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Silicon Valley Half Spotlight: John Hogan

The Silicon Valley Half, 10K & 5K presented by Excite Credit Union is Friday, September 18 – Sunday, September 27. Run Local is spotlighting a couple of its runners and partners throughout the week. Visit svhalfmarathon.com to learn more and register today.

John Hogan is VP, Community Relations at Excite Credit Union, which is entrenched in supporting the Silicon Valley community and especially its youth. In partnership with Excite, the Silicon Valley Half has now helped raise over $34,000 to the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, including funds supporting the recent scholarship winners of the East Side Alliance.

“Data shows that low-income youth with just $500 in a college savings account complete college 4x more often than low-income youth without a college savings account.”

Where did you grow up and where is your local now? 

I grew up in Concord, CA and have been in the Los Gatos area for the past 30 years. 

Where did you run your Food Truck 5K?

I did the Food Truck 5k on a hike to Sentinel Rock at Kirkwood, CA (a ski resort).  I really don’t run, but I have been walking like crazy ever since May 23, when my wife bought me a FitBit to offset the “COVID-19” that had magically appeared.  I’m happy to report that both me and our dog, Otter, have dropped our COVID gains.

Where is your local Excite Credit Union branch and where would you take someone to lunch under normal circumstances? 

I normally work from our HQ at 3315 Almaden Expressway.  We are fortunate to have an iJava on site and they make a great lunch!

By definition, a community-based Credit Union is entrenched in a particular community. What makes Excite Credit Union’s approach unique? 

Our team at Excite is committed to returning to the core credit union cooperative values.  As a member owned, not for profit cooperative, these include:

  • Financial Education
  • Economic Participation
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Community Advocacy

The two main areas that we distinguish ourselves are in:

  • Our support for young people from foster care.  We donate funds to a variety of non-profits supporting foster youth, including Pivotal, Child Advocates and Razing the Bar. We also participate in advocacy groups that are encouraging our political and systems leaders to adopt a public goal that our foster youth will achieve income and education outcomes on par with the general population.  This would mean, for example, that we would set a goal for 86% on-time high school graduation, rather than the current level of 54% for foster youth.
  • Our belief that every child should have a college savings account. Data shows that low-income youth with just $500 in a college savings account complete college 4x more often than low-income youth without a college savings account. This is why we offer Step Up Savings to our non-profit and school partners, which includes an opening deposit of $50 from Excite, annual matching deposits and a 5% interest rate.
Excite Credit Union volunteers being trained to provide financial mentoring to young adults aging out of foster care.

On Wednesday night SVEF honored Spartan East Side Promise Scholarship Award Winners. What does that mean to you to see these community efforts directly impact individuals? 

One of our key partners is SVEF and the coalition they support called the East Side Alliance.  We love the Spartan Promise model they have built, which includes college savings programs, scholarships, and guaranteed admission to San Jose State for students meeting criteria.  We believe that we have tremendous homegrown talent being raised in East San Jose, and we are doing everything that we can to prepare those young people to participate in the innovation economy that exists just a few miles to the west. 

Excite also supports organizations that provide support to Foster Youth, including Razing the Bar. What are one or two things you focus on to help underserved kids get on a path to personal and financial success? 

We are fired up to be offering financial mentoring to the 72 young adults from foster care that will be participating in Santa Clara County’s basic income pilot. This program will offer these young adults $1,000 per month for 12 months, and our mentors will support those who opt-in with setting goals, building credit, and planning a better financial future.

What are three things anyone can do, regardless of age or income, to improve their financial health? 

  1. Make a plan (budget).  Until you write it down and track it, it is really difficult to understand your spending.

  2. Pay yourself first.  That means to set something aside each month for savings, no matter how small.

  3. Join a credit union!