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Seven Principles Blog
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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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Principle Seven: Credit unions already planning CU Lunch Local events

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Principle Seven: Concern for community. Since credit unions are locally owned financial institutions, they are committed to investing in the community.

Credit unions in North Carolina and South Carolina are already making plans to participate in CU Lunch Local. The event, which takes place Tuesday, October 14, gives credit unions a chance to support local businesses in a coordinated and fun way. CU Lunch Local also shines a spotlight on credit unions as community-owned and community-based financial institutions.

Credit unions in both Carolinas are already making plans to participate. In addition to encouraging employees to support local businesses, VITAL FCU in Spartanburg plans to surprise some lucky customers at a local eatery by purchasing their lunch.

"We've been a part of the Spartanburg community for 50 years," said VITAL President/CEO Pat West, "and we like to support the community that supports us every chance we get. The CU Lunch Local campaign is one more way we can show our support for the local businesses that help make up our community."

Meanwhile, Coastal FCU in the Triangle-area of North Carolina plans to engage its staff and members, encouraging them to support businesses that are members of the credit union.  In addition, Coastal encourages other Triangle-based credit unions to get involved in the day's events.

"Many of our employees and members go out for lunch, certainly at least once a week," shared Coastal FCU Company Spokesperson Joe Mecca. "So why not get together and say, 'Let's all go out on the same day, and let's make a big impact by supporting some of the businesses that help keep the credit union strong.'? "

"CU Lunch Local is a great concept because it calls attention to local businesses, is fun, and gives each credit union the flexibility to design its approach to the day based on its own specific needs," shared Jeff Hardin, CCUL's director of cooperative initiatives. "CU Lunch Local also spotlights the credit union commitment to building sustainable communities 365 days a year." 

A brief informational flier and resource links about CU Lunch Local is provided here. If your credit union would like more information or plans to participate in CU Lunch Local, please contact Jeff Hardin, the League's liaison for CU Lunch Local, at 919-457-9063 or         

Tags:  Coastal FCU  CU Lunch Local  Principle Seven  VITAL FCU 

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Principle Seven: CU Lunch Local an opportunity to shine

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Principle Seven: Concern for community. Since credit unions are locally owned financial institutions, they are committed to investing in the community.

As local financial institutions owned by their members, credit unions appreciate the value of community. On Tuesday, October 14, staff at credit unions in the Carolinas have a unique opportunity to demonstrate their support of local businesses.

On that day, credit unions are encouraged to participate in CU Lunch Local, a grassroots effort to support locally-owned businesses for lunch. The concept is pretty straightforward - credit unions organize a "cash mob" and head to a locally-owned restaurant. (A cash mob is a group that organizes ahead of time and selects a place to meet at a designated time to shop and spend.)  

Credit unions in North and South Carolina are encouraged to support CU Lunch Local by "liking" the event Facebook page, and to begin planning the impact you and your friends would like to have on that day. The Carolinas Credit Union League also encourages you to take pictures the day of the event and share them with us! We'll be recapping the day's events later in October. 

Tags:  CU Lunch Local  Principle Seven 

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Principle Six: CUaware founders receive Cooperative Spirit Award

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Friday, August 22, 2014
Updated: Thursday, August 21, 2014
CUaware founders Patrick Livingston (left) and Brandon McAdams are pictured with the Cooperative Spirit Award from the National CU Foundation.
Principle Six: Cooperation Among Cooperatives. Credit unions work together to improve services to members and build sustainable communities.

(Editor's note: the following originally appeared in the Coastal FCU Beacon  and is republished with the permission of the credit union.)

Coastal Federal Credit Union employees Patrick Livingston and Brandon McAdams have earned the 2014 Cooperative Spirit Award from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) Development Education Program. Livingston and McAdams are being recognized for their efforts in creating CUaware (, an educational networking council within the Carolinas Credit Union League, aimed at connecting and educating employees from across credit unions. The award was presented on August 14 during the annual Development Educators Workshop, in Austin, TX.

Livingston, Director of Business Transformation and McAdams, Consumer Lending Product Development Manager, came up with the idea for CUaware after completing the Development Educator training program in 2011.

“We saw a networking gap in the industry. We set out to introduce credit union staff, at all levels, to learn the cooperative principles that guide credit unions in an informal and fun way,” said Livingston.

“We focused our efforts around three concepts: learn, share and grow,” added McAdams. “It was important that we capitalized on the cooperative nature of credit unions and pulled everyone together to better our organizations and help connect our movement at a local level.”

CUaware began with organized events between Coastal employees and other Triangle credit unions. It soon expanded to include the Winston-Salem area, and is now coordinated by volunteers from several credit unions in North Carolina and South Carolina who bring credit union employees together for programs, networking opportunities and community service projects throughout both states.

Tags:  Coastal FCU  CUaware  Principle Six 

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Principle Seven: Spartanburg food co-op enters final stretch fundraising drive

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Principle Seven: Concern for community. Since cooperatives are locally owned businesses, they are committed to investing in the community.

Plans are well underway for the Hub City Co-op to complete its fundraising campaign, with plans to open the downtown Spartanburg grocery in middle to late 2015. Organizers say that Hub City Co-op will be South Carolina’s only cooperatively-owned food store.

Hub City began in 2009 as a vision to provide healthy, locally-sourced food in downtown Spartanburg, and to provide a jolt to the local economy. “There is a huge outflow of cash from Spartanburg County by consumers who are purchasing healthy foods,” said Laura Barbas-Rhoden, a Hub City board member. Barbas-Rhoden cited a 2009 report that estimated more than $70 million a year in grocery, specialty food, and health & personal care sales flows outside the county, with much of it supporting regional and national grocery chains such as Whole Foods.

Hub City would seek to promote the local economy by keeping those dollars in the county, and by developing relationships with local farmers. “We want to make it easy for residents to connect with local farmers and producers, and healthy sources of food,” Barbas-Rhoden shared.

Hub City Co-op Board Member Laura Barbas-Rhoden (left) is pictured with Terri
Hendrix of Carolina Foothills FCU, who is a member-owner of Hub City. The
co-op is soon to embark on a stretch fundraising campaign, and plans to open
later in 2015.

The co-op boasts well over 1,100 members and funders, and is about to embark on its stretch funding drive. The co-op kicks off a $350,000 fundraising and membership drive in September, and the city of Spartanburg has agreed to match the $350,000 total if the goal is reached.

The fundraising campaign, which will run through the end of October, will give local residents a chance to join Hub City through the co-op’s $150 one-time membership fee; South Carolina-based owners may also invest in preferred shares ($1000 minimum) or loans ($2000 minimum) to provide the necessary project financing.

Hub City is part of Spartanburg’s effort to revitalize the downtown area of South Carolina’s twelfth-largest city. The co-op will also serve as a primary source of nutritious food for lower-income neighborhoods located in the city.

Barbas-Rhoden says the co-op’s board is passionate about the Hub City’s fit in the community. “We all want Spartanburg to be a community where people can thrive, and the co-op to be an outlet for local farmers and producers to thrive,” she shared. She added that the co-op can be a calling card for the community, as well as a place where people will love to shop.

For more information on Hub City, please visit the co-op’s web page.

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Principle Seven: Durham Museum displays local CU history

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, July 28, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Principle Seven: Concern for community. Since credit unions are locally owned financial institutions, they are committed to investing in the community.

The Museum of Durham History, located at 500 W. Main Street in downtown Durham, is showcasing the century of local credit union history in the Bull City. "C is for Credit Union" chronicles the major happenings in the movement through the years, including the chartering of Lowe's Grove CU in 1916. Lowe's Grove is the South's first credit union. The interactive exhibit also includes many other major credit union developments in Durham through the years.

The Seventh Cooperative Principle of concern for community is a central theme of the exhibit. Local issues and community concerns are outlined, and the ways in which credit unions organized to solve these problems are discussed. "These credit unions have been coming up to meet a need in their community (and) being proactive about finding solutions to those needs," remarked Katie Spencer, the museum's executive director.

The exhibit will be on display through October 5, 2014. The museum is open 10:00 am until 5:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.

(Editor's note: read more about the exhibit in this linked article, which appeared in the Durham News.)

Tags:  Credit Union History  Credit Unions  Museum of Durham History  Principle Seven 

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