Why Contribute to CULAC? A Credit Union Leader says it Best!


Oregon State Credit Union’s long-standing support for Credit Unions for Kids is bolstered annually by its match of CULAC fundraising.

You have to be in awe of how Oregon State Credit Union keeps out-kicking the coverage year after year raising funds to elect credit union-supportive candidates.  

The Corvallis, Oregon-based credit union’s team has contributed more than $200,000 to the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) Political Action Committee since 2004. Oregon State often leads the nation with innovative ideas to engage employees. Some of their touchdowns include providing matching funds for Credit Unions for Kids (more than $140,000 so far), prize drawings for employees, and an all-expense paid trip to the CUNA GAC—the Credit Union Movement’s “Advocacy Super Bowl.” 

At Oregon State, to support advocacy initiatives is to support the future of credit unions. Anthem interviewed Rhonda Heile-Brown, Oregon State Credit Union’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, to gain insight into the employees’ enthusiasm for CULAC. 

Q. How would you describe the impact CULAC Contributions have on the Credit Union Movement?

A. Heile-Brown: We see our contributions to CULAC and the Credit UnionMovement as an extension of our core values that include member focus, integrity, passion, education, cooperative spirit, and social responsibility. We are making an investment in the future of our credit union, our members, and in credit unions across the country to continue to fulfill our mission. 

Q. How have you been able to be so successful with employee CULAC campaigns?

A. Heile-Brown: It all starts with leadership and a culture of cooperative volunteer spirit. Our employees understand the importance of a unified effort to tell our story and then reinforce it by helping educate and persuade elected officials to support the Credit UnionMovement and its place in our nation’s history. Our employees also appreciate the matching contributions made by the credit union to Credit Unions for Kids. They are excited knowing that their CULAC contributions are not only helping the credit union industry, but also Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. And they like to have fun.   

Q. What advice might you give a credit union leadership team thinking about rolling CULAC out to employees but isn’t sure where to start?

A. Heile-Brown: First, you never regret taking part in something that is personally and professionally rewarding, so get involved. Don’t be afraid to put your organization and your people in a position to do good work for the Credit UnionMovement and for others. Make sure you have the following elements in your plan: make it fun, utilize incentives, promote, promote, promote, regularly and consistently communicate the results, and celebrate every victory—big or small. The cooperative spirit of people can be amazing…unleash it!

Q. What are some of your favorite things about working at Oregon State Credit Union?

A. Heile-Brown: The organization’s focus on our members and how we live our values every day. They are notjust words for us. The presence of people who really love their work and their passionate commitment to serving others on behalf of Oregon State Credit Union or on their own.   

Oregon State is off and running with this year’s CULAC Month fundraising. For fundraising ideas you can use in your credit union, click here. 

Editor’s note: If you would like to share your credit union’s CULAC Month success story, or if you have questions about CULAC, reach out to  Jordan Beyer, NWCUA’s Grassroots Advocacy Manager. 

Posted in Advocacy News.