Carolinas Foundation welcomes Hardin & Blackwell
The Foundation is excited to announce the addition of Jeff Hardin in a part-time, newly created role as the Foundation’s Director of Collaborative Programs. Jeff joins the Foundation after more than 17 years at the Carolinas Credit Union League. As part of the shift, the League and the Foundation will work together with Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) in North Carolina and South Carolina to produce the Principles & Philosophy Conference, slated for October 19-21, 2021. Hardin will spearhead this key partnership between these stakeholders and continue to lead the conference. Jeff will also assist with the Foundation’s key offerings, including our robust scholarship & fund management services, and grant programs for Chapters, non-profits, small credit unions and credit union employees for disaster relief.

Also new to the leadership of the Foundation through its 15-member Board of Directors is Creighton Blackwell, Coastal’s Chief Culture & Impact Officer and board chair for the Coastal Credit Union Foundation, a donor-advised fund at the Carolinas Foundation. Creighton Blackwell is no stranger to the Carolinas Foundation as he has served as the emcee for the Foundation’s Annual Gala for several years.

The Foundation’s mission ‘to empower and inspire credit unions to enrich their communities’ is further solidified with both Jeff and Creighton’s addition.

Other News from the Foundation
$380,425 disbursed to hundreds of CU employees
Just last week, the Foundation ended its COVID-19 Relief Program, available to employees of Carolina-based credit unions who were experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Since announcing the program in April of 2020, more than 500 grants were processed and $380,425 was disbursed to hundreds of credit union employees. The Foundation is grateful to the many donors who made these hardship grants possible! 2020 Disaster Relief Fund donors include: Allegacy, Anderson, Charlotte Metro, Coastal, Fort Bragg, Greenville, Palmetto Citizens, SC Federal, Self-Help, Sharonview, Shuford, State Employees’, Excess Share Insurance and individual donors from the Carolinas Credit Union League.

The heartwarming words of appreciation from your credit union employees have been plentiful and reminds us that our people helping people philosophy is stronger than ever. 

The Foundation will continue its partnership with GreenPath Financial Wellness, a leading national nonprofit organization, to provide access to free, one-on-one financial counseling, debt management services, and financial education resources for all employees of North and South Carolina credit unions.

We encourage you to download the Foundation’s partnership flyer with Greenpath and disburse internally to your credit union employees.
Foundation opens award submission for CUNA's state-level competition
The Carolinas Foundation invites credit unions and Chapters from across the Carolinas to prepare and submit entries for state-level judging in the annual CUNA Awards programs, which include the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award, the Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Award, and the Desjardins Youth and Adult Financial Education Awards. Submitted entries should cover credit union or Chapter projects that are completed between June of 2020 to July of 2021. Credit unions may submit entries online through the Carolinas Foundation/CUNA Awards portal (see “Submission Links”). The deadline for all entries is Friday, July 16, 2021.

First-place winners from the state-level program will be forwarded for national judging by CUNA. The award ceremony for state-level winners will take place during the Foundation’s Awards Gala held in collaboration with the Carolinas Credit Union League during its LAUNCH Conference slated for February 2022 in Charlotte. 

CUsTogether Conferences to benefit the Foundation
The upcoming Employees Conference at Kingston Plantation in Myrtle Beach is slated for May 6-8, with conference registation open until April 30! The Employees Conference is designed for credit unions employees in North and South Carolina and promotes education and networking between credit union supervisors, senior managers and staff members. The Leadership Conference is slated for September 9-11, 2021.

Conference sponsor, Nick Wodogaza, President & CEO of Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union, hopes to provide a venue to encourage professional growth and cooperation for credit unions across the Carolinas. Nick is proud to recognize registration fees exceeding direct costs will be donated to the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation, with participating credit unions and program leaders recognized as the contributors.

Congratulations to our small CU grant winners!
The Carolinas Credit Union Foundation has announced its 2021 Hamilton Fund grant winners totaling $11,250, awarded in partnership with Summit Credit Union. 2021 winning credit unions include: Abbeville Community FCU, Blue Flame CU, Brookland FCU, Edisto FCU, Emerald Credit Association FCU, G.H.S. FCU, Greensboro CU, HealthShare CU and Pickens FCU. Each credit union will receive a $1,250 grant to be used for staff development and training expenses.

Courtesy of the James V. and Elizabeth N. Hamilton Foundation, a legacy of Sis and Jim Hamilton, the Hamilton Grant Fund supports professional development opportunities for employees from small credit unions with $50 million or less in assets. In total, the James V. and Elizabeth N. Hamilton Foundation contributed $100,000 in 2019 to be reserved for this professional development grant program with up to $20,000 to be disbursed annually through 2024.

Improve your members' financial wellness
The Carolinas Foundation is partnering with the League in 2021 for the Enhanced Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCEP), offering credit union staff in the Carolinas an opportunity to become Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors. Our partnership reduced the registration fee to $645 per person (a cost savings of $350!) and grants are also available to small credit unions under $50M in assets through the Hamilton Fund. FiCEP will be as held as a completely virtual event in 2021 with a registration deadline of May 25, 2021.

Calling all supporters: Auction items requested!
Lastly, the Foundation is beginning to collect auction items for the Carolinas Cup slated for September 19 – 21, 2021 at the Mid Pines & Pine Needles Golf Clubs in Southern Pines, NC as well as the League’s Annual Meeting in June at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC (this auction will be virtual). We would love to have your support to help make our auctions a huge success! If we can count on your credit union’s donation for the Carolinas Cup or the Annual Meeting (or both!), simply email me for more details. Thank you in advance.  

Contact the Foundation:
Lauren Whaley, President | 919-600-8219 | E-mail |

The Carolinas Credit Union Foundation was incorporated in 1993 as a charitable organization dedicated to the embodiment of the “people helping people” philosophy of credit unions. Its mission is to empower and inspire credit unions in the Carolinas through collaborative opportunities to enrich our communities. The Foundation serves as a founding partner to Victory Junction, a year-round camping facility, located in Randleman, NC, for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses. Over the last 16 years, more than $5 million has been raised by credit unions in the Carolinas to support its camp and outreach programs. The Foundation also serves as a partner in philanthropy with credit unions, assisting charitable giving through donor-advised funds, managing scholarship programs, supporting small credit unions with professional development grants, and aiding disaster relief for the local, national, and global credit union communities.