Two U.P. residents each win $10K

MARQUETTE/ISHPEMING – A Marquette woman and an Ishpeming man today each received a surprise from their local credit unions when they were announced as winners of two $10,000 grand prizes – for simply saving money in their credit union’s Save to Win program.

Kathleen (Kathy) Grisham, a lifelong Marquette resident and member of U.P. Catholic Credit Union in Marquette, has had a savings account since she was born. A CCI mining maintenance worker for the Empire mine, Scott Magnuson has been a member of Ishpeming Community Federal Credit Union since 1991.

“Saving money has been a family tradition since the day I was born, and I’m really glad that my credit union, U.P. Catholic Credit Union is making it fun for the entire family to get into the habit,” said Grisham, 52, who is a senior executive assistant at Marquette General Hospital . “Being able to save money is something we are grateful we can do – and now we’re doubly grateful for this unexpected prize. This means we can work on some home projects a little sooner than we planned.”

Magnuson said, “Save to Win makes saving money a fun game. You get to put money aside for the future and get a chance to win a prize. These are still economically tough times for many families in the Upper Peninsula, and those of us who can save are glad we can do it. Save to Win is a good program that encourages credit union members like me to set aside a little something for the future.”

Grisham and Magnuson were each awarded a check for $10,000 in a special visit from the Save to Win Prize Squad. A total of ten $10,000 Grand Prize winners throughout Michigan will be awarded during the “Week of Winning” Feb. 18-22. The Prize Squad is traveling across Lower Michigan and throughout the Upper Peninsula this week to present the checks to the winners who all have Save to Win savings accounts and were selected from a random drawing in January.

Save to Win is a highly acclaimed prize-linked savings program administered by the Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates (MCUL). Each $25 deposit into a Save to Win certificate of deposit by a credit union member entitles them to one entry into the Grand Prize drawing. The Save to Win program also awarded dozens of $50 monthly prizes last year. In addition, most credit unions also individually award prizes to members who sign up for Save to Win, with prizes varying from credit union to credit union. All Save to Win deposits generate interest and build savings.

“Save to Win rewards members of the Ishpeming Community Federal Credit Union who embrace good financial habits,” said George Isola, general manager at Ishpeming Community Federal Credit Union. “Save to Win is a way to encourage families we serve across the Upper Peninsula to save some of their hard-earned money – and we’re really excited that one of our members is getting rewarded for saving money. Save to Win continues to grow in popularity with our members, and this program is helping the members we serve grow their wealth.”

Tom Blake, U.P. Catholic Credit Union CEO said: “Save to Win is one way we’re helping our members get into the habit of saving, while giving them a chance to win cash prizes for making good financial decisions. Save to Win is fun for life-long savers like Kathy and new ones who are just getting into the habit. Either way, we’re proud to help families across the Upper Peninsula save their money and strengthen their financial standing.”

Thanks to Save to Win, U.P. Catholic Credit Union members saved more than $409,000 in 2012, up from $288,000 in 2011. Savings at Ishpeming Community Federal Credit Union through Save to Win have also increased to $171,000 in 2012, up from $162,000 in 2011.

With its one-of-a-kind prize-linked model, Save to Win has been hailed in the national news media for encouraging more families to save their money. Other states from Washington to Alabama to New England are trying to emulate Michigan’s program because of its popularity and effectiveness at getting people to save. In recent months, Nebraska and North Carolina credit unions began offering Save to Win to their members, and the Michigan Credit Union League is administering the program.

Statewide, the savings rate continues the upward trend for the Save to Win program: In 2012, members in the 58 participating credit unions saved $43.6 million, with an average account balance of more than $2,872 – both up from the $37.3 million saved in 2011, when the average account balance was $2,235.

Save to Win launched in 2009 as a collaboration between the Michigan Credit Union League, the Filene Research Institute and the Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D). Designed to appeal to credit union members who have had difficulty saving money, Save to Win has helped many families save their money instead of spending it on games of chance. A 2009 survey found that 59 percent of participants had spent money on the lottery over the previous six months and that less than half saved money regularly before opening their Save to Win accounts.

To track the Save to Win Prize Squad during their week of travel and follow where they’ve been and where they’re going next, follow @SaveToWin on Twitter and use the hashtag #savetowin. Updates will also be posted at Anyone who spots the Prize Squad, takes a photo, and uploads it to Facebook or Twitter could win a prize.