Kim Vu Steps into New Role to Advance Community Investment and Social Impact for Northwest Credit Unions

Telling the credit union story and positioning credit unions to do even more in their communities, guarantees a future in which credit unions thrive and communities are made better.

The collective power of partnerships identifies solutions to address and move communities forward, according to the credit union innovator and philanthropist selected to fill the new role of Vice President of Community Investment and Social Impact for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). Kim Vu has also been appointed as Executive Director of the Northwest Credit Union Foundation (NWCUF).

The appointment is effective April 22, 2013. Both functional areas are under the direct guidance and supervision of Denise Gabel, NWCUA Chief Operating Officer.

“We are thrilled to have Kim join our team and contribute her passion, skills and network,” said Gabel. “Kim’s primary focus will be to expand our influence throughout the Pacific Northwest region by working with thought leaders in education, economic development and social innovation. Credit unions have a great story to tell and we intend to amplify this message.”

Vu is currently the Vice President, Social Impact, Innovation & Community Relationships at Technology Credit Union, a $1.7 billion credit union based in Silicon Valley. She is responsible for managing outreach initiatives which include strategic community partnerships, employee volunteer and philanthropic programs and advocacy. Vu has been recognized by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as a Woman of Distinction in Banking and Finance. Other accolades include recognition as a Top 40 under 40 professional, and as one of the Silicon Valley 100 Women of Influence.

“The Association and the Foundation are well positioned to take the lead in engaging with all our community stakeholders on behalf of credit unions in the Northwest—nonprofits, foundations, corporations, business associations, governments and credit unions—to work together to create meaningful social impact,” Vu said. “There is an enormous opportunity for us to work with businesses, community organizations, and thought leaders to fully leverage the collective power of partnership to identify solutions that will not only address community needs but advance our region forward. Credit Unions win when our communities win, so it is critical that we take on an active role in connecting and convening with our community stakeholders. And, yes, we need to tell our story and spotlight the credit union difference.”

“With any startup or new venture it requires a lot of passion for the mission and lots of sweat equity to get things off the ground and moving forward,” Vu said. She has been on the ground floor of both for-profit and not-for-profit start ups.

Kim’s fingerprints are on enterprises such as Corduro, a for-profit mobile payment system that helps not-for-profits by allowing people to make donations with a few taps on their Smartphone, and GoVoluntr, an organization that has already resulted in 16,000 volunteer hours fixing community needs.

“I’m most proud of this partnership that I facilitated between my former Credit Union in California and Corduro because it provided a tool that empowers our nonprofits, our employees and our members to become advocates for their causes, which drives more donations to their favorite organizations,” said Vu. “It’s a great example of how technology is making it easier for anyone to become more socially conscious and active members of their communities.”

Perhaps some of Vu’s success growing business and leveraging community partnerships was achieved because she walks her talk. Vu currently serves as the national founding board chair of The Respect Institute, a social venture empowering youth and their influencers with the tools to build self-respect.

“It has been incredibly gratifying to have been at ground zero, contributing to its program design and strategic development, and then most recently walking through classrooms in East Harlem and seeing our program in action in classrooms. Students have a safe place to learn and to grow.”


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