BEAUMONT, Texas — More than 130 Southeast Texas schools were given checks on Wednesday through a unique program. 

Education First Federal Credit Union distributed $50,000 to 136 schools in Southeast Texas. The checks were handed out as part of the 'We're Paying it Forward Program' during luncheon at The Event Centre in downtown Beaumont. 

The program started five years ago. Each time a credit union member takes out a loan, a portion of that loan is given back to a school of that member's choice. 

In total, donations have totaled $200,000 to help local schools over the past few years. 

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From an Education First Federal Credit Union news release:  

Education First Federal Credit Union will distribute checks totaling over $50,000 to 136 local schools in Southeast Texas on Wednesday, January 22, 2020. The donations are made through its We're Paying It Forward program. A luncheon will be held at The Event Centre in downtown Beaumont at 12:00 P.M.

This program was developed five years ago to support local education while allowing Education First members to direct a portion of their own dollars back into the communities in which they live and work.

Through the We're Paying It Forward program, when an Education First member takes out a loan, the credit union donates a portion of that loan back to the school of that member's choice. According to President and CEO of Education First, Keith Brenek, "This is just one way we can give back to the communities that we serve.

It's a great way for us to provide some support to the schools and students in our field of membership, and this program creates a positive impact with our members."

As the program grows in popularity each year donations to area schools have more than tripled from $13,000 in 2014 to $50,000 in 2020. To date, donations have totaled $200,000 in unrestricted funds to help supplement school budgets and allow local schools to direct the funds where they are needed most.

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