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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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CUaware Protégé Mentor program to grow

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Friday, July 31, 2015
Updated: Thursday, July 30, 2015

The CUaware Protégé Competition provides emerging leaders in credit unions with a great opportunity to showcase their talent while learning about the credit union movement. For the chapter level winners who go on to the finals, there's an added perk awaiting after the event ends - participation in the CUaware Protégé Mentor program.

The League is pleased to announce that the mentor program will grow in the year ahead to include all chapter-level participants in the CUaware Protégé Competition. Introduced following the 2014 finals competition, the mentor program gives Protégé finalists an opportunity to be paired with a mentor at a credit union in North Carolina or South Carolina for a period of one year.

The program is designed to be flexible depending on the goals and needs of the Protégé, who develops a plan for the year-long partnership. The mentors and mentees meet, email or chat on a regular basis in order to reach the goals established by the Protégé. 

Corey Pace, the 2014 CUaware
Protégé finalist representing
the Lowcountry Chapter, said
the mentor program, and her
relationship with Faye Crocker,
has been "especially impactful." 

"I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been matched with such an incredible mentor," said Corey Pace, the talent acquisition representative for South Carolina Federal Credit Union. Pace who was paired with Faye Crocker of Greater Abbeville Federal Credit Union, shared several benefits of her working relationship with Crocker.Chief among them was the common ground they found as the they forged a personal relationship.

"It has been especially impactful as a working mom to learn from another working mom who has forged a fantastic career, who not only has been a phenomenal influence in her credit union, but in the credit union movement," Pace noted.

Pace also cited a host of professional benefits in her partnership with Crocker, including receiving a leadership development book, being introduced to a host of new contacts within the credit union movement and learning the perspective of a smaller credit union. "It's been very valuable," Pace said of the relationship that she and Crocker have forged.

Pace is one of five young professionals who agreed to participate in the mentor program following the 2014 CUaware Protégé Competition Finals. While Pace & Crocker’s time together as mentor and mentee draws to a close later this year, it is clear their connection and its impact will extend well into the future.

With eight chapters holding CUaware Protégé Competitions this year, there will be a need for up to 20-30 mentors who are willing to engage with a chapter-level Protégé participant. The commitment is one year, with the structure dependent upon the needs of the mentee. 

You can read more about the program goals and requirements by accessing the CUaware Protégé Mentor brochure. Please contact Jeff Hardin at the League (919-457-9063) or Troy Hall at South Carolina Federal Credit Union (843-569-8262) if you have any questions or would like to be considered as a mentor.


Tags:  CUaware Protégé Mentor program 

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CU Lunch Local ramping up for 2015

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Principle Seven: Concern for community. Credit unions work for the sustainable development of communities through policies developed and accepted by the members. Credit unions seek to achieve a greater good through responsible corporate citizenship.

Credit unions in both South Carolina and North Carolina participated in CU Lunch Local this past year. The initiative, which is aimed at supporting locally-owned small businesses, is held each year during International Credit Union Week. 

This year, the nationwide event takes place on Tuesday, October 13. Credit unions across the Carolinas are invited to make plans to participate in the campaign, 

The Michigan Business Connection started CU Lunch Local in 2012, and the effort continues to grow each year. In 2014, North Carolina & South Carolina joined 11 other states in the grassroots effort. 

"It's a simple premise really," shared Jeff Hardin, the League's director of cooperative initiatives. "Credit unions can support CU Lunch Local by buying lunch at a local spot for their members, for restaurant customers, or even order & serve food at the credit union." 

Hardin added that "it doesn't have to be elaborate. It could be nothing more than buying a cup of coffee at a local shop on the way to work, or grabbing your friends at the credit union and sharing food at your favorite local lunching spot."

If your credit union is interested in participating in CU Lunch Local, please contact Jeff Hardin at 919-457-9063. You can also learn more information on the CU Lunch Local Facebook page. The campaign will have a vibrant social media component through the hashtag #CULunchLocal on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.   


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Thursday is Miracle Treat Day to benefit CMN!

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Principle Seven: Concern for community. Credit unions work for the sustainable development of communities through policies developed and accepted by the members. Credit unions seek to achieve a greater good through responsible corporate citizenship.

With summer temperatures soaring, everyone is looking for a way to beat the heat. Thanks to participating Dairy Queen stores, you can benefit the Children's Miracle Network and whip up a Blizzard to cool yourself down!

The 10th Annual Miracle Treat Day happens Thursday, July 30. On that day, $1 or more from every Blizzard treat purchased at participating DQ stores will be donated to your local CMN Hospital.

DQ has been a generous, longtime supporter of CMN. Since 1984, DQ franchisees, fans and the corporation have combined to raise more than $100 million to support local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals across the country.

You can find participating stores, receive a text or calendar reminder of the event and much more on the Miracle Treat Day web site. And be sure to follow the fun on Twitter by using and searching the hashtag #MiracleTreatDay.  

Tags:  Children's Miracle Network  Principle Seven 

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Renaissance Community Coop gets funding boost

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Representatives from Mount Zion Baptist Church announce their $40,000 gift
in support of Greensboro's Renaissance Community Coop. The announcement
of the gift took place at the monthly meeting of the RCC.

The momentum continues to build for Greensboro's Renaissance Community Coop (RCC)! The RCC announced Monday evening that four organizations pledged a combined $70,000 to help capitalize the food cooperative. These latest gifts and grants bring the total funding commitments to $1.6 million.

Greensboro's Mount Zion Baptist Church pledged $40,000 to the RCC, and will pay out the gift in $10,000 increments beginning next month. In a press release from the RCC, the church shared that the cooperative effort supports one of the mandates of the church - to serve the city. “This effort not only feeds the citizens of Greensboro, literally, but also clothes them by creating job opportunities which create shelter,” said Mount Zion Senior Pastor Bryan J. Pierce, Sr.

In addition to the generosity of Mount Zion, Cone Health Foundation announced a gift of $10,000 to RCC. The Foundation's gift was also matched with another by Cone Health. The organizations combined on the $20,000 gift to honor Frank Mascia, the former Cone Health Foundation Board Chair, who passed away earlier this year. "(Frank) never backed away from a challenge and food insecurity in our community is a real challenge," shared Cone Health CEO Terry Akin. "There is nothing more fundamental to the health of those we serve than access to healthy food.”

Addressing the problem of food insecurity in Northeast Greensboro also motivated the Food Co-op Initiative (FCI) to announce a $10,000 grant to Renaissance. FCI aims to increase the number, success and sustainability of new food cooperatives delivering access to healthy food in diverse communities across this country. It provides information, training and technical assistance, as well as seed capital, and engages in research, to blaze, maintain and improve the development path for new food coops.

 The Renaissance Community Coop will open a 10,000 square
foot grocery store at the site of a former Winn-Dixie, which
closed in 1998. In the years since, the Northeast Greensboro
neighborhood has been without a neighborhood source of
healthful food.

The RCC notes that the funds raised will be used for start-up costs to include leasehold improvements, equipment, inventory, pre-opening expenses, contingency on start-up costs, and operating capital including hiring the general manager. The RCC is targeting an opening date of Spring 2016. The 10,000 square foot grocery store will provide residents with a supply of healthy, affordable food.   

The cooperative has steadily gained momentum during its three-year process of organizing. President John Jones noted in remarks at the RCC"s monthly community meeting " thanks to our owner-members, we are where we are today." 

You can learn more about the Renaissance Community Cooperative by visiting their web site.

Tags:  Renaissance Community Co-op 

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CUaware Lowcountry picks Protégé, holds expert panel

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In addition to the networking event and panel discussion, the Lowcountry
Council of CUaware also held its Protégé Competition, featuring (from left)
Sean Crowley, Patrick Deming and Akira Jacobs. Jacobs, of South Carolina
Federal Credit Union, won the competition and will compete in the CUaware
Protégé  Finals in October.

More than 40 credit union professionals gathered in North Charleston Wednesday evening, July 15 for the CUaware Lowcountry Council meeting. The fast-paced meeting featured a networking opportunity for attendees, plus a panel of local credit union experts.

The meeting kicked off with the Council's CUaware Protégé Competition. Three contestants, all from South Carolina Federal Credit Union, gave a five minute presentation on a credit union topic they each selected. In the end, Akira Jacobs, SC Federal's insurance, investment and benefits coordinator was selected by the judges. Jacobs will now advance to the CUaware Protégé Final Competition at the Leadership Conference in Pinehurst in October.  

The panel discussion featured four local experts talking about various initiatives underway at their credit union. Nise Lowell of Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union shared details about student-run credit unions that Heritage Trust is opening at two local high schools. The credit union hired sixteen area high school students to run the two branches, which will open for business in August.

Bonnie Ciuffo of SC Federal updated the attendees on the credit union's foundation and its impact on staff philanthropy & community involvement. The South Carolina Federal Credit Union Foundation supports a variety of organizations, including the American Red Cross, Lowcountry Food Bank and Eagle Harbor Ranch. 

Claudette Smith, the manager of CO Federal Credit Union shared a personal account of what lead her to assume the leadership role at the credit union 14 years ago, and the impact CO FCU is having on the local community. Civil Rights Leader Esau Jenkins helped found CO and several other cooperative enterprises during the 1950s and 1960s. The credit union continues to honor its founding purpose,by providing financial services to members who have had a hard time accessing affordable credit. Smith also praised the efforts of Heritage Trust in helping the smaller CO FCU stay ahead of the curve on key regulatory and compliance issues.

The panel also featured Troy Hall of South Carolina Federal discussing something he is passionate about - leadership development. Hall noted the credit union's approach to providing a stimulating and rewarding professional atmosphere to employees. He also challenged more seasoned attendees to "pour into someone" who is just starting their credit union careers by becoming a mentor

In addition to the credit unions participating in the Protégé Competition and panel discussion, Latitude 32 FCU and CPM FCU also attended the meeting and contributed to the success of the 30 minute networking session. The Lowcountry Council will next meet in the fourth quarter with its annual Legislative Advocacy Day. This event connects credit union employees with their elected leaders in Columbia and Washington, DC. More details on this event are coming soon!       

Tags:  CUaware  CUaware Protégé 

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