2018 was a historic milestone for Gather Federal Credit Union, formerly Kauai Community Federal Credit Union. “Changing the name came as a surprise to many. But after extensive research and study it was time for a change to emphasize why we are unique and to stay relevant with our upcoming generations,” said President & CEO Tess Shimabukuro. “Our new name celebrates our credit union’s history and… our future.”
In 1954, ten pineapple farmers found themselves with limited financial resources and gathered to pool their savings of $595 to improve their economic condition and establish a credit union as a means to save and borrow money. They believed, together, they could provide a better life for their families and for their community. Today, Gather FCU is the largest credit union on Kauai with five local offices, assets surpassing $509 million, and serving over 35,000 members.
Gather Federal Credit Union, like all credit unions, are membership driven. This means that Gather FCU is a non-profit financial cooperative created for its members and each member is an owner of the credit union. Its Board of Directors, officials, and various committee personnel are all members too. They are also volunteers who serve without compensation yet donate their time to ensure the success of the credit union.
We’ve always been about ‘People Helping People’, and coming together. We are here to strengthen our community, to enrich our members’ lives and to remind ourselves every single day that this is a family
Credit unions are unique in so many ways and they exist to serve members of modest means rather than to maximize corporate profits. As member-owned institutions, credit unions focus on providing a trusted place to save, borrow at reasonable rates, and return surplus income to their members in the form of dividends. Credit unions are democratically operated by members, allowing account holders an equal say in how the credit union is operated, regardless of how much they have invested in the credit union.
The new name, Gather, reminds us that we are stronger together. When we gather, we are strong. When we gather, we have purpose. When we gather, we are so much more than we could ever be individually. It symbolizes our deep commitment to helping businesses thrive, helping families reach their goals and plan for their futures, and helping dreams come true. Always together, because alone we are nothing.
“We’ve always been about ‘People Helping People’, and coming together. We are here to strengthen our community, to enrich our members’ lives and to remind ourselves every single day that this is a family,” said Shimabukuro. Gather Federal Credit Union cares about building a stronger, healthier Kauai. Last year the credit union donated over $90,000 to a number of organizations on Kauai. These were in the form of student scholarships, various sponsorship events along with annual fundraisers. Gather staff also volunteered over 200 hours of volunteer service with the flood relief efforts in our North and South Shore communities.
For the past 19 years, Gather FCU has hosted a charity golf event benefiting the Wilcox Health Foundation for Pediatric Services on Kauai via the Kapiolani Children’s Miracle Network. The total aggregated amount contributed is over $597,000. In December 2018, Gather FCU attended the Kauai Chambers’ holiday dinner and presented a $150,000 pledge to Wilcox Hospital’s $4.5 Million project of rebuilding their Emergency Department and Trauma Center. This donation will come from funds raised through various fundraisers over the course of the next 3 years.
In its 65 years in business, Gather FCU has changed things along the way to make their vision work not only for all of its members but for the island community. Their story gives insight and perspective into the values of the credit union and creates the common thread that ties together the very fabric of our island community.