CUNA Honors Unitus Community Credit Union for Community Service, Social Responsibility

Unitus Community Credit Union promoted its Money Quest Financial Challenge on its website, through social media and with takeaway cards that included QR codes.

When Unitus Community Credit Union members made New Year’s resolutions to get better control of their finances in 2013, they knew their credit union would be there to help them reach their goals with useful tools, lots of encouragement and plenty of support.

Using Unitus’ six-week Money Quest Financial Challenge, members were able to set up their first automatic savings plans, discover how to manage their credit scores, begin paying down debt or completely refocus their overall financial strategies. For those who really didn’t know where to begin, the program provided clear goals and a system to measure their progress.

It was a spectacularly successful program. And last week, it earned Unitus a national Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Award for community service from the Credit Union National Association — one of two national awards Unitus will receive in February at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

The second — a Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award — honors Unitus’ overall community involvement and its Wine on the Willamette fundraiser, which benefits Credit Unions for Kids.

“At Unitus, we strive each and every day to improve our members’ lives and make our communities better,” says Unitus President and CEO Patricia Smith. “These awards reflect our employees’ passion, dedication and creativity in the service of others. We are very proud of the value our employees add within our communities.”

The Herring award is given to credit unions that help to improve the financial status or increase the financial education of its members. Unitus earned an honorable mention for its Money Quest program, which was launched shortly after New Year’s Day and included a series of six financial challenges. Unitus promoted the program on its website, through social media and with takeaway cards that included QR codes. More than 800 members signed up.

Unitus won a second-place Maxwell Award for its community-involvement efforts, including the Wine on the Willamette fundraiser that brings together more than 100 credit union industry leaders and credit union service providers every year to support world-class care at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

The Maxwell award is presented to credit unions for outstanding social-responsibility projects in their communities. In 2012, Wine on the Willamette raised nearly $57,000; since its inception, the event has raised $234,734. CUNA also praised Unitus’ volunteer efforts in the community, its annual holiday and school drives, its monthly Random Acts of Kindness and its college scholarship program.

Wine on the Willamette raised nearly $57,000 for Credit Unions for Kids in 2012; since its inception, the event has raised $234,734.

Both entries won first-place awards regionally; those honors were announced in October at the Northwest Credit Union Association’s annual Amplify convention in Portland.

“Early this year, we unveiled our ‘Unite for Good’ initiative, which urges credit unions to come together toward the establishment of a shared strategic vision: ‘Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner,’” CUNA President and CEO Bill Cheney said in announcing the awards. “To achieve this vision, we have identified a ‘shared agenda’ for the credit union movement: to remove barriers, create awareness and foster service excellence. The winners of this year’s awards are among the vanguard of credit unions that are already pursuing this shared agenda — by employing the credit union philosophy, and by taking on social responsibility projects. My congratulations and thanks to all who have been honored this year.”

National winners of the Maxwell, Herring and Desjardins Financial Education Awards will be honored at a Feb. 26 reception in Washington, D.C., during CUNA’s 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference. A list of first-place Maxwell and Herring winners is available here; you’ll find the complete list of Desjardins honorees here.


Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216,

Posted in Awards, CUNA.