The Ontario Credit Union Foundation (OCUF) was registered in 1979. Over the past 38 years we have supported credit unions and co-operatives with their philanthropic giving in communities across Ontario. OCUF receives oversight and strategic direction from a nine-member volunteer Board of Directors elected by members of the Foundation at the annual general meeting. The Foundation is similar to private and local community foundations in that it administers funds created by donors for specific charitable purposes. In addition to the 45 funds we manage, we maintain a general fund we use to support our main charitable activity, the support of youth education and leadership.
What We Do
We are a registered public foundation. What this means is we are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency and the Charities Directorate and as such have high standards (read that legal obligations) to uphold. We exist exclusively for charitable purposes. We are required to give more than 50% of our income annually to other qualified donees (e.g. registered charities) but are also permitted to carry out our own charitable activities. We receive funding from arm’s length donors.
Our primary activity is managing funds established by a donor that are held by the Foundation. These funds are gifted to the Foundation (ownership passed to OCUF) and we are required to ensure disbursements go to registered charities, support our charitable activity, or are moved to another foundation. The donor specifies where they wish the funds to go, or they may leave it to our discretion. We have two types of funds. Community Investment Funds and Permanent Capital Funds. Please refer to the Fund Information tab for more detailed information about our funds including out gift acceptance policy, fund description document, terms of reference for each fund type, and fee schedule.
We also offer services to member Credit Unions. We provide grant disbursement services for some of our credit unions. We also offer grant assessment and scholarship/bursary assessment. We have the advantage of being an independent, objective, third party which helps member organizations achieve their transparency obligations.
Additionally we conduct our own charitable activity in the form of a bursary program for financially deserving youth, resident in Ontario who are strong community citizens. Bursaries are granted to assist with post-secondary tuition at accredited college, university or vocational institutions.
“We partner with the credit unions of Ontario in support of youth education and leadership.”
With contributions from most of the credit unions of Ontario, we offer the CU Succeed Youth Bursary program for post secondary students (resident in the province) to assist financially deserving youth who are solid community citizens, with their tuition to accredited colleges, university and vocational institutions.
Board of Directors
Dan is currently the Chief Marketing & Community Relations Officer of Pace Credit Union headquartered in Vaughan. He started his credit union career in 1992 with North York Community Credit Union. Dan has experience in community relations and marketing but is also a Certified Financial Planner. He is active in his community both personally and professionally. For Pace he oversees such charitable initiatives as Pace Polo for Heart which raises $200,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation annually, the Pace Bursary Awards which provided over $62,000 of financial assistance to Pace members for post secondary education last year and the Pace Golf Classic which substantially funds the Bursary Award program. Outside of Pace, Dan sits on the Southlake Regional Health Care Centre Fundraising Committee and he’s a coach for the Aurora Panthers Girls Hockey Association. Dan and his wife Sheryl live in Newmarket with their three daughters.
Dave has over 30 years of service in the Credit Union System, starting as a loans officer in Summerside PEI in the 1980’s. Since then Dave has worked in the credit union system across Canada and in the USA. He has held positions of Manager, CFB Summerside Credit Union; Regional Vice President Atlantic CUMIS; Regional Vice President BC-Alberta CUMIS; National VP Sales, CUMIS; VP & National Sales Officer, CUNA Mutual Group in the USA.
Dave is a former board member of the Atlantic Cooperative Association, the British Columbia Cooperative Association and the Ontario Credit Union Professional Association. Dave was selected by the World Council of Credit Unions to lead a task force in Jamaica in 1999 to help the Jamaican Credit Union League and their member credit unions to create a strategic plan for their system. Dave has also been heavily involved in sports over the years serving as a VP of the World Softball Championships, Chairman of the Canadian Women’s Softball Championships, and VP Canada Games. Dave has a regular TV segment called “Finance Friday” that airs on CHCH TV every second Friday, and he currently coaches girls rep hockey in Oakville.
Joel Lalonde is the CEO of Your Credit Union in Ottawa. Your Credit Union has been a long time supporter of the Foundation and Joel is happy to bring over 12 years of co-operative passion to the board. DICO, the caisses populaires and now Your Credit Union have allowed Joel to express his entrepreneurial spirit and demonstrate his level of dedication. Most of his free time is enjoyed at the cottage with his spouse Lisa and their wonderful daughter Emily.
Frugina has over 25 years of Financial Services industry experience with the majority spent in senior leadership roles at both Alterna and a national Canadian Bank. These included the areas of Commercial Banking, Corporate Office, Wealth Private Client Services and Retail Distribution.
Specifically at Alterna, as part of her mandate, Frugina leads the growth and profitably of the branch portfolio; provides guidance and coaching to deliver superior member and customer experience in all channels; contributes to business development activities; overall leadership to the Retail branch teams in GTA, Wealth Management, Contact Centre and Affinity team oversight.
In her spare time, Frugina is a passionate champion of the benefits of a post secondary education. She has been an active volunteer in her high school, Toronto French School, as well as with Enactus Canada and her Church youth program. Frugina has an Honours Bachelor of Science from University of Toronto and obtained an MBA from Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ontario. She lives in Toronto with her husband and their daughter.
Kevin is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at Comtech Fire Credit Union. In addition, he oversees the business development/partnerships area for the Credit Union. He has over 25 years of experience in the financial services business, the last eight in the Credit Union system. Previously Kevin held the positions of Vice President, Sales & Service with Northern Credit Union and Chief Executive Officer of Fire Services Credit Union prior to its merger with Comtech. Kevin has served on the Board of the Canadian Fire Fighters Museum in Port Hope, and is the lead organizer of Comtech Fire’s Annual Charity Golf Tournament that has raised over $60,000 for the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Kevin lives in Oakville with his wife Marisa, daughter Cassandra and Great Dane Luna.
George De La Rosa has close to 20 years of experience in the Credit Union system. He started working as a High School Co-op student and has held various positions since, including Marketing Officer, Member Services Supervisor and Business Development Officer at Metro Credit Union, and Sales and Marketing Management at PACE Savings and Credit Union. Currently he serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Luminus Financial, a position he has held for the last 8 years. Since taking the position, the credit union’s assets have grown nearly 120%. He also has the distinction of becoming one of the youngest Credit Union CEOs when he accepted his position in 2005. His leadership has helped Luminus Financial receive the prestigious International Image Enhancement Award from the Credit Union Executive Society in recognition of their efforts to boost membership through their “What can we do for you?” recruitment campaign. George has been involved in various committees to help the Credit Union system grow, including the steering committee for the Ontario Young Leaders Think Tank, whose mandate was to develop a youth strategy for credit unions in Ontario.
He received his Bachelor of Commerce – Business Management and Marketing Management with a minor in Human Resources from Ryerson University, in Toronto, Canada, and following this, he pursued his fellowship with the Credit Union Institution of Canada through Dalhousie University. He also holds an Accounting Diploma from Centennial College and two Business Management Certificates from Ryerson University. George is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Elisabeth is an independent business consultant educated and working in the fields of Hospitality Administration and Accounting since 1983. A lifelong passion, Elisabeth continues to hone her skills by taking courses to study the latest advancements. This allows her to ensure she provides the highest level of service to her clients; consistent with the commitment WFCU Credit Union has to its members. Elisabeth has been involved in the credit union system for many years as a member and serving in a variety of committee and board capacities. From 1999 – 2009, Elisabeth served on the Board of Motor City Community Credit Union in Windsor; six and half terms as Vice President, seven terms as Audit Committee Chair and three terms as Board Chair. In 2012, she was elected to the Board of WFCU Credit Union and continues to serve on the Audit Committee. Elisabeth is a graduate of the Credit Union Directors of Ontario Achievement program and continues to attend seminars, conferences and meetings to continue to expand her credit union and co-operative system education.
Elisabeth is a consultant and member of the Sage Accountants Network serving as a Premier Advisor; past board member of the Southwestern Ontario Credit Union Chapter; and past Executive Committee member of the Windsor and Essex County Directors’ Association in Windsor.
As Meridian’s Vice President, Corporate Communications, Scott Windsor is focused on positively shaping Meridian’s brand among its Members, stakeholders and employees. Scott oversees the development and implementation of Meridian’s internal communications, media relations, issues management and corporate social responsibility strategies.
Since joining Meridian in 2005, Scott has supported a variety of initiatives including a brand re-launch, amalgamation with the former Desjardins Credit Union, and most recently led the development of Meridian’s first corporate social responsibility strategy and governance model which was approved by Meridian’s Board of Directors in 2013. Prior to joining Meridian, Scott held a number of positions in RBC Financial Group’s corporate communications team. He started his communications career at the multi-national public and government relations agency GPC International/Howe & Company where he worked on a variety of clients including CIBC, Drive Clean and the Metro Toronto Housing Authority. He has received numerous communications awards and recently received the International Association of Business Communicator’s Mentor of the Year award.
Liisa has a Bachelor of Arts & Science from the University of Windsor, with a specialization in Communications & Marketing. Liisa has worked in the credit union system for over 20 years, holding a variety of roles including Business Services, Sales, Marketing and Operations. Liisa provides overall organization management to assist in improving the lives of our members by developing and implementing tools and resources focused on using innovative strategies to help members succeed financially. She is actively involved in the credit union system, serving on several System Committees and Boards of Directors.
Liisa provides overall organization management to Community First Credit Union, and assists in improving the lives of members by developing and implementing tools and resources focused on using innovative strategies. She is responsible for implementing the organization vision and values to achieve Community First’s performance goals, and oversees the Wealth Management, Retail Sales, and Marketing departments.
Liisa is an advocate for giving back to the community, and believes that credit unions have a responsibility to positively impact the communities they serve.
Guido Chezzi has been involved with the Credit Union for 50 years. He was Vice Chair of the Ontario Credit Union Foundation and has received an achievement award from this organization. He has facilitated with young co-op leaders and has received a “Youth Mentorship Award” from the ON co-op. He was an avid member of Northern Credit Union. In June he received “Safety Recognition” for presenting to co-op students in various high schools about job safety in the workplace. His presentations covered the “Industrial Accident Prevention Association” in Toronto. Guido has managed the Credit Union for 15 years as a founder of the Coniston community. He was the chapter president in Sudbury for 33 different Credit Unions throughout the city. He also sat on the Cumis Board for 10 years on the International Program Committee and spent another10 years being a part of the Canadian Cooperative Association. Guido also dedicated his time in Africa working with various Credit Unions. He was a volunteer fireman for 35 years as well as being a community Lions Club member. He worked at INCO for 38 years. He has been married for 48 years and enjoys spending time with his wife Carol, their 2 daughters and their 5 grandchildren.
Tony Niessen has been involved in the credit union system since 1967 and was CEO of Family Savings & Credit Union until 1999 when he became CEO of FirstOntario. During Tony’s tenure with Family Savings, his credit union was honored at that time, to be the only credit union in Canada to receive the National Economic Community Development Award twice, as well as the St. Catharines Corporate Achievement Award in company with General Motors, TRW and Dana Corporation. Tony initiated the Ontario Group of 12, is Past Chair of the Credit Union Executive Society Ontario Council, and was a director of CUMIS Insurance. Tony’s involvement with the Charitable Foundation began in 1987 as a Director until the board hired him into the position of the Foundation’s first permanent Executive Director in 2005. From its very beginning, Tony has been a strong proponent of the Foundation leveraging its funding through partnerships with Ontario’s credit unions.
Clayton brings more than three decades of proven leadership and business development experience to OCUF, having held a series of increasingly senior positions with several of Canada’s largest and most prominent financial institutions. As VP Marketing Services with Foresters, a member based insurance organization, he lead the successful pilot for a major change initiative across Canada, the U.S. and U.K. In 2009, he decided to bring those leadership skills to the not-for-profit sector, where he fulfilled a successful mandate as the Executive Director of the Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation. A lifelong volunteer, Clayton is currently the Board Chair of Knox Heritage Place, a not-for-profit 80-unit seniors residence in Oakville. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Club of Halton. Clayton and his wife are avid golfers and live in Oakville with their two boxers.
We invite you to review information by clicking on the document cover above. A PDF version will be downloaded. Step one – identify if a community investment fund (CIF) or a permanent capital fund (PCF) will best serve your purpose. The CIF is sometimes known as “flow through” fund, where you may donate a larger amount to it, then make a series of disbursements through out the year. The PCF is more of a “legacy” fund where the donated “capital” is preserved, and income from the fund is disbursed. Step two – complete an application form which details the fund purpose, who can provide instruction, etc. Step three – a deed of gift is prepared and signed by the donor(s) and OCUF.
At any time, we welcome you to contact us so we can answer any questions you may have. We are happy to walk you through the application process should you wish to establish a new fund. Income tax receipts are available for all eligible gifts (donations) to Ontario Credit Union Foundation.
An annual membership in your Foundation provides a host of tangible and intangible benefits, including:
- Membership in a charitable organization which funds the CU Succeed Youth Bursary
- The opportunity to make a difference in your own community with like-minded individuals
- Be part of a provincial organization showcasing credit unions of all sizes who are promoting charitable giving in Canada
- Access to our quarterly newsletter
- A tax receipt for your membership fee
- The opportunity to set up a monthly recurring donation from your credit card to support youth education and leadership
- Eligible to vote at the Annual General Meeting
- Eligible to be nominated to become a member of our Board of Directors
- Sleep well at night, knowing you have helped a deserving student get a step closer to achieving their dreams.
All for $20.
Credit Union Members
We are proud to support the credit unions in Ontario. Collectively we make a difference in communities throughout the province.
- Auto Workers
- Community First**
- Comtech Fire
- Creative Arts
- Fort York Community
- Health Care
- Healthcare & Municipal Employees’
- Heritage Savings
- Italian Canadian
- Kingston Community
- Luminus Financial
*A division of Alterna Savings
**A division of Your Neighbourhood Credit Union
- Member Savings
- Motor City Community
- Moya Financial
- Ontario Educational
- Oshawa Community
- Ottawa Police
- Peterborough Community*
- Quinte First
- Southwest Regional
- The Energy
- Thorold Community
- Utilities Employees (Windsor)
- WFCU Credit Union
- Your CU
- Your Neighbourhood
For a one time (tax receiptable) donation of $500 you can become a Lifetime Member of the Foundation. Many of the following people have been supporters of the Foundation for many years and others have received their Lifetime membership in recognition of their faithful and dedicated service to their credit union or co-operative association as directors or management.
We are proud to display this list of growing names:
- Donald Altman, City of Toronto
- Jerry Andrijiw, CEO Sunnybrook CU
- Donna Bailey
- James M. Barr
- David Bird
- Stewart A. Black
- Howard Bogach
- Stephen Bolton, Libro Credit Union
- Tim Bossence
- Phil Braginetz
- Barry Brydges
- John Burgman
- Earl Campbell, Director Alterna Bank
- Mary Cardamone
- Julio Catani
- Guido Chezzi, Director Emeritus OCUF
- Carol Chezzi
- Sharon Clarke
- Bruce Corbett
- Mac Davidson, Northern Credit Union
- N. Dianne Craig
- Jack Craig
- Ralph Dietrich
- Denis Empringham
- Francis Evershed
- James G. Frank
- Marty Gillis, WFCU Credit Union
- Fred Gorbet
- David Gunderson
- Blake Halladay
- John M. Harper
- Rick Hoevenaars, Libro Credit Union
- Mike Howard, Picuz
- Edward Howes
- Harry Joosten, Libro Credit Union
- Carole Kalil
- Sandy Kennedy
- Scott Kennedy
- John D. Kwekkeboom
- Mel Lang
- Jean Lederer
- Audrey J. Lee
- Wayne D. Lee
- Bob Lockwood
- Sheena Lucas
- Ralph Luimes
- Paul Mackley
- Heather MacDonald
- James G. Maxwell
- Murray McDiarmid
- Phil Moore
- Denise Morneau
- Jack Morneau
- Kathleen Murphy
- Don Nicholls
- Tony Niessen, Director Emeritus OCUF
- Rob Paterson, Alterna Credit Union
- Terry Pepler
- Andy Poprawa
- Michael Porter
- Beryl Roberto
- Doug Robinson
- Ian B. Russell
- Ed Sarnecki, Ed Sarnecki & Associates
- Dave Schurman, FirstOntario Credit Union
- Michael Shepherd, FirstOntario Credit Union
- Joe Simpson
- Dave Sitaram
- Judy Skinner, Donor
- Jack Smit
- Albert W. Suraci, Northern Credit Union
- Elizabeth Thorn
- Tina Vander Helm
- William J. Vanidour
- Paul Vayda
- Deb Vickers
- Bryon J. Walker
- Jean Wansbrough, Donor
- Dorothy Watson, Central1
- Scott Windsor, Meridian CU
- Dennis Wipp
- Christine Zawadzki, C.Z. & Associates
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