Three CA CUs Win State Desjardins, Maxwell, Herring Awards  

Louise Herring Award

Three California credit unions received first-place honors at the state level in the Desjardins Adult and Youth Financial Education Awards, Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Outreach, and Louise Herring for Philosophy in Action award programs. A total of five entries will now move forward to the national competition.

Patelco CU was honored with two first-place awards—Dora Maxwell and Adult Desjardins—in its asset category (more than $1 billion). 1st United CU also took two first-place awards in the Youth Desjardins and Louise Herring. And Delta Schools FCU was a repeat winner in the Desjardins Youth Financial Edcuation in the less-than-$50-million asset category. 

Taking home second place awards were San Mateo CU in the Louise Herring (more than $1 billion) and Meriwest CU in the Adult Desjardins (more than $1 billion).

1st United CU was honored for its Youth Desjardins entry which detailed how the Pleasanton, CA-based credit union's comprehensive program that includes in-person workshops at high schools and elementary schools, providing curriculum for teachers, continued education through its MoneyWise blog, and its in-branch savings program called "Road to Savings" that helps kids earn prizes as they save money. The credit union ended up reaching some 1,700 area youths last year. 

The credit union also was recognized in the Louise Herring Award for its Step Up Membership program—a specially developed membership for the Alameda County Family Justice Center's (ACFJC) Step Up participants to help them build up credit. The goal was to have 10 percent of the Step Up graduates participate. In the end, 30 percent participated in the credit report review; with four percent opening an account. 

Patelco CU was recognized for its community relief efforts after the Camp Fire. Soon after the fire broke out in the Chico area, the Pleasanton, CA-based credit union activated its Disaster Relief Program to provide immediate financial assistance to affected members, including waived fees, loan deferments and short-term, low interest loans. Then Patelco CU—partnering with local non-profits—sent 25 team members to delivered 1,000 backpacks to fire victims in the Chico area each containing a blanket, a power pack, a $50 gift card, and a card with a personal note from a team member. Team members also went to the Salvation Army emergency service center to assist more than 50 families there.

In the Youth Desjardins category, Patelco CU was recognized for its amazing efforts that saw the credit union reached a number of youth people via classroom instruction, videos, webinars, mobile applications, and social media. 

Delta Schools FCU was honored for what judges called extraordinary youth financial education program encompassing the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation’s Bite of Reality presented to more than 2,100 students this year; working with Los Medanos Junior College and teaching a course on budget and personal finance that reached more than 150 students; and a 35-week savings challenge program for high schoolers.

San Mateo CU received recognition for taking its existing Community Partner Program and making changes to it to expand the reach. The Redwood City, CA-based credit union partnered with groups that support the current and formerly incarcerated, domestic violence victims, families facing homelessness, adults in career training programs, and at-risk youth.

Meriwest CU’s Adult Desjardins entry featured details about its Financial Education for All program. The goal of the San Jose, CA-based credit union was to host at least 100 in-person workshops/seminars and connect with 6,000 community residents. It ended up connecting with more than 8,000 residents.

Each awards program is administered at the state level by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, and nationally by the Credit Union National Association. Entries were submitted to the Leagues and judged by a committee from the Mountain West Credit Union Association.

The Dora Maxwell Award honors credit unions for their community outreach efforts. The Desjardins Adult Financial Education Awards honor credit union efforts to educate adult members and nonmembers. The Louise Herring Award recognizes internal credit union efforts. Only first-place winners in each asset category advance to the national competition.

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