We were delighted to receive news OCUF lifetime member, Wayne Lee was awarded the prestigious Gary Gillam Award for social responsibility. This award is  jointly sponsored by Alterna Savings and Central 1 and recognizes and honours individuals within the Ontario and British Columbia credit union members who demonstrate exemplary achievements in:

  • Promoting social responsibility and/or sustainability in credit unions; and/or
  • Promoting credit unions as a socially responsible investment alternative

Wayne served 43 years on the Board of Community First Credit Union from which he just recently retired.

Described by his colleagues as “always dedicated to the advancement of the co-operative system, not only locally but also internationally” Wayne has led many initiatives that have improved the lives of people in the community of Sault Ste. Marie including:

  • developing a bursary program for medical students studying at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine which has resulted in more doctors remaining in “The Soo”;
  • initiating the provision of funds for the building of a new hospital of which two units bear the name of the credit union; and
  • developing a program along with other credit unions that had CUETS provide a percentage of the Exchange fees to local credit unions in the North to donate to their local health organizations.

Wayne also served on the Board of Credit Union Central of Ontario for many years, and all of its committees at one time or another, and served as Chair of that Board as well. In addition, he served the system as a Board member of the Co-operators, and the Canadian Co-operative Association. Wayne also was a founding Board member of the first Labour Sponsored Investment Fund in Ontario working in co-operation with both the Ontario Worker Co-op Federation and United Steelworkers. He served as Chair of that organization until it merged with the Growthworks Fund in 2006.

In typical Wayne Lee fashion, he did not wish any fanfare but agreed to allow us to make mention on our website. Wayne is dividing his $2,500 in award money between the Ontario Credit Union Charitable Foundation and Algoma Residential Community Hospice. Wayne we are grateful and appreciative of your continued support.

Who was Gary H. Gillam

This Award was established to honour the memory and work of Gary H. Gillam. Gary was the Director, Legal, Governmental Affairs and Administration, at Credit Union Central of Ontario from 1982-1988. In 1988, he became CEO of Unicoll Credit Union (now Alterna Savings), where he worked until illness forced his resignation in 1993.

Gary Gillam was one of the leading advocates for social responsibility in the credit union system. He vigorously promoted the concept of social investment, calling on credit unions and their centrals to use social as well as financial criteria for their investment portfolios. He supported the development of community loans funds to provide assistance to socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. At Unicoll and CUCO, he initiated social audits to measure the social performance of the organization, as a complementary process to the financial audit.

The Gary Gillam Award came into existence in 1996 and is awarded annually.