CUDEs Across the Northwest Volunteer to Help Their Local Communities


Sharon Weinberg, Chief Credit Officer from TwinStar Credit Union, volunteers during DE Day of Service at the Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia, Wash.

Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) came together for the third annual DE Day of Service recently, where they contributed time to service projects aimed at helping their communities with important issues such as hunger, health, environmental issues, children, housing, financial education, transportation, technology, and other development issues.

This year’s event was held June 13 worldwide. CUDEs from across the northwest participated in a variety of events.

CUDEs from TwinStar Credit Union and WSECU volunteered at the Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia, Wash., where they planted seeds, made bug houses, studied dinosaur habitats, crafted foam sail boats, and participated in other fun activities with the children.

In the South Seattle area, a group of CUDEs volunteered to help restore a section of the Duwamish River Bank behind BECU’s headquarters. The restoration project is a long-term effort to beautify the area and improve the environment. On June 13, volunteers picked up trash and pulled invasive weeds.

CUDEs in Kitsap County collaborated with the Kitsap County Chapter of Credit Unions on a volunteer project at the Bremerton Foodline in Bremerton, Wash., where they helped assemble more than 300 summer food kits for children that were distributed to local families. In total, 1,000 kits were distributed.

“Our extra hands were a great benefit to the foodbank,” said Kimberly Ingham, Vice President of Member Engagement at Shelton-based Peninsula Credit Union. “With our team able to complete 307 (food kits), it was a great relief for them and a great way for us to serve our community.”

Photo of Volunteers

Christina Todd, BECU Operations Quality Assurance Lead, Debbie Wege, BECU Cooperative Community Advocate, and Carmen Vigil, NWCUA Director of Cooperative Momentum, volunteer during DE Day of Service at Duwamish River Bank.

CUDEs earned their designations during the week-long DE Training, which is focused on the idea of “People Helping People.” The program provides lessons in cooperative principles, credit union philosophy, and international development issues while incorporating the challenges credit unions face today. After the training is complete, participants take what they’ve learned and create a project at their credit union/organization that will benefit their community and beyond. On DE Day of Service, Development Educators come together to make a positive impact around the world.

Since 1982, over 1,800 credit union advocates from more than 35 countries have graduated from the training.

For those who would like to experience a snapshot of the CUDE program, but cannot yet commit to the week-long training, Northwest Development Educators are hosting an immersive two-day workshop, Leveraging the Credit Union Difference, this November.

The workshop is a collaborative effort, supported by BECU, the National Credit Union Foundation, and the Northwest Credit Union Foundation. It’s a chance for employees at any level within the Credit Union Movement to gain a deeper understanding of why credit unions are unique and how they are well suited to make a tangible impact on the lives of their members. Attendees will return to their credit unions with ideas on how to grow membership, understand and solve the specific needs of members, and increase loyalty.

The workshop begins Nov. 29 at 12:30 p.m. (PST) and ends Dec. 1 at noon. It will be held at IslandWood in Bainbridge Island, Wash. Those who wish to register can do so here.

Editor’s note: Questions about Leveraging the Credit Union Difference? Email NWCUA Director, Cooperative Momentum Carmen Vigil at

Posted in Community Impact.