| The CDCU Institute™ Class of 2008 in caps and gowns before the graduation ceremony.
(August 21, 2008 - Madison, WI) The Federation’s CDCU Institute™, graduated its eighth class in the center of the credit union movement, Madison, Wisconsin. The Class of 2008’s twelve graduates celebrated the completion of an intensive, three-year program for staff and board members of credit unions specializing in serving low-income and underserved markets.
Fifty students attended this year’s CDCU Institute™. The week-long training is the Federation’s signature professional development program, where students learn skills to improve service to their communities and grow their credit unions while building connections to support their work. Attendees included representatives from credit unions large and small, from both rural and urban communities. Students that complete the three-year program graduate with a certificate in CDCU Management.
Clifford Rosenthal, the Federation’s President & CEO, gave the commencement address at this year’s graduation. “The credit union movement in particular, and America in general, is at a turning point. We face multiple crises that represent the great challenges of today: the crisis in banking, the economy, healthcare, and last but not least, the environment. The Federation is proud to graduate this year’s class. We believe that they will use their most important resource – their members’ trust – to grow their credit unions and make the world a better place,” he said.
The 2008 graduates of were Derrick Cameron (Self-Help CU, Durham, NC); Edgar Cosner (The United FCU, Morgantown, WV); Eric Cowell (Toledo Urban FCU, Toledo, OH); Maria Estrella (Bethex FCU, Bronx, NY); Gloria Feliciano (Community Trust FCU, (Apopka, FL); Renee Llorens (Our Mother of Mercy CU, Houston, TX); Evelyn Ramos Santiago (Lower East Side People’s FCU, New York, NY); Patti Robertson-Panduro (Kern Central FCU, Bakersfield, CA); Saundra Scales (First Legacy FCU, (Charlotte, NC); Sherley Soto (Lower East Side People’s FCU, New York, NY); Shirley Spruill (Renaissance Community Development CU Somerset, NJ); and (Meagan Weatherby Cooperative Federal, Syracuse, NY).
Graduate Maria Estrella spoke of her time during her three sessions in Madison emotionally. “I’ve built a family and support network here,” she said, “I’m sad to leave them behind but I know that we will stay in touch and use the connections we built to better serve our credit unions.”
Another graduate Renee Llorens said that she “joined her credit union to help people.” Her attendance at CDCU Institute has inspired her to grow her credit union to serve more of her community. “We’re planning on expanding our field of membership and helping more people while still retaining our faith-based identity. CDCU Institute has given me the ideas and tools necessary to move ahead with this plan,” she emphasized.
In addition to the required daily coursework, many students took part in four optional evening sessions that highlighted resources and potential partnerships for credit unions. Debra Chandler spoke about partnerships with the IRS and VITA sites, Vanessa Lowe representing NCUA, spoke about opportunities at NCUA’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives, and the Federation’s Pablo DeFillipi introduced students to the Assets for Independence Individual Development Account (IDA) program. IDA accounts provide a match for savings accumulated by low-income people for home ownership, small business, or postsecondary education.
Additionally, early in the week, attendees had the opportunity to see other parts of the cooperative movement. Participants on the special cooperative tour visited the University of Madison Purchasing Cooperative and the Phoenix and International houses of the Madison Community Co-op (MCC). Stefanie Jones, MCCs President was excited to have the credit unions visiting again. “We are excited to share what we are doing with these credit union representatives. It is essential that cooperatives from all sectors work together if we are going to grow the cooperative movement” she said.
Special 10th CDCU Institute™ Celebration Planned
In honor of the CDCU Institute’s tenth year of operation, the Federation is planning to hold a special celebration in 2009. Details will be announced as they become available.
Support for the CDCU Institute™ in 2008 came from the Federation’s supporters for their continued sponsorship of the Institute. Supporters include, National Credit Union Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, CUNA Mutual, Suncoast Schools FCU (Tampa, FL), Faith Community United CU (Cleveland, OH), and Northeast Community FCU (San Francisco, CA). Many Institute attendees also received financial support from the National Credit Union Administration.
For more information about the CDCU Institute™, please click here.