(September 2, 2009 - Madison, WI) The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation) recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Community Development Credit Union (CDCU) Institute™ with the graduation of 13 students in the Institute’s 9th graduating class on August 14, 2009 in Madison, WI, the heart of America’s credit union movement.
Developed in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University’s School of Community Economic Development and with support from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the CDCU Institute™ is the premier training program for the board and staff of CDCUs and other credit unions interested in serving low-income and underserved communities more effectively. Since inception, a total of 104 staff and board representatives of credit unions from across the nation have completed the 3-year program, earning certificates in CDCU Management.
This year's graduates were: Cecil Anderson, Central Oklahoma FCU, Davenport, OK; Kathie Black, Inspire Community Development FCU (proposed), Battle Creek, MI; Winston Brumfield, AME Church FCU, Baton Rouge, LA; Thom Dellwo, Cooperative Federal CU, Syracuse, NY; Nathan Farrior, Generations Community CU, Durham, NC; Cindy Harrison, Straits Area FCU, Cheboygan, MI; Brenda Kyser, Triumph Baptist FCU, Philadelphia, PA; Vanessa Lowe, National Credit Union Administration, Alexandria, VA; Regina Martin, AME Church FCU, New Orleans, LA; Frances Morris, Citizens Choice FCU, Natchez, MS; Permelia Murphy, Citizens Choice FCU, Natchez, MS; Stacey Woiderski, Straits Area FCU, Cheboygan, MI; and DeAndre L. Zachery, Shreveport FCU, Shreveport, LA.
According to Pamela Owens, Federation Director of Education and Training, “The current economic environment has been especially challenging for credit unions serving low- and moderate-income people. With credit union resources stretched to the limit, it will be the best trained credit unions that are able to take advantage of the growth opportunities around them,” she explained. “Any credit union that is actively serving, or is considering expanding its outreach to underserved segments of its membership, stands to benefit from the specialized curriculum that the Federation’s CDCU Institute™ has developed throughout the past 10 years of operation.”
Ron Ehrenreich, Treasurer and Manager of Cooperative Federal CU (Syracuse, NY), which has sent several staff through the three-year program, commented on the benefits he has seen. “Sending our staff to the Institute has turned out to be a very wise investment for our credit union,” he explained. “The staff that completed the program has learned important skills to boost our community impact and help us achieve our mission of serving the underserved.”
Christina Sauve, Community Development Coordinator at Cooperative Federal CU and an Institute graduate, echoed Ehrenreich’s remarks. “The CDCU Institute not only helped me build the skills to play a leadership role in my credit union -- it also helped me build connections to other CDCUs across the country and to feel part of a broader movement working to promote financial access, opportunity, and economic justice for all.”
“The CDCU Institute is an invaluable resource for the credit union movement because it provides a training ground for those who will propel us forward,” added Ehrenreich. “It’s no coincidence that the staff we’ve sent to the Institute are the same staff I see as the future leaders of our credit union.”
Graduates Hear From Honored Institute Alumni
This year’s graduation ceremony included presentations from Rita L. Haynes, CEO of Faith Community United CU (Cleveland, OH) and Eunice J. Rogers, CEO of NRS Community Development FCU (Birmingham, AL). Both are alumni from the first graduating class of CDCU Institute™ and both have served as Chairman of the Federation’s Board of Directors.
Haynes, the 2008 recipient of the Herb Wegner Award for Individual Acheivement, the credit union movement’s highest honor, was the keynote speaker at this year’s graduation ceremony. During her remarks, Haynes highlighted some of the challenges as well as the opportunities facing credit unions, especially those serving low- and moderate-income communities. “You graduates will return to your credit unions with the challenge of working with the underserved, who are trying to survive in an economy that is considered one of the worst ever,” said Haynes. “Banks are failing all around us and yet these are the best of times for your credit unions. You [graduates] are armed with the education and training you need to make a difference in those communities. Dare to dream! Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t promised, but go out there and make the best of today!”
Additional information about the CDCU Institute™ is available on this website by clicking here.
© 2009 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.