BC Disaster Relief Appeal

Our hearts go out to all those impacted by the extreme weather and resulting flooding in British Columbia. We understand there has been one confirmed death with that number potentially rising as rescue efforts continue.

With major highways washed out, the impact will be felt well beyond the interior of B.C. Major supply chains have dramatically changed, impacting the whole province and other parts of Canada. Truck are routing through the U.S. as the only viable option. The province has declared a state of emergency. If you are interested in helping those directly impacted, you can make a donation to the Red Cross. They have set up the B.C. Floods & Extreme Weather Appeal.

Some additional information many won’t know. The Abbotsford area was once covered by Sumas Lake and lies below sea level. The lake was drained and reclaimed in 1925 with the completion of the Vedder Canal and Sumas Pump Station, which diverted the Sumas River along four creeks. As well, 40 km of flood protection dikes were also built at the time. One of the reasons for this reclamation was the mosquito infestations were so bad due to the widely changing water levels of the lake. In fact school children would be kept home from school sometimes as long as six weeks, and livestock would die from loss of blood.

Within a few years, tens of thousands of acres of farmland were added to the Lower Mainland, becoming the Sumas Prairie of quilted, pristine green fields. This area of the former lakebed became some of the most productive farmland in Canada. 

This background information isn’t provided to undermine the severity of this disaster. A record 275 mm of rain fell in one day, after two weeks of rain having saturated the ground and surrounding mountains. 


The dying art of the handwritten card.

When was the last time you received a note, a handwritten note, inside a card saying thank you? Made you think, didn’t we?

In today’s world we are quick to fire off an email, or text message. And more and more of our youth say, what every you do, don’t leave me voice mail, I never listen to them.

How the world has changed!

Yesterday OCUF received the card you see below. Handwritten. Unsolicited.

Addressed to “CU Succeed Youth Bursary” which represents not just our Board, but the many credit unions, supporters, and sponsors that make the bursary possible. This card is for you.

Kaleb, we say thank you. Thank you for taking the time to express your gratitude in a way that left an impact in todays fast paced world. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of saying thank you. Your “reaching out” suggests your thoughtfulness will take you as far as you wish to travel in your post-secondary journey and beyond.

We liked the card very much. If you are interested, check out this website nativereflections.ca

What can I do?

Today is National Truth and Reconciliation Day. Lots of orange shirts around. Many companies and organizations are closed to make this a day of reflection.

The day comes with many emotions, with many perspectives, and deep feelings. Not everyone is aligned in their feelings. It is unrealistic to believe we all will align.

We can choose to use the day to reflect and understand other’s points of view. Understand more about Canadian history. Perhaps it can be a day with less judgement and recognize we all share this great land we call Canada.

If you want to move past reflection, you might consider donating one day’s pay. The background on the initiative can be read here. Or you can visit their website.

CU Succeed Youth Bursaries Announced

We had 275 individuals register for the bursary this year with 118 completing the full application by June 30th. After much deliberation, and careful consideration, 69 applicants were chosen to receive a bursary award this year.

Our top recipient, Huynh My Linh D. (left) was one of the strongest applications we have ever received. Her community involvement, scholastic achievement and demonstrated need was recognized by the reviewers. Huynh My Linh receives our top award of $3,000. An equally impressive application came in a very close second from Silma M. (right) who is receiving $2,000. Six individuals tied for third spot, each receiving $1,500. Congratulations to Reauna V., Benjamin G., Zoe M., Jose N., Syeda Taliya R., and Lilly V. The remaining award winners each will receive $1,000.

We were delighted to have receive applications from members of 33 different credit unions, and award are going out to members from 28 of those credit unions. This is our highest participation rate yet. We extend our thanks to all the credit unions who promoted the CU Succeed Youth Bursary to their members.

A big thank you to the nine adjudicators who worked through 118 completed CU Succeed Youth Bursary applications. Congratulations to all the bursary recipients. We wish everyone who applied a successful school year ahead.

Bursary Boosters Bust Out

The 2021 Bursary Boosters came together to exceed the planned goal of $10,000 by reaching $11,236!

Congratulations to all our credit union friends and supporters who made this possible. Kudos to Northern Credit Union who raised an amazing $2,000 through a variety of different initiatives, one of which involved getting to throw a cream pie in one of the executive’s face. Tickets for that one sold faster than a Bruce Springsteen concert!

Alterna was also very much a grassroots campaign then not only raised funds, but awareness for the CU Succeed Youth Bursary. Different branches too part with Lakeshore West the number one fundraiser, followed closely by the Contact Centre and Bolton branch. All together over $1,500 was raised.

Kudos to our Gold Boosters, Alterna Savings, Ganaraska, Heritage Savings, Kingston Community, Luminus, Northern, Sudbury and Tandia. Special thanks to our Silver Boosters, Equity, Frontline and Oshawa Community!   

At the end of the day, the recipients of our CU Succeed Youth Bursary are the beneficiaries of your support, so on their behalf a hearty thank you!

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.