Jack Craig Leaves Us

We are saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Craig. Jack was a lifetime member of the Ontario Credit Union Foundation and served for years on our Board of Directors. Our condolences go out to Dianne and the family.

Born in Oakville, Manitoba, he began life as a farmer but soon went back to school, earning his PhD. Jack had a long and accomplished career as a Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto, becoming an internationally recognized authority in the field of co-operatives. He served on the Board of Directors of Alterna Credit Union and The Co- operators Insurance Company.

Jack was awarded the prestigious Gary Gillam Award in 2001 and inducted into the Canadian Credit Union Hall of Fame in 2003.

Jack and his wife Dianne were dedicated global travellers and visited every continent during their 60 years of marriage. Jack’s profound goodness and decency, his respect for other people and cultures, and his dedication to the betterment of humanity, served as an example to all who knew him. Jack often expressed his amazement and gratitude for the wonderful life he had led.

Jack died peacefully on May 9, 2019 after a long struggle with cancer. Much loved husband, father and grandfather, he is survived by his wife Dianne, sons Brad and Robert, sister Edna, four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Rest in peace Jack.

For those wishing to make a donation in Jack’s memory, you can do so here.

L.I.U.N.A. Local 183

Ontario Credit Union Foundation is very pleased to welcome L.I.U.N.A. Local 183 Credit Union as our newest member.

L.I.U.N.A. Local 183 Credit Union, was established in February 1978, proudly serving the members of L.I.U.N.A. Local 183 Labourers Industry. They operate in two locations, serving the Greater Toronto Area and Barrie communities. Offering a strong line up of products and services, they pride themselves on their personalized customer service offered in a variety of languages.

CEO Bea Pinto commented “We are happy to join the many other credit unions who are members of OCUF, it is great to be part of the bigger team. We are also pleased to promote the CU Succeed Youth Bursary program to our members and their children.” She continued, “The Labourers’ Local 183 also have a Scholarship Trust Fund that has been awarding scholarships to hardworking members, the children and the grandchildren of Local 183 Members and Retirees since 2006. Post-Secondary Education is an important asset to have and Local 183 is dedicated to helping our students. “

OCUF Board Chair Dan Coldwell said “We welcome L.I.U.N.A. Local 183. We believe your members, and the Foundation will see mutual benefit. Together we are stronger.”

Welcome New Directors!

At the 40th Annual General Meeting elections were held to fill two vacancies as a resulf of George De La Rosa and Dave Schurman having reached their maximum nine year term limit.

We are pleased to announce Joanne Battaglia was elected to a three-year term.

Joanne Battaglia is a strategic marketing professional with over 25 years of experience in retail, B2B and the financial services industry. She has held senior Marketing positions with such companies and Dylex, Diversy, Kodak, CUMIS and Canadian Tire Financial Services. She joined FirstOntario Credit Union in 2011 as Director of Marketing & Product Strategy and held this role for several years. In 2018, she was promoted to the role of Vice President Marketing, Communications & Community Partnerships. In this role, Joanne leverages her marketing expertise, passion for community social responsibility and innovative approach to business to create impact in the communities that FirstOntario serves.

Joanne is active in the community, and is regularly seen supporting FirstOntario’s corporate sponsorship at various community events. She also serves as Vice- President on the Stoney Creek Chamber board, Director on St. Joseph’s Villa Foundation board and Director on the Hamilton Bulldogs Foundation.

Joanne resides in Stoney Creek with her husband, and as two children off attending university and pursuing their dreams.

Adam Kirilo was also elected to a three-year term.

Adam Kirilo is the Vice President of Operations & Finance at Luminus Financial. He started in the Credit Union idustry in 2006, joining the Audit Committee for Food Family Credit Union. Adam became Chair of the Board and an instrumental voice to lead merger discussions as his vision and determination proved influential amongst the other Directors. Adam continued his leadership on the Board as FFCU joined Luminus Financial in 2011. As Luminus Financial grew, its development fostered interest from Adam to join the Senior Management Team; to which he stepped down from the Board in early 2014 to live the dream of working for his Credit Union on a daily basis.

Adam is a Chartered Professional Accountant with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University. He led the integration of an enterprise content management system, Laserfiche, and helped earn Luminus Financial a Run Smarter Award for Best Human Resources Initiative at the 2017 Laserfiche Empower Conference. He has governed a handful of minor sports organizations but currently enjoys watching his son play high level baseball and his daughter skate across the ice.

Frugina Ball elected Vice Chair

The OCUF Board is pleased to announce Frugina Ball, Region Head, Member Experience, Greater Toronto Area for Alterna Savings, was elected to the role of Vice Chair of the Board following the Annual General Meeting on March 28th.

Board Chair Dan Coldwell commented “Frugina joined our Board in 2017. She brings a commitment to strengthen the OCUF value proposition. Her enthusiasm is infectious! We welcome her experience and wisdom on the Executive Committee.”

Frugina joined Alterna in 2013. Prior to that she worked for two decades with one of Canada’s premier financial institutions fulfilling a District Vice President role, as well as Vice President and Market Lead for their Wealth Management division.  Frugina holds a MBA from Queens University.

Alterna President & CEO Rob Paterson has this to say, “Frugina is a talented leader. She is able to connect well with her team and gains trust easily. She navigates the organization well, building strong relationships and getting the best out of everyone. She commits to achieving excellence in her role and achieves it.”

Fellow Board Director Elisabeth van der Pol from WFCU Credit Union was very pleased with the election of Frugina to Vice Chair. “Frugina brings a lot to our Board. Her common-sense approach to issues and the creative way she looks at opportunities inspires her fellow Directors.”

Joanne Battaglia, Vice President, Marketing, Communications & Community Partnerships at FirstOntario Credit Union and Adam Kirilo, Vice President of Operations & Finance at Luminus Financial were both elected to three-year terms. 

Friend of Foundation Inductees 2019

Ontario Credit Union Foundation inducted three new “Friend of the Foundation” recipients to our hall of fame.

Over the years, OCUF has recognized individuals and organizations who have contributed significantly to our Foundation. An award is not necessarily given each year. The recipients join a list of very impressive contributors to the Foundation. Our first award was presented in 1992, and since then we have made 40 appointments. We have awarded 10 Friend of the Foundation awards to organizations, and 30 to individuals.

This year we recognized three individuals. Elisabeth van der Pol from WFCU Credit Union officiated the inductions.

Two of our inductees, Dave Schurman (FirstOntario) and George De La Rosa (Luminus Financial) are stepping down from the OCUF Board of Directors having reached their nine-year term limit. Dave and George have been active supporters, cheerleaders, and ambassadors of OCUF. They have steered the strategic direction of the Foundation while ensuring programs were efficiently implemented. Dave served for six years as Secretary/Treasurer, and the last three years as Vice Chair. Both have served on various Board committees either as a member or Chair. Three years ago, George was instrumental in the launch of the CU Succeed Youth Bursary, working closely with an external marketing agency and the Executive Director. We are going to miss them.

Our third inductee is someone who’s name was synonymous with OCUF. She was the face of the Foundation for a decade. Her smile, gregarious personality, and loud laugh enamoured her to anyone she encountered. She managed the affairs of the organization working closely with Tony Niessen for nine years, and for one year with Clayton. It seemed that she knew everyone in the Credit Union space in Ontario as well as major industry suppliers. She is now a key team player with PenFinancial. Of course, we are talking about the incredible Devon Rowan.

We are very grateful for the many years of service provided by Dave, George and Devon. Congratulations on formally being recognized as a Friend of the Foundation!

Devon Rowan, Elisabeth van der Pol, Dave Schurman, George De La Rosa wtih Aliyana

PenFinancial wins 2019 Outstanding Corporate Achievement Award

The Ontario Credit Union Foundation announces PenFinancial Credit Union was selected as the 2019 Outstanding Corporate Achievement Award recipient. The award is present annually to a member credit union in recognition of their contribution to the community.

OCUF Board Director Kevin Connolly stated, “Our intent is to recognize community impact, which can take many forms. Our review process involves assessing the submission in five key areas: Description of Community Investment, Community Impact, Recognition Received, Submission Presentation, and Power of “the story.” As in past years, the quality of our submissions was very high, making it a challenge to select a winner.”

Fellow adjudicator, Scott Windsor praised, “Congratulations on your Truly Local Commitment strategy and program.  It clearly differentiates your brand and is grounded in “the difference of being local” that has come to define credit unions.”

CEO Ken Janzen accepted the award on behalf of PenFinancial, then introduced a short video he called their “Rally Cry” which outlined their commitments to their staff, members and market area.

Congratulations PenFinancial.

Click on the photo above to watch the video

Corporate Award Nominations Open

The 2019 Outstanding Corporation Achievement Award nominations opened today. Deadline is 4 pm on March 7, 2019. The award will be presented at our AGM on March 28th.

The award is presented annually by OCUF to a member credit union in recognition of their contribution to their community.

We recognize those whose invest in the community is above normal expectations in one or more of the following ways:

  • A single project or program supported financially or otherwise during the preceding year,
  • An ongoing pattern or record of community investment continuing over an extended period through to and including the preceding calendar year,
  • A major new activity, program or commitment started during the preceding calendar year.

More details on the award.

Past winners.

2018 Recipient’s Map


The map above shows where each of our 2018 CU Succeed Youth Bursary students live.

As you might expect, a large number are in the Windsor to Ottawa corridor. If you are thinking Sudbury was our furthest point north, look again.

Look in the top left corner. Yes, north west of Thunder Bay is a small township called Ignace located about halfway between Thunder Bay and Kenora and is on the shore of Agimak Lake. The 2016 census has the population at 1,202. Ignace is the gateway to northern Ontario’s remote waterfalls, rivers and lakes – as well as the forests that surround them. It’s a popular destination for serious wilderness experiences – think fly-in fishing, hunting and camping. They also boast some of the most majestic sunsets you will find in the province. Some will say if you have never eaten at the Burger Scoop on Main Street, you haven’t lived life to the fullest. We bet you didn’t know much about Ignace, but now you do.

Our bursary recipient, Riley is a member at the local Alterna Savings branch.

Comtech Fire Opens New Branch

Congratulations to Comtech Fire Credit Union on the opening of their new branch at 531 Danforth Avenue (just west of Carlaw). The branch has a “fire” theme, with old extinguishers, fire hydrants and other fire fighting paraphernalia. The space is airy and welcoming.

The exterior as you can see in the photo to the left, really stands out on the street. Pictured is Kevin Connolly, Chief Marketing Officer, along with Sparky who needs no introduction. Sparky, along with Comtech Fire Board Vice Chair Mike Neely,  brought along a pink fire truck to help raise awareness and funds for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

Standing in front of the truck, in a very brisk north wind, are Comtech Fire Credit Union Manager of HR Shelley O’Connor beside OCUF Executive Director Clayton Shold. For the fashionistas out there, you will note Clayton is wearing a suitably appointed Toronto Fire Fighters cap. Pulling out the blue from his blazer and his eyes, it also accents the matching fire truck! Sadly, it was noted he doesn’t meet the height criteria to be a firefighter.

Best wishes to everyone at Comtech Fire on your new location!

2018 Bursary Recipients



The OCUF Board is very pleased to announce the 38 outstanding community engaged post-secondary students for 2018.  Bursary awards totalled $75,000 and ranged from $1,000 to $3,000.

Students have to demonstrate their commitment and involvement within their community as well as financial need. This year four reviewers adjudicated applications to select those appearing to the left.  Liisa Woolley (Your Neighbourhood) commented “every year the decisions become more difficult as there are so any deserving applications.” Fellow reviewer Kevin Connolly (Comtech Fire) stated “it is great to see the many different credit unions represented with bursaries being distributed all across Ontario.” A total of eighteen credit unions were represented by award recipients in 2018.

We had many notes of thanks from the students for our supporters and sponsors. A bursary recipient for the third time,  Julia D. wrote “The CU succeed bursary has given me the freedom to focus on my education in order to achieve my academic and future career goals. I am forever thankful to those who support this bursary, as your support makes a big difference and allows students more flexibility during the school year.”

To date OCUF, through the amazing support of credit unions campaigns, supporters and sponsors at our annual golf tournament fundraiser, have provided $186,000 in bursaries to 116 students.