Meet Bubbles, the Promise Dolphin: Chartway’s Fin-Tastic New Addition

Have you strolled past our headquarters’ front doors in Virginia Beach, Va., and noticed the friendly dolphin swimming amongst our bushes? Bubbles is no regular dolphin; Bubbles is our Promise Dolphin!

History of A Dolphin’s Promise

If you live in or have visited Virginia Beach, you’ve likely seen one of these iconic dolphins swimming in front of another business, a school, or even a home. Not only are dolphins the official Virginia Beach animal mascot, but they each symbolize a promise.

Promise Dolphins originated from A Dolphin’s Promise, which Cindy Graf, a Virginia Beach native and avid supporter of cancer research, founded. Graf was inspired to create Virginia Beach’s dolphin statues after working with the City of Norfolk, Va., and communities in the Outer Banks, N.C., on their mascot statues. Each of these statues gifted by A Dolphin’s Promise symbolizes their organization’s promise to fund cancer research, honoring Graf’s late mother, who passed away from colon cancer.

Operation Smile – a Virginia Beach non-profit that provides financial assistance to children worldwide who need cleft lip and palate surgeries – adopted A Dolphin’s Promise from Graf in 2020. The organization gifts dolphin statues to businesses, schools, and individuals when they donate funds. The monies raised help them provide cleft surgeries as well as educational opportunities to communities around the world. Additionally, the donations fund the Operation Smile Student Scholarship Opportunity Fund to provide financial scholarships for students and educators who would otherwise not be able to afford to participate in Operation Smile missions and programs. Operation Smile gifted us our Promise Dolphin following a $5,000 donation from Chartway in 2023 to support their programs.

Additionally, Operation Smile partners local artists with donors to help them design their perfect Promise Dolphin. More than 100 Promise Dolphins can currently be spotted swimming around businesses, schools, and homes in Virginia Beach. Our Promise Dolphin swam to its new home in the bushes just outside Chartway Headquarters in May 2024.

Chartway’s Promise Dolphin

Chartway’s donation to Operation Smile goes beyond financial support; this collaboration embodies our value of community by unifying two organizations striving to make a difference in the lives of others. It signifies our commitment to serving our communities and those positively impacted by the mission of our charitable partners. Brian Schools, Chartway’s president & CEO, noted that “our credit union values opportunities to partner with other local charities and philanthropic organizations that align with our purpose of unlocking the potential of individuals and families so they can thrive and our philosophy of putting People First, Always.”

So, who designed our dashing dolphin, Bubbles? Chartway collaborated with talented local artist Bob Langston to design our beautiful Promise Dolphin. Bubbles is wearing a captivating Chartway blue gradient complete with an overlay of bubbles, and it’s perfectly positioned at our front doors for our team members, visitors, and credit union members to see when they come to Chartway. This statue serves as a visual reminder of Chartway’s unwavering dedication to lending a helping hand, or fin, and a bright way forward to community members so they can thrive. We also appreciate that it gives us a creative and fun way to support Virginia Beach by showcasing the official animal mascot. The design of each Promise Dolphin is unique – imbued with its own qualities – and it is those differences that we at Chartway value just as we do those of our members, our communities, and our team.

“At Chartway, our core values of relationships, differences, community, and quality are more than just words; they’re guidelines for how our credit union operates to promote a brighter future for our members,” said Schools. “We value the ability to give back and support our community in an impactful way and are proud to share Operation Smile’s promise through purchasing our Promise Dolphin.”

“We’re grateful to have received a Promise Dolphin from Operation Smile,” said Phil Richards, vice president of community investment, who led the initiative. “Strengthening and enriching our community is the fuel that ignites Chartway’s mission. It is our pleasure to support Operation Smile in providing life-changing surgeries across the globe and fostering even more educational opportunities for individuals and families.”

Chartway is proud to display a Promise Dolphin from Operation Smile at the front doors of our headquarters. It symbolizes Chartway’s ability to give back, power to uplift, and commitment to a united community. We hope all who pass by our Promise Dolphin feel inspired to join us in our mission of creating a brighter, more compassionate future for all.

But wait, there’s more!

Our community support doesn’t stop there. Annually, Chartway awards thousands of dollars through the Directors’ Memorial Scholarship program, which provides financial aid to undergraduate and graduate student-members seeking financial support for collegiate endeavors. The Chartway Promise Foundation – our charitable arm – creates brighter tomorrows by delivering vital services and joyful experiences to medically fragile children. Over the years, our foundation, in collaboration with our community partners in Virginia, Utah, and Texas, has granted nearly $15 million to more than 12,000 children for medical mobility equipment, eyeglasses, dream trips, and so much more.