car—and her ability to continue saving—has allowed her to be present for more family milestones, too.
She was able to drive to her sister's out-of-state wedding and take a couple of road trips to visit her grandmother. And she proved to herself she was up to the savings challenge when she set aside enough money to fly to Arizona for her grandson's birth last fall.
"It opens up your world to be able to have a car," Beal said. "You're not limited to such a small area. You've got the world, and you can do what you choose to do."
That's Bright Green
While Beal is no longer enrolled in Dupaco's savings program, she continues to save what she can, turning to Dupaco when she needs financial guidance along the way.
"Dee is a living example of Dupaco's sustainable approach to money," Hilkin said. "It's the credit union's mission to improve each member's financial position—not just for a day, but for a lifetime."
Dupaco does that by offering a wealth of products and services, including the IDA program and popular, no-cost Money Makeovers that help members cut costs and build savings. As Dupaco has grown, so has the credit union's ability to offer cost-effective financial services.
"When members like Dee do well, it helps the community," Hilkin said. "When the community prospers, everyone grows. That keeps money recycling locally among family, friends and neighbors."
It's a cooperative circle that keeps paying forward.
By Emily Kittle