Manhattan Beach, CA (June 11, 2024): The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues successfully hosted the 2nd annual CU Impact forum at Kinecta Federal Credit Union’s operations center in Manhattan Beach, CA from June 5-6 — an event dedicated to empowering credit unions in their mission to transform communities, measure progress, and amplify stories of social change.

View the 2024 CU Impact photo gallery here!

This year’s forum brought together 60 credit union social impact practitioners for a unique blend of exceptional sessions, collaborative workshops, and a community development field trip, with the “Unite for Change” theme resonating as participants shared their commitment to making a meaningful difference. It was a truly galvanizing experience, where collaborative energy and a shared passion for community transformation remained in focus.

“The diverse perspectives and innovative approaches shared at CU Impact were inspiring,” said Scott Simpson, president and CEO of the Leagues. “As credit union leaders across California and Nevada, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to drive positive change. This forum once again equipped us with the tools and knowledge to do just that. We were honored attendees took time out of their schedules to come together once again and partner for our united social impact mission and vision.”

Actionable Insights and Renewed Determination
Attendees left with actionable insights and a renewed determination to make a lasting impact in their local communities for credit union members as the focus on engagement and measurement resonated deeply. The keynote presentations, data, and stories weren’t just narratives — they stood as a testament to the transformative power of credit unions in the lives of members.

This year, California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) Deputy Commissioner Purvi Patel was a special guest, observing first-hand how credit union leaders are increasingly threading social impact efforts into their local mission and efforts. Appointed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in February 2023, Patel plays a key role in the state regulatory operations and compliance of credit unions chartered in California. She was formerly Self-Help FCU’s assistant general counsel since 2022 and part of Self-Help’s executive staff from 2016 to 2022.

Overall, social impact practitioners said CU Impact invigorated their efforts to effectively connect and collaborate, making their personal involvement at the local level with credit union members and the communities they serve that much more powerful. The annual forum provided a much-needed platform for open dialogue and collaboration.

“By uniting for change, we can leverage our collective strengths to address the unique challenges facing our communities and create a more equitable and sustainable future,” said Amanda Merz, vice president of impact and development for the Leagues. “We want to thank attendees for putting their best foot forward in our mutual responsibility to share best practices and improve the social impact of every credit union across California and Nevada.”

Social Impact at Kinecta’s Watts Branch (South Los Angeles)
Kicking off the event, attendees embarked on a guided excursion to Kinecta Federal Credit Union’s Watts branch on Wednesday afternoon, gaining firsthand insights from credit unions dedicated to community-driven development. The trip included engaging discussions with community partners that fostered meaningful relationships, and it concluded with a networking dinner at the renowned Harold and Belle’s restaurant — established in 1969 with white tablecloths, a Creole flare, and Southern hospitality.

The field trip to Kinecta’s Watts branch was also a powerful reminder of the benefits that community-focused initiatives can have. The credit union opened this branch in a historic community in South Los Angeles last year. The Watts area has a culturally rich past, exhibiting a long-standing legacy of contributing to nationally recognized arts and culture.

With the support of its many dedicated community organizations, Watts is undergoing a revitalization that has brought prominence back to this historic district — with Kinecta also playing an important role in these efforts. CU Impact attendees said it was a privilege to learn from Kinecta practitioners’ experiences as they connected with other social impact leaders who are equally dedicated to making a difference.

“Watts is a vibrant, historically rich community in Los Angeles,” said Latrice McGlothin, executive director of the Kinecta Community Foundation. “Early in the planning stages for the Watts location, we had the opportunity to leverage our long-standing partnerships in the area, which provided honest advice, clear direction and engaging support. These important conversations helped build awareness and foster immediate connections with community members.”

Forum Highlights: Growth, Development, & Impact
On Thursday, a diverse range of extraordinary sessions dove into critical topics shaping the future of social impact in credit unions. In “The Art of Impact Storytelling,” participants uncovered the power of storytelling to amplify their credit union’s brand identity and connect with members who shared their values. They learned how to articulate brand values, bridge the gap between mission and audience, and utilize various mediums for amplifying their footprint and presence.

Inclusiv Network’s update on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) funding for green lending helped leaders explore EPA funding programs and strategies to support energy-lending reduction initiatives for members and environmental practices within credit unions. Insights into successful projects and their impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions were shared.

An important housing session also looked at how regional housing programs can empower members toward generational wealth. Attendees discovered ways to expand access to affordable housing through local partnerships and actionable steps.

Participants also learned the importance of a clear mission statement and data-driven measurement in driving sustainable community impact. Strategies for developing robust measurement frameworks to track progress and outcomes were shared, concluding with an “Impact Power Hour” that had attendees cross-collaborating and sharing newly generated ideas to take back to their credit unions.

The Leagues are deeply grateful for the passion and dedication of every credit union professional who joined their peers at CU Impact! Their commitment to building stronger and more equitable communities is truly inspiring.

Two Days of Speakers and Impact
Presentations and discussions included (but were not limited to) the following speakers:

The hosts of this year’s conference would like to thank all CU Impact sponsors! They include:

California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues
Headquartered in Ontario, California, the Leagues exist to help credit unions change people’s lives by supporting their operations, guidance, strategy and philosophy. Our trade association helps local credit unions in California serve more than 13.8 million members and those in Nevada serve nearly 400,000 members. Credit unions are for people, not profit!

Karla Davis
Vice President of Communications and Marketing
California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues

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