Oregon and Washington Credit Union Foundations Approve Merger to Enhance Philanthropic Support of the Northwest CU Community

With a unanimous vote and a round of applause, the much anticipated agreement to merge the Oregon Credit Union Foundation (OCUF) and the Washington Credit Union Foundation (WCUF) was finalized on Oct. 14 at 12:26 p.m. The merger plan to become the Northwest Credit Union Foundation (NWCUF) takes effect Jan. 1, 2012.

The comfortable feeling in the board room belied the months of teamwork, thought, research and legal work necessary to even prepare for the historic vote, however.

WCUF Board Chair Paula Slaye and OCUF Foundation Chair Carlyn Roy, pictured here with Troy Stang and RoxAnne Kruger of the NWCUA, signed the merger agreement on Oct. 14.

“It is important that we communicate the hard work done by the Oregon Foundation and the Washington Foundation. We did a lot of the governance work, and we determined the direction and committee structure before the vote, so it has been carefully and fully vetted out,” said OCUF Board Chair Carlyn Roy. “We are aligned,” she added, stressing the work done prior to the vote should ensure a smooth transition.

“The membership will realize benefit from the merger, because we will be more streamlined and effective in providing professional development, education, disaster relief and credit union outreach,” said Paula Slaye, WCUF Board Chair. “Our Foundations are already closely aligned in our mission, and collaboratively we will seize this opportunity to become even more impactful.”

Each state’s current Foundation has a decades-long history rich in funding grants which leverage the credit union movement’s commitment to consumer financial education and numerous community outreach endeavors. Combined grant awards by the two organizations so far in 2011 exceed $225,000.

“The development of our future leaders is an important benefit of what the Foundations have provided and once merged will provide even more of,” Roy said. “Credit unions, regardless of asset size, can ensure that we have stronger, solid leadership moving forward. The Foundation provides professional development opportunities that result in a solid core of trained, passionate leaders.”

“As the Foundations came together, it was apparent to all involved that the value of combining resources could make them stronger together,” said RoxAnne Kruger, WCUF Executive Director and NWCUA Senior Vice President. “The investment credit unions make in the Northwest Credit Union Foundation has the potential for greater impact with this collaboration.”

The existing Foundations’ trustees will serve as the transitional board through October 2012, when the permanent NWCUF Board will be seated. The organization’s first planning session will take place in the first quarter of next year. But even while preparing for the formal merger, each state’s Foundation continues its busy, business-as-normal operations, Kruger said.

The process of preparing the Foundations to merge took months of teamwork. The trustees now serving the Washington and Oregon Foundations will serve as the transitional board in 2012.

Throughout the remainder of 2011, service will not be interrupted for beneficiaries of either state Foundation. Washington’s Foundation is processing its Cycle 3 grant and scholarship requests, while Oregon’s Foundation continues its practice of an open application process.

NWCUA President Troy Stang stressed that there is continued access to funding in Oregon and encouraged individuals and organizations to bring their interest to his attention.

The NWCUF board anticipates reviewing applications and awarding grants on a cycle system, but Oregon applicants can be assured the NWCUF will be flexible during the transition next year.

“In 2012, we will establish a strong and effective Foundation after the carefully planned merger,” Slaye said. “We took the time to do this correctly, so now we can move forward effectively. We will make sure we keep the needs of our members in mind, first and always.”

 

Questions? Contact Foundation Development Associate Josalyn Alston: 206.340.4814, jalston@nwcua.org.

Posted in NCUA, NWCUA.