Friend of the Foundation Inductees 2021

It was a pleasure for OCUF to announce the induction of two new “Friend of the Foundation” recipients at our Annual General Meeting.

Joel LalondeJoel Lalonde was the first inductee. Joel served on the OCUF Board for nine years. He was a strong contributor to the Foundations leadership and strategic direction. For six years as Secretary – Treasurer Joel ensured there was strong oversight of the Foundations finances. As Chair of the Audit & Investment Committee he was the key contact with our auditor.

Joel oversaw the move of our permanent capital funds to an investment management firm, Jarislowsky Fraser at the end of 2016. That move has been fortuitous as we have experienced a return of 7.2% since inception.

Joel, we welcome you as a Friend of the Foundation and thank you for your contribution to OCUF.

Our second inductee was Dan Coldwell. Dan completed nine years on the OCUF Board, the last six as Chair.

What can we say about this larger-than-life individual? Dan tirelessly prompted the Board to think bigger and to be better. Dan ensured good governance. He ensured every Director had an equal voice around the table. He challenged us. He led us through a metamorphosis, embracing the past, but knowing we had to change as our member credit unions were changing.

Under Dan’s watch OCUF recruited a new Executive Director, rebranded, and grown the number of member credit unions. Dan oversaw the creation of the CU Succeed Youth Bursary, and he attracted solid talent from the credit union sector to serve as Directors.

Dan thank you for your nine years of service, your commitment, and your passion.

Martin Gillis Receives 2021 Distinguished Service Award

OCUF is pleased to congratulate Martin (Marty) Gillis, WFCU Credit Union Board Chair on receiving the 2021 Distinguished Service Award.

This award recognizes the outstanding service to the Credit Union movement in Ontario beyond the level of the individual credit union. Candidates are nominated based on their commitment and demonstration of the extensive criterion, including Leadership, Advocacy, Accomplishments, Practical Experience and Meritorious Service.

Marty has been involved in the credit union system for nearly 50 years, and continues to exhibit outstanding leadership and professional standards that enhance the credit union movement. These various leadership positions in the cooperative system and his tremendous commitment, over the years, to local community organizations attests to this most deserving honour.

Marty is a long-time proponent for Board Governance having structured and negotiated numerous mergers, acquisitions and strategic alliances within the credit union system. Marty’s ability to think strategically and to implement change without eliminating important credit union values and philosophies has proven extremely valuable for WFCU Credit Union and the system overall.

“Marty is a tremendous asset to WFCU Credit Union. His passion, knowledge and thirst for learning has proven instrumental as an advocate for the credit union system but more importantly his ever-mindful concern for our members, their families, and their collective wellbeing is what makes Marty an inspiring and deserving choice,” said Eddie Francis, President and CEO, WFCU Credit Union. “We are all very proud to have Marty as the Chair of our Board of directors, all of us are better because of his leadership and passion for our organization.”

Marty recognizes unique opportunities which continue to bring awareness and credibility not only to WFCU Credit Union, but also to the entire credit union system. Such opportunities demonstrate the financial strength and commitment credit unions bring to their communities. Marty has been a champion for numerous initiatives that have expanded visibility of the credit union brand and increased confidence in the financial services credit unions offer.

“OCUF is absolutely delighted to recognize Marty Gillis with the Distinguished Service Award. He joins a list of credit union legends, and so he should. For five decades, Marty has passionately promoted co-operative values. He is an icon in our sector, a strong ambassador, best known to walk the talk,” said Dan Coldwell, Chair Ontario Credit Union Foundation at the OCUF AGM.

The Distinguished Service Award was first introduced in 1979 by Central 1 and has been awarded to many celebrated recipients over the years. Marty now joins these exemplary figures in the credit union system and will be remembered for the difference he has sought out to make in the financial services industry.

YNCU Wins Outstanding Corporate Achievement Award

We are very excited to announce Your Neighbourhood Credit Union was the winner of the 2021 Corporate Achievement Award!

To say 2020 was a memorable year would be an understatement.

One year ago, we were a couple of months into the pandemic. Everyone was worried. Over the last year, credit unions have stepped up in their communities in extraordinary ways. This was evident as we reviewed this year’s OCAA submissions. At our recent AGM, Kevin Connolly who presented the award commented, “I can say on behalf of the adjudication panel, it made us very proud to be part of the credit union sector! The quality of submissions we received clearly showed credit unions concern for your staff, for your members and for your communities.” The quality and number of submissions received was fantastic. We thank all of those who put time and energy into sharing your story.

One submission was the unanimous choice of our adjudication panelists. YNCU was invited to submit a short video explaining their initiative, what it took to make it happen, and what the outcome was.

Click on the image to the left to see the video prepared by YNCU that outlines the program they created to help small business in the communities they serve.

I hope you were as impressed as we were with the outstanding impact YNCU had on their communities in 2020 and will have in the years ahead.

Former Board Chair Dan Coldwell, in a press release commented, “Adjudicating the Outstanding Corporate Achievement Award was more difficult this year. With COVID, so many credit unions in Ontario stepped up to help the communities they serve. The many submissions we received were shining examples of how credit unions looked after their staff, their members and the many in the community who struggled during the pandemic.  Your Neighbourhood Credit Union outdid themselves in the eyes of our panelists. A significant investment was made to help small businesses stay afloat during these very challenging times. The idea of establishing websites by geographic area focused on promoting small businesses, many of whom had never considered online retailing, was not only creative, but it was also brilliant. It was a lifeline. The fact this is a sustainable project is a bonus. Well done YNCU! You have made us all proud.”

YNCU provided a statement to be shared at the Annual General Meeting that read:

Your Neighbourhood Credit Union is honoured to receive this award. We are inspired by the community initiatives led by so many credit unions in the system. And we are thankful to have such a dedicated team of employees that want to work with our members to help our communities thrive. We hope you enjoy this glimpse of Shop Your Neighborhood.

Congratulations YNCU for your achievement.


Welcome OPPA Credit Union

A warm welcome to the OPPA Credit Union who has decided to become a member of OCUF. We are delighted to have you.

OPPA Credit Union was started by Ontario Provincial Police officers in 1971. They focus solely on helping OPP officers, staff and their families achieve financial security. They serve over 8,000 members with over $225 million in assets. The credit union is in Barrie and offers products, services and financial planning/investment advice second to none.

For those not familiar with OPPA Credit Union, this extract from their website may be of interest:

We understand and respect our members and the challenges they face in making their dreams come true. The life of a police officer is unique. Personal stress is great. We focus our business on helping our members and their families achieve their financial goals. And we’ve been doing it since 1971. In other words, we exist to improve your life. And, we’re better qualified than most other financial institutions to do so. Because we know what makes you special.

Over the past few years, in order to achieve our growth goals, we have organized our credit union differently from other financial institutions. We have not embarked on large-scale advertising. Rather, we have focused on building our business one customer at a time, by providing excellent service and value-added advice. Every interaction with our members is critical. That’s why we have dedicated Financial Advisors assigned to a specific group of members. They work hard to get to know what their members want and need.

Again, our sincere welcome to our new friends at OPPA Credit Union!

AGM is May 13th

OCUF announced Thursday the Annual General Meeting will be held at 9:30 am on Thursday, May 13th. 

We’ll be Zoomin’ again this year! You can grab your cup of coffee or tea or whatever suites your fancy to listen in on this annual event. 

This year we will be presenting the Distinguished Service Award as well as an Outstanding Corporate Achievement Award. The submissions were excellent, and we expect you’ll be as impressed as we are. 

You need to register to attend, so we can get out the meeting link to you (no later than May 10th). You must be a member to vote. Lifetime members and annual members can vote. If you are not a member and would like to become one, check out the membership details

See you at the AGM!


Cherry Downs to host 30th Golf Classic

We are excited to announce the 30th Golf Classic will be played at Cherry Downs Golf Club on the eastern edge of Greater Toronto. Cherry Downs Golf Club is easily accessible, but delivers the atmosphere of a grand and peaceful old club.

Designed by Canadian architectural icon Howard Watson, the course opened in 1962 on rolling terrain framed by woodlands. Fifty years later, Cherry Downs is a mature course that fits the eye like a grand master’s painting, but the dense forests and roller-coaster fairways are a stern test of course management.

Designed as a homage to the greens at Augusta National, the devilish putting surfaces are our most defining feature. Slippery slopes, plateaus, run-offs and the protective surrounds will test your putting mettle. Before your round, hit the range which features six target greens.

As the first course in the ClubLink family, Cherry Downs holds a special place in the hearts of many for its adventure, challenging greens and old-time beauty.

Bob Watson Passes

We say good by to another well known and respected member of the credit union community.

Bob Watson passed away at age 70 on Tuesday, January 19th, 2021, after a very courageous two year battle with cancer. He passed peacefully at home surrounded by his kids, grandkids and great-grandkids. Bob’s greatest joy and fulfillment in life was his role as husband, dad and papa. He led a close, loving and loyal family. He showed us the importance of putting others first, how far a listening ear or helping hand can really go, and how a simple smile can often brighten even the gloomiest of days. He always put others first and was happiest when the whole gang gathered for any occasion!

As Manager of Atlas Steels Credit Union, and eventually CEO of PenFinancial Credit Union, Bob will be remembered for his indomitable spirit, compassion and dedication to his local community. A rare gem in the business world, he was respected and loved by many. When you met Bob, he left a lasting impression. If it was at a business meeting or on the golf course, his warm smile, sense of humour, and interest in you made him a person you truly enjoyed being with.

Known as Wobbly to his friends, Bob was fortunate to have shared life’s adventures with many longtime buddies who have certainly become a chosen second family. It was these bonds and friendships where Bob learned to embrace and embody the joys of remaining eternally young at heart.

The family know that Bob touched the lives of so many and his greatest wish was that we remember him for the joy, laughter and good times shared. He will continue to live on through our stories and memories of him. The family has asked if you could share and any photos and bestowed nicknames at

Mike Shepherd Passes

On Sunday November 29th, Mike Shepherd passed away at home with his family beside him,. Mike was diagnosed with glioblastoma in the summer of 2019.  Mike was a truly wonderful man who was married to the love of his life Linda, and they had two amazing sons, Jeff and Jim.

Many will remember Mike was CEO of Prosperity ONE Credit Union. For the past number of years Mike was a Board member of FirstOntario Credit Union. Very active in his community he was Board Chair of Halton Learning Foundation (HFL) and recently, Chair of HLF’s finance committee.  Mike also contributed greatly to the MS Society of Halton as their top fundraiser in Canada. He was a strong supporter of Junior Achievement and the Milton Chamber of Commerce as Chair. Mike was honoured with the Milton Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award this past April. 

Mike’s love of community and of giving to others has left an indelible legacy. 

A lifetime member of the Ontario Credit Union Foundation, Mike’s voice is no longer with us, but his spirit and memory live on.

29th Golf Classic

Credit Union Community pulls together at 29th Golf Classic

This has been a year like no other.

It was a difficult decision; cancel the 29th Golf Classic or postpone it from June to September. Cancelling the event would have meant there would not have been a CU Succeed Youth Bursary program in 2021. Postponing it was a risk as who knew when a second wave might hit?

September 14th was chosen, and we reached out to credit unions and suppliers in the sector. It was incredibly rewarding to see so many step up and support the fundraiser. We are very grateful to all who contributed.

We went forward with the Golf Classic in a COVID environment. It was a different event than in past years, but golfers and sponsors were enthusiastic and happy to support a strong cause.

Dan Coldwell, OCUF Board Chair said, “the event raised $68,740, an amazing result thanks to our golfers and sponsors. Each of you can stand tall knowing you are investing in the future of students and their educational pursuits.”

“This shows that our community can and will continue to come together to support important causes. Applause all around!” commented Frugina Ball, OCUF Vice Chair.

Credit Unions in Ontario can also sign up to be Bursary Boosters. This year $7,500 was contributed from Gold Boosters Ganaraska, Heritage Savings, Momentum, Northern, Oshawa Community and Sudbury. Silver Boosters included Comtech Fire, Frontline and Tandia.

The 2021 CU Succeed Youth Bursary will help post-secondary students during a time when their needs have been hampered by reduced part-time and summer employment opportunities. We look forward to creating a bursary pool of $75,000 next year thanks to the Golf Classic and Bursary Boosters.

The CU Succeed Youth Bursary over the past five years has awarded $361,000 to 258 students.

A big thank you to all of our sponsors this year!

2020 CUSYB Awarded

$75,000 Awarded to Ontario Students

From Ancaster to Woodstock, Thunder Bay to Barry’s Bay, Lasalle to Carlton Place and many points in between, the CU Succeed Youth Bursary recognized 67 outstanding recipients with a bursary ranging from $1,000 to $3,000.

The bursary created five years ago by Ontario Credit Union Foundation (OCUF), awards post-secondary students who have demonstrated financial need, as well as having a strong history of community engagement.

“This has been a challenging year with COVID-19 severely limiting summer income for students, making the additional supports such as our bursary program a valuable supplement to offset tuition or living expenses” said OCUF Board Chair, Dan Coldwell. “The quality and number of applicants continues to increase each year. It is rewarding to see so many member credit unions supporting the bursary in their branches with social media.”

Elisabeth van der Pol, a Board Director with WFCU Credit Union, who has reviewed submissions for the past five years commented, “It is amazing that these students can fit in so many extra curricular activities such as volunteering and sports, while maintaining strong grades. Just when you think these applications cannot get any stronger, they do, and they continue to impress.”

A total of $75,000 was awarded to 67 students from twenty credit unions located across Ontario. This brings our five-year total to $361,000 in bursaries presented to 258 students. Click to view the list of students and credit unions.

The annual fundraiser, the 29th Golf Classic is coming up September 14th at The Club at Bond Head. Proceeds from this event will fund the 2021 bursary pool. Click for more information.

We congratulate our 2020 bursary recipients and wish them a successful school year.

We are excited to announce the date and location of the 29th Golf Classic. It will be held on Monday June 8, 2020 at The Club at Bond Head.

The Club at Bond Head offers the ultimate golf experience just minutes west of Highway 400, a few kilometres north of Aurora, Ontario. Two magnificent courses, designed by the renowned firm of Hurdzan-Fry, are presided over by a palatial clubhouse.

We will be playing the South Course, a links-style track, with wide fairways, gaping bunkers and fescue roughs. You might want to bring your Scottish accent to feel at home here!

The past two years we have held the Golf Classic in Toronto to make it a bit more centralized. This year we have gone north of Toronto to make it easier to get to for those traveling the 401 coming in from the east or west. Anyone coming out of Toronto will be against the flow of rush hour.

The 12-hole format was well received last year and will be repeated at this year’s event.  More information will follow on sponsorship opportunities and registration.

Over the past four years, this event has helped fund the CU Succeed Youth Bursary which has awarded $286,000 to 191 students.