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In 1844, a small group of weavers from Rochdale, England created the blueprint for how their newly-formed cooperative would operate and serve the local community. These values, known as the Seven Cooperative Principles, serve as the operating guidebook for credit unions and cooperatives throughout the world. This blog was created to honor that legacy and to showcase the everyday efforts of credit unions in the Carolinas that embody the cooperative mission and purpose.


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Credit unions contribute to success of Cooperative Leadership Camp

Posted By Jeff Hardin, 6 hours ago
Updated: 20 hours ago

Nearly 40 teens experienced a fun and interactive week in White Lake during the Cooperative Leadership Camp (CLC) held June 19-23 in White Lake, NC. Credit unions in North Carolina contributed to the success of the camp as well as the educational opportunities provided to the campers.    

A program of the Cooperative Council of North Carolina (CCNC), CLC educates rising sophomores, juniors and seniors about the cooperative business model and how it is designed to function in a free market economy. Campers learn by doing in that they organize a tee-shirt cooperative through the week, and practice the Seven Cooperative Principles in their decision-making. 

This was the 62nd Cooperative Leadership Camp in North Carolina. "We had such a terrific group of campers this year and as always, we had tremendous support and engagement from our cooperative members," shared CCNC Executive Director Emily Nail.   

Credit unions supported CLC in a variety of ways, including sponsoring a combined 11 teens who participated in the camp. Sponsoring credit unions & credit union organizations included: the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation, the Carolinas Credit Union League. Coastal Credit Union, Local Government FCU and Riegelwood FCU.

Ty Randleman (left), one of the attendees of Cooperative Leadership Camp, discussing which car he will buy as part of Coastal Credit Union's Mad City Money simulation. The "car salesman" is Kyle Randleman of Star Communications, who is Ty's father.  

Credit unions also contributed to the educational experience at the camp. Coastal Credit Union volunteers taught the teens real-life money and budgeting skills through the Mad City Money simulation. Campers were given an adult profile and navigated a series of stations where they made spending and budgeting choices.  

On Tuesday, Jeff Hardin of the CCUL taught the Seven Cooperative Principles to the group. Hardin also shared the governance structure of the tee-shirt cooperative, plus the responsibilities & roles of each camper in making sure the co-op operated smoothly and in line with the principles of equality, democracy and mutual self-help.

The tee-shirt cooperative organized by the teens functions much like any other worker-owner cooperative. Each camper was a part owner of the cooperative and worked collectively to elect a board of directors. Other campers served in management positions and implemented the vision and strategy of the board. The worker-owners combined their talents to create tee-shirt designs  

The campers took this knowledge and, in seven smaller groups, developed fun and informative "infomercials" about each principle. These fun skits were presented by the teens on Wednesday evening.   

In addition to credit unions, electric and telephone cooperatives, food cooperatives and the NC Grange supported the camp and contributed to the week of learning for the teens. "One of the great things about camp is that it is truly a cooperative effort," shared Nail. "It is always inspiring to see how cooperatives statewide embrace the opportunity to educate and inspire teens." 


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Reminder: scholarships available for 2017 Principles & Philosophy Conference

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Updated: 16 hours ago

Scholarship applications are welcomed through September 1 for the 2017 Principles & Philosophy Conference. Applications will be accepted from staff and volunteers in North Carolina and South Carolina at credit unions of $125 million in assets and below.

The conference is a deep dive into the Seven Cooperative Principles of credit unions and cooperatives. Attendees gain an understanding of and embrace the cooperative business model, learn how it is different from for-profit industries like banks, and become advocates for these principles at their credit unions.

The conference takes place October 24-26 at the White Oak Conference Center near Winnsboro, SC. For more information please visit the conference registration page. Scholarship applications should be completed and returned on or before September 1, 2017. A CEO or sponsoring Credit Union Development Educator letter of recommendation is required to apply.

Scholarships include lodging, tuition, meals and all conference materials. You may download the application form here or contact Jeff Hardin with any questions.  

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Save the date: AACUC Annual Conference, Reality Fair event coming in August

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, June 19, 2017

Two exciting and educational events are planned for Raleigh in August. The African American Credit Union Coalition will hold its Annual Conference at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel August 8-11. During this event a group of volunteers from the conference, as well as Raleigh area credit unions, will host a Reality Fair event on August 9 from 9:00 am until Noon.

Registration for the Annual Conference is now open, with a discounted hotel room rate available through July 11. Full details and registration links may be found on the AACUC web site's event page. Local Government FCU is serving as the host credit union for the event as well as a Platinum Sponsor. The Carolinas Credit Union League is also a sponsor of the 19th Annual Conference.

Details of the Reality Fair event are still in process. The Reality Fair, which educates high school aged students about the real life money and budget decisions they will be making in their adult years, relies on volunteer support from annual conference attendees and credit union staff from the Raleigh-Durham area. This is the fifth year a Reality Fair simulation has been presented as part of the AACUC Annual Conference.  

If you are interested in attending the Annual Conference, please visit the AACUC web site. To volunteer for the Reality Fair event scheduled from 9 am - Noon on Wednesday, August 9, please contact Jeff Hardin (919-457-9063).  

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Two North Carolina staff earn CUDE designation

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, June 19, 2017

Forty-eight credit union professionals, including two from North Carolina, successfully earned the Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) designation earlier this month. CUDE is a program of the National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation). The DE training was held May 31 - June 7, 2017 at the Lowell Center in Madison, Wis.

Sherrie Krizic (Local Government FCU) and Tami Langton (Coastal FCU) were among the class members who successfully completed and earned the CUDE designation. Nearly 90 credit union staff (active and retired) are CUDEs in North Carolina and South Carolina, and work cooperatively on events and projects such as the Principles and Philosophy Conference.

DE Training provides critical lessons in cooperative principles, credit union philosophy and international development issues while incorporating challenges credit unions face today. During the recent week-long program, participants were involved in group exercises, field trips, discussions with speakers from around the credit union system, and were required to complete team projects proposing solutions for credit unions to help alleviate or eliminate challenging situations in any given area.

For this training’s final case studies, participants worked through and presented solutions to critical issues that included financial stability among young adults and families, credit union board development, building microfinance programs in developing countries, credit union solutions to predatory lending, the increasing issue of homelessness in America, and rejuvenating a stagnant credit union. In this way. participants are challenged to consider the cooperative nature and structure of credit unions when considering solutions to these issues.

For more information on the CUDE program, please go to the National CU Foundation web site. The Carolinas Credit Union League offers up to two scholarships to CUDE each year for staff at credit unions in North Carolina and South Carolina. For more information on these opportunities, please contact Jeff Hardin (919-457-9063). 

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Carolina Foothills assists Spartanburg woman with home repairs

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Updated: Monday, June 12, 2017
To mark the DE Day of Service, Carolina Foothills FCU staff worked for several hours on the home and yard of Rose Gilliam of Spartanburg. Ms. Gilliam is pictured with the group in the blue shirt in the front left.

On June 14, a group of volunteers from Carolina Foothills FCU (CFFCU) delivered Christmas a few months early to Spartanburg resident Rose Gilliam. The presents came in the form of much-needed home repairs and improvements to the home of the 65-year-old retired cafeteria worker.

The credit union effort, which was coordinated through the group Christmas in Action, was part of the Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) Day of Service. Held the second Wednesday of each June, the Day of Service encourages CUDEs across the world to complete a service project in order to improve the lives of members and local communities.

“As a 24-year veteran of the Credit Union Development Educator program, I was more than happy to join with thousands of other DEs across the globe to make a difference,” said Terri Hendrix, vice president of business development and community engagement for CFFCU. “There is real power in numbers, and having many of my co-workers supporting it with their own sweat equity makes us an even more cohesive team!”

The 65-year-old Gilliam has lived in her California Avenue home in Spartanburg for more than 22 years. Prior to her retirement, Gilliam worked in the cafeterias at Arcadia and Dorman Center Schools for 28 years, including 10 as a manager.

Despite temperatures that were a not very Christmas like 90 degrees by afternoon, the Carolina Foothills crew made a variety of repairs and enhancements to Gilliam's home, including replacing rotted window framing on the back of the house, trimming tree limbs and cleaning up the yard. The group also provided a much needed coat of paint to the trim and shutters of the home.

As a retiree living on a fixed income, Gilliam was unable to pay for repairs out of pocket. A variety of health problems also limits her ability to maintain the property. The Carolina Foothills effort was one part of a multi-step repair and improvement project on the home. 

Christmas in Action is a non-profit organization that rehabilitates the houses of elderly, disabled, and otherwise disadvantaged homeowners, to provide for their continued safety and independence. Founded in 1996, the organization mobilizes volunteers to complete repairs and improvements to the homes of those who cannot afford to make them. According to Census Bureau data, some 3,500 Spartanburg County homeowners are elderly and impoverished.  

President/CEO Scott Weaver notes that volunteerism is a key strength for the CFFCU staff. “From the board down to the teller line, our credit union not only talks about working to make our community stronger, we actually roll up our shelves and do it! This is the third year our management team has performed a day of service; everyone enjoys it, we like seeing the results and it makes us feel connected to the community.” 

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