Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Suncoast Schools Credit Union boosts ABC

Turns out a couple cents can go a long way — or at least make a dent.

Two cents: That's how much money goes into the Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union Foundation every time a member — most of them educators — swipes a debit card or credit card. Those transactions generate close to $2 million annually, said the foundation's executive director, Mary Tlachac.

Then it's time to give it away.

"The money is earmarked to promote education, health and emotional well-being of our children," Tlachac said. "That's what our mission is. That's what we're about."

In 2012, the foundation donated $1.6 million to support educational programs in 15 Florida counties, Tlachac said, helping to fund things such as Take in Stock in Children programs, annual scholarships in each county and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile Unit that offers dental and medical care at local schools.

Just prior to the start of the 2013-14 school year, the foundation also awarded a $50,000 grant to help needy kids in 76 Pasco County public schools via the district's Assist, Believe and Care program. Most schools received $500 with a little extra going to schools where 75 percent or more of students qualify for free and reduced-cost meals.

No doubt, the grant provides a bit of a boost for a lot of kids, their families and faculty members.

Community support has long been an important facet of the ABC program's success with local churches, organizations and individuals pitching in to provide essentials such as back packs, school supplies, clothing, food staples, food baskets and gifts for students over the holiday season.

But faculty members tend to be the biggest year-round contributors to ABC programs, said Gulfside Elementary principal Chris Clayton.

The $858 in grant money his school received will certainly help out.

"I've already used some of that money for a couple of families that have approached me about getting their electricity turned on," he said.

He added that he's on the lookout for footwear for students. "I tend to keep my eyes on the shoes the kids are wearing. If I see that they're wearing flip-flops all the time, shoes with holes in them, shoes that are too big, then we'll get them something to wear. Sometimes a family will need emergency food over the weekend when Metropolitan Ministries is closed, so it will help with things like that."

At Lacoochee Elementary the grant will help provide clothing and shoes for students who have been directed to the school clinic by their teachers," said ABC coordinator Tracy Sanderson. "If we have families that come in and need extra assistance, we can help them. We bought some dishes because we had a family that was homeless and they had nothing, so we got some pots and pans and dishes to keep them going."

"We want to do what we can to help the kids succeed," Sanderson said. "And every little bit helps."

Michele Miller can be reached at

>>fast facts

Donations, awards

Since 1992, the Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union Foundation has donated more than $9 million to children's charities and awarded about $930,000 in scholarships.

Pasco County scholarship recipients for 2012-13: •Jack Burns, Fivay High: $6,000 scholarship, renewable for two years, followed by a $10,000 scholarship, renewable for two years. Jack attends Pasco-Hernando Community College and plans to continue at the University of South Florida.

•Bruce Wilson Jr., Pasco High: $4,000 scholarship for a vocational or technical program. Bruce is attending PHCC to complete his certification in welding.

Suncoast Schools Credit Union boosts ABC 08/29/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 30, 2013 1:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. From the food editor: Almond-Crusted Chicken Tenders


    I decided my almond chicken obsession was becoming a bit much.

    Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  2. Forecast: Soggy, yet hot, workweek ahead across Tampa Bay


    A soggy workweek is ahead across Tampa Bay as decent chances for scattered storms remain consistent over the next several days.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  3. Travel ban, Kennedy retirement speculation the focus as Supreme Court prepares for break


    WASHINGTON — Before taking their long summer break, the Supreme Court justices are poised to act on the Trump administration's travel ban and a separation of church and state dispute involving a Missouri church playground.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy, shown in 2007, has given no public sign that he would step down this year and give President Donald Trump his second high court pick in the first months of his administration. Kennedy's departure would allow conservatives to take firm control of the court. [Associated Press]
  4. Florida education news: Guns, charter schools, drug education and more


    HOSTILE WORK PLACE: A legal review determines that while a University of South Florida technology center former director might have been boorish and hostile, …

  5. Fire crews battle blaze at apartment complex near Seminole Heights


    Fire crews are battling a blaze that broke out early Monday morning at an apartment complex near Seminole Heights, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.