Laura Galeski
Social Responsibility Manager, Hanscom Federal Credit Union
Age: 35
Industry experience: 4 years 

Hanscom Federal Credit Union started a charitable foundation seven years ago and in 2018 hired its first social responsibility manager, Laura Galeski. Galeski supports several nonprofit initiatives for the credit union and its foundation, including raising $75,000 for children’s medical research through Credit Union Kids at Heart’s Boston Marathon team and working with employees to raise money and build beds for the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless A Bed for Every Child program. Headquartered at Hanscom Air Force Base, the foundation’s main initiative is to support veterans, including pledging $750,000 over five years to the Home Base Program.  

Galeski was chosen last year to attend the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference as a “crasher,” a program to give credit union professionals under age 35 an opportunity to participate in the annual event. A former competitive figure skater, she now coaches skating and hockey in her spare time. 

Q: How did you get involved with social responsibility work?
A: I went for my masters degree at Boston University in arts administration, and I have been involved with nonprofits since then. I had wanted to work for the USO, so I had interned in Washington, D.C. Then, I realized that my skill set isn’t just for one type of organization, but for nonprofits across the board. I came to Hanscom Federal Credit Union from another credit union that was also heavily involved in philanthropy. I saw this position, and I thought that it would really allow me to grow my career, grow the department and see what we could do to take it to the next level.  

Q: What is your role with the foundation?
A: Hanscom Federal Credit Union Foundation is an offshoot of the credit union. Were a separate 501(c)(3). However, I am employed by the credit union, so the credit union donates my time to the foundation. My position as social responsibility manager oversees all the social responsibility activities within the credit union as well. So, I have a dualpurpose job.  

The credit union was superexcited to take somebody on because we’ve always been heavy into philanthropy. Before, different parts of the credit union would split the work up. Now we have a unified leader – that’s me – and we’re really able to advance what we’re doing. 

Q: How else do the two organizations interact?
A: The credit union donates volunteers for foundation initiatives. We hold a golf tournament [for the Home Base Program] every year, and the foundation receives volunteer time from staff members. The credit union also supports the foundation financially to some extent, as well as with things like supplies and office space. Our foundation does not have any administrative costs. Everything is absorbed by the credit union. 

The foundation also aligns with what we do as a credit union. Those three tenets  veterans, homelessness and childrens medical research – those are things that we invest in on the credit union side as well. 

Q: What else do you do as social responsibility manager?
A: I work closely with the foundation board and the credit union board. I work closely with all of our employees. Part of my role is to identify volunteer activities within our communities and use our employees and engage our employees to make an impact on what were doing. also manage a lot of the internal programs that were doing. For example, were doing the Giving Tree [to provide children with new winter clothing] right now. I run that from the beginning to the end.  

Q: How does the foundation decide what nonprofits to support?
A: We’re the type of the organization that supports things in our area that we already have a relationship or a fit with. Some organizations will make a lot of small grants. Our foundation likes to give to a smaller number of organizations with a larger amount of funding.  

We’re still growing. We’re a very young foundation. We do a lot of our work on our own where we raise the money. We are supported by the credit union, but a lot of the money that we raise is through employee engagement and donor engagement throughout our community. 

Q: What does the foundation mean for the credit union and the community?
A: Its a way for our credit union to give back to organizations within our area. Were a credit union, and our whole motto is people helping people. Thats the credit union ethos. Its nice that it aligns together. I think the foundation allows us to extend what were doing from the credit union standpoint out to the community more. We really can make those bonds and connections with other organizations. And its not about business. We dont have a foundation because its a good business choice. We could just give money from the credit union if that was the case. We have a foundation because we do want to continue to support our community. 

We owe a lot to our community members, our credit union members and especially our employees because they are huge supporters of what we do and help us carry forward that mission, of people helping people. 

Galeski’s Five Favorite Olympic Figure Skaters 

  1. Michelle Kwan
  2. Nancy Kerrigan
  3. SuryaBonaly
  4. Scott Hamilton 
  5. Ashley Wagner

One Person, Helping Many People

by Diane McLaughlin time to read: 4 min