Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised

Today I set about tracking down one of our 2017 CU Succeed Youth Bursary award recipients. A few weeks back I sent out an email to all recipients asking for video submissions on how their bursary has helped them this school year. Only one of the emails bounced back. I thought that wasn’t bad, I would have expected more.

While reviewing the material being sent off to our auditor this morning, part of the process is to identify any uncleared cheques as of year-end. Aside from a couple issued late in December, there was one from back in August. Turns out it was issued to the same individual that had the undeliverable email address. Worried this person hadn’t received the cheque (like who isn’t going to cash it?) I set about to track her down.

Long story short, I ended up speaking with her Mom. Indeed, she had received the cheque, but didn’t want to cash it so it wasn’t a temptation. Her plan was to use her OSAP loan to cover first term at Brock and use her $2,500 bursary to pay her second term. Her Mom confirmed she recently deposited the cheque and went on to say she was really doing well at university and has become involved with the student association and some clubs.

Turns out, there was another reason for delaying depositing the cheque. She was looking for an institution to open an account.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise, when we distributed the cheques last year, in our letter we strongly invite students to check out local credit unions and provide a link to find one near them. This student went in with her Mom to a FirstOntario branch in St. Catharines and opened an account. Mom went on and on about the excellent service and mentioned she was considering switching to FirstOntario as well.

After getting an updated email address and asking Mom to remind her daughter the CU Succeed Youth Bursary deadline is June 30th, I hung up the phone. I sat thinking, what a great outcome. Here I assumed the obvious, cheque lost in the mail and the applicant didn’t even know, as we notify by mail. Not the case. What I learned was this very deserving student was rocking her classes, continuing with her community engagement, and she and her Mom were very grateful for the bursary.

Those making the CU Succeed Youth Bursary possible, our member credit unions, supporters and sponsors of our June golf fundraiser, should all feel good! Our efforts are making a difference!

Welcome Oshawa Community Credit Union

Ontario Credit Union Foundation is pleased to welcome Oshawa Community Credit Union as our newest member.

“We are excited to return as an OCUF member. The CU Succeed Youth Bursary benefiting member credit unions and their families was a big draw. We look forward to renewing our partnership” commented John Remillard, Acting CEO.

Oshawa Community Credit Union has been serving people in the Durham Region and surrounding areas for over 75 years.

Since their inception in 1939, they have grown from a small credit union to now having assets more than $95 million. The membership has grown by merging with local industrial credit unions, servicing the employees at the local hospitals, employees of the Region of Durham, employees at the local school boards and employees at the City of Oshawa. They serve a membership of over 3,500.

Thank You EAO Golfers & Sponsors

A big thank you to Debbie McCabe and Gina Ranger from Frontline Credit Union and to Alterna, who organized the 2017 Eastern Ontario Credit Union Alliance Charity Golf Tournament. This is an annual event hosted by Emerald Links Golf and Country Club in Ottawa.

This year proceeds were split between The Salvation Army food truck, The Ottawa Mission and the Ontario Credit Union Foundation.This year we were grateful to receive $1,500 from the tournament. Thank you to the organizers, the sponsors and the participants! Here are a few photos from the fundraiser.




Book Nook at Your Community CU

Your Credit Union’s Cornwall West Branch has been doing a “book nook” for several years. Members and staff bring in used books and staff sell them for $1. It is a great event that staff and members enjoy, and what a great way to build up your reading library for the upcoming  year!

Over the past two years, sales amounted to $1,460 which is a lot of books! The team at Cornwall West are very proud of their efforts and decided to donate the full amount to the Ontario Credit Union Foundation to support the CU Succeed Youth Bursary Your Credit Unionprogram.

We are delighted with your generosity and on behalf of the students who will benefit in 2018, we say thank you!

Welcome Thorold!

OCUF is proud to announce Thorold Community Credit Union is our newest member.

Thorold Community Credit Union was incorporated on September 21, 1948. Initially organized for the benefit of the members who reside or are employed with the Regional Municipality of Niagara. They are celebrating their 70th Annual General Meeting on December 11th.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Whalen said “We are a smaller credit union with a big heart. Our goal to give back to the community aligns with that of the Foundation.”

Thorold is located in the heart of the Niagara Region, just five minutes from St. Catharines and ten minutes from Niagara Falls. Located on the Niagara Escarpment, the Welland Canal passes through the the city, located close to downtown, attracts thousands of tourists annually.


Alterna Savings & Luminus Financial Are In!

The 2018 CU Succeed Youth Bursary campaign is months away, yet two credit unions, Alterna Savings and Luminus Financial, were quick to pledge their support.

The campaign will run in May 2018 and has two elements. Credit unions are invited to participate in the fundraising campaign for a week (or two) in May. Additionally, we hope all our member credit unions will promote the CU Succeed Youth Bursary to their members in May and June.

Over the past two years we provided $111,000 in bursaries to deserving post-secondary students from across Ontario. Awards range from $1,000 to $2,500. Our fundraising efforts from this year’s Golf Classic and CU Succeed Youth Bursary campaign allow us to offer $75,000 in bursaries in 2018.

Alterna Savings marketing spokesperson Tanya Hart proclaimed “Alterna is in! I already have an idea who we might challenge to see who raises the most funds.”

OCUF Board member, and Luminus Financial CEO, George De La Rosa commented, “Luminus was proud to have raised the most funds in the 2017 campaign. We look forward to having as much fun in May.”

The 2017 branch campaign raised $8,273, our goal is to double that in 2018.

For more information click here.

27th Annual Golf Classic Venue Announced

We are excited to announce the location of the 27th Annual Golf Classic being held June 11, 2018.

We are privileged to have Markland Wood Golf Club host our main fundraiser for the year.  Here is an excerpt from their website. “Visitors are pleasantly surprised to discover the quality, beauty and tranquility found hiding in the valleys bordering the Etobicoke Creek, a short drive from downtown Toronto. The course is a joy to walk as, similar to most traditional courses, each green leads to the next tee on almost every hole.Running north and south of Bloor Street, the layout features greens that are slightly elevated and fast, well guarded and moderately sloped. Generous landing areas are balanced with holes that place a premium on accuracy.”

A big shout out to Board member Kevin Connolly (Comtech Fire) who was instrumental in arranging this opportunity. Markland Wood is a unique, private facility which is very accessible from anywhere in the GTHA. Board Chair Dan Coldwell (PACE) commented, “This is a fabulous opportunity for us to host our event closer to Toronto. Our guests will marvel at this hidden gem of a course.”

The Golf Classic is our annual fundraiser the proceeds from which support the CU Succeed Youth Bursary. With the tremendous support of sponsors and guests over the past two years, $111,000 has been awarded to post-secondary students.  We look forward to seeing you in 2018!

2018 Sponsorship Information

Member Credit Unions

We are honoured to have so many member credit unions. Many have been with us since 1979.

Over the years there has been many changes. We have seen numerous credit unions merger resulting in new names. We have seen “updating” and renaming of credit unions to better reflect their purpose, community and brand.  Change is a constant.

One thing that has remained constant, is the practice and adherence to the seven cooperative principals that date back to 1844 in England.

Principle #1: Voluntary and Open Membership
Principle #2: Democratic Member Control 
Principle #3: Member’s Economic Participation 
Principle #4: Autonomy and Independence
Principle #5: Education, Training, and Information 
Principle #6: Cooperation Among Cooperatives 
Principle #7: Concern for Community

From the Foundation’s perspective we focus on Principle #6 – Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures, and Principle #7 – While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies and programs accepted by the members.

Our strength is in our numbers. This enables us to action “concern for community” with our CU Succeed Youth Bursary Program.

We extend a warm welcome to our two newest members, Comtech Fire and Your Neighbourhood.

Thank you to all of our members, we are grateful for your continuing support. To those who are not yet members, it is easy to join this growing group. Give us a call!

Co-operative Identity Award

Michelle Christmann, Community Relations Officer at Quinte First Credit Union received the coveted Co-operative Identity Award at the 2017 Provincial Co-op Conference hosted at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Toronto September 28th. The award was presented by Claude Gauthier from Growmark Inc.

Quinte First Credit Union President & CEO Carrie Gregoire said, “I have been in the credit union system for eleven years. Until our recent merger, I can honestly say I have never met anyone who is as passionate, energetic and driven about the co-operative system as Michelle.”  She added, “Her enthusiasm is contagious.”

Clayton Shold, Executive Director of Ontario Credit Union Foundation, was on this years selection panel exclaimed “Michelle is clearly someone who exemplifies the co-operative spirit and takes her enthusiasm in to work, and in to her community every day!”

Michelle’s list of achievements is long, she is a certified Each One Teach One (EOTO) instructor and has delivered presentations to elementary and secondary schools, as well as a local college. Michelle partnered with Centre Hastings Secondary School in Madoc to open one of the first student-run co-operatives in Ontario. She applied for, and was successful in obtaining a $10,000 Community Empowerment grant from Concentra which will be partner with four new schools next year to start four new student-run co-operatives. Michelle has worked with different co-operatives to showcase them and enhance community offerings. She introduced a brand ambassador program at Quinte First so all staff can speak to the benefits of co-operatives. The next question you might ask is “who has a cloning machine we can walk Michelle through a few times?!”

Congratulations Michelle, a very deserving honour!

2017 marks the 17th year of the Co-operative Spirit Awards, which recognizes both individuals and organizations, that are making a significant impact on the Ontario co-operative movement. As of October 2015, 122 Spirit Awards have been awarded.

Jessica Plenzick is 2017 Leadership Niagara Bursary Recipient

In 2014, the Ontario Credit Union Foundation opened the Leadership Niagara Community Investment Fund and annually awards a full tuition bursary to a deserving Niagara credit union leader. This year will mark Leadership Niagara’s tenth year graduating 317 community leaders and the completion of 64 community projects. The program has been the highest enrolled Community Leadership program in Canada since 2012.

OCUF is pleased to announce this year’s bursary recipient is Jessica Plenzick from FirstOntario Credit Union. Jessica is the Member Experience Manager at the Scott Street branch in St. Catharines.

She has a strong background in the financial services industry and skills in banking, coaching, sales and retail.  Jessica demonstrates a passion for helping others and as a professional, she is focused on empowering her team to uncover financial solutions for their membership. In her current role, she oversees a team of seven who strive to provide the best Member experience, guidance and support for their Members.

She is truly passionate about her work and always eager to connect with others. Jessica told us “While I enjoy all aspects of my job, the best part is working with my team and our Members to learn and understand their financial goals and work together to achieve them. As we go through this collaborative process, we understand our membership a little bit more. I strive on continuous learning to empower and teach others how to bring out the best in themselves.” 

Jessica provides leadership throughout her community by being a part of several initiatives at FirstOntario, including their volunteer Blue Wave program and student nutrition program. She is also involved with Port Weller Public School where she helps serve students breakfast. Jessica also spends time assisting new leaders by being a volunteer Dale Carnegie coach alongside the Instructor. 

Jessica we wish you well over the next ten months on the Leadership Niagara program. You will then join a growing network dedicated to ensuring a stronger, healthier, more vibrant Niagara.