African American Credit Union Coalition honored with rare accolade at the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner
SNELLVILLE, GA -- The African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) was awarded the 2022 Anchor Award by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) at the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner during the Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. for its global efforts unifying financial industries in eradicating racism amid the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest in 2020.
The Anchor Award is a rare and prestigious award reserved for individuals and organizations exemplifying exceptional leadership during times of great adversity. Taking note of the compounding events following the murder of George Floyd, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, the relentless coronavirus and the political strife leading up to the 2020 election and the subsequent collective effect, often disproportionately on communities of color, the NCUF Board of Directors recognized AACUC’s unequivocal influence during this unprecedented time.
“Never have I experienced a more tumultuous and uncertain time in our nation and our credit unions,” said Jim Hayes, President/CEO of State Employees’ Credit Union of North Carolina. “To witness the AACUC’s gumption to courageously and intentionally step into the madness, willingly accept the challenge and boldly carry the mantle as the agent for meaningful change is a testament to the organization’s leadership and the organization’s unique position as a system partner to garner support and catalyze systemic transformation.”
In response to the demands for social and economic justice in 2020, AACUC launched the Commitment to Change: Credit Unions Unite Against Racism initiative, predicated on four tenets – the 8th Cooperative Principle Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), financial inclusion, closing the racial wealth gap and community involvement. AACUC invited organizations throughout the credit union industry to participate by focusing on unification, education, conversations, and investments that will move the credit union movement forward where diversity, equity and inclusion can thrive.
More than 54 organizations answered the call during over the last 2 years. AACUC President/CEO Renée Sattiewhite announced State Employees’ Credit Union of North Carolina (SECU of NC) has pledged $1 million dollars. SECU of NC was the first credit union to donate $125,000 to AACUC for the DEI Leadership Academy for Financial Professionals – they once again lead credit unions in supporting the DEI efforts of AACUC.
“We are humbled and thrilled to see this level of support and engagement from the second largest credit union in the world,” said Sattiewhite. “SECU’s commitment further validates the importance and relevance of their work we’re doing and reaffirms the desired outcomes of diversity and inclusion that our credit unions are eager to see in our movement.”
The Commitment to Change initiative has resulted in AACUC membership increasing exponentially and the creation of two signature programs, including Commitment to Change Conversation Series – monthly discussions on topics ranging from experiences and issues pertaining to people of color to inclusive leadership – and the DEI Leadership Academy for Financial Professionals – an interactive professional development program. A third signature program, “The Financial Change Experience” credit and pre-paid card, is scheduled to debut this spring.
“The overwhelming response to AACUC’s Commitment to Change initiative and the industry recognition of the Anchor Award demonstrates AACUC’s relevance in the credit union movement,” said Dohnia Dorman, AACUC Chief Experience Officer. “AACUC’s mission is universal, and now more than ever, it is exciting to see so many difference-makers getting involved in making diversity and inclusion a core, strategic business priority. With AACUC at the helm, I am quite confident our credit union movement will fulfill the 8th Cooperative Principle, solidifying the credit union business model of service over profits and people helping people.”
Nearly 80 AACUC guests including past African American Credit Union Hall of Fame honorees, past Herb Wegner Memorial Award winners and AACUC Board of Directors, founding members, staff, volunteers and strategic partners all celebrated the organization’s achievement at the awards dinner.
The Anchor Award was most recently presented in 2019 to Brett Martinez, President and Chief Executive Officer of Redwood Credit Union, for his leadership during the 2017 California wildfires.
### About the African-American Credit Union Coalition The African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) was created to increase the strength of the global credit union community. We are a 501c3 non-profit organization of professionals and volunteers in the credit union industry. Over the years, AACUC has grown and is ever changing to meet the needs of the dynamic credit union community which it serves. AACUC has adopted the 8th Cooperative Principle and encourages all credit union and affiliated organizations to adopt it as well. AACUC has also created the Commitment to Change: Credit Unions Unite Against Racism Initiative and it has gained great momentum within the credit union industry. For more information, visit: www.aacuc.org or follow us on social media at: Facebook.com/AACUC1, Linkedin.com/company/AACUC, Twitter.com/AACUC1 or Instagram.com/aacucctc.
About the National Credit Union Foundation The National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) is the charitable arm of the U.S. credit union movement, serving as a catalyst to improve people’s financial lives through credit unions. Through the Foundation’s own means, grants program and commitment to impactful partnerships, they provide research, insights and tools to ignite understanding in credit unions – helping place employee, member and community financial well-being at the center of a credit union’s strategy.