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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 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 Six: CUaware lunch & learn event features Center for Smart Financial Choices

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Friday, April 25, 2014
Updated: Friday, April 25, 2014


About 20 people attended the Triad Chapter of CUaware's first-ever lunch-and-learn event in Winston-Salem. The group learned about the programs and mission of the Center for Smart Financial Choices.


Principle Five: Education, training, and information. Credit unions provide financial education to their members as well as the communities they serve.

Principle Six: Cooperation among cooperatives. Credit unions work together to improve services to members and build sustainable communities.

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

The Triad Chapter of CUaware learned about the programs of Forsyth County’s Center for Smart Financial Choices on Wednesday, April 23. The session, which CUaware hosted at Allegacy FCU in Winston-Salem, featured the youth financial education programs of the Center.

Created by Allegacy in 2011, the Center for Smart Financial Choices provides financial education to help people make healthy choices in dealing with money. A holistic viewpoint is encouraged through the Center’s hands-on approach which incorporates the individual’s strengths, knowledge, values and goals.

While the CUaware group learned about the non-profit agency’s youth financial education programs, the Center offers educational opportunities covering every aspect of a person’s life cycle. Betty Ann Falkner, who oversees the programs and outreach of the center, directed the lunch & learn event with the 20 credit union staff in attendance.

"This was our first lunch and learn event and we were thrilled to hear about the programs of the center,” shared Jessica Dillon (Piedmont Advantage CU) of the CUaware-Triad group. "The Center invites credit unions to partner with them to help provide financial education to the community. We had a few people sign up to volunteer at upcoming Center events, so there was obviously a lot of excitement about the message.”

Falkner invited attendees to volunteer with the Center, and then engaged the group in a short youth financial education exercise. "We appreciated this opportunity to spread the word about the Center’s programs, goals and mission,” said Falkner. "The group had a little fun at the end with the Adult for A Day experiential learning program we do with middle and high school students as well.”

Adult for A Day puts students in the place of their parents, with each participant given a job, income level and credit score. They must then navigate through a series of life choices in key areas of budgeting in adult life, including housing, transportation, and utilities.

In addition to experiential learning exercises like Adult for A Day, the Center offers workshops and other classes designed to help people make better choices about money. The Center was envisioned by retired Allegacy FCU CEO Ike Keener as a community resource and touch point for enhanced cooperation among credit unions in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County.

The Center’s programs are available for members and non-members of credit unions to attend. For more information about the Center for Smart Financial Choices, please go to their web site. You may also keep up with the Center’s activities by liking its Facebook page.

Tags:  CUaware  Principle Five  Principle Seven  Principle Six 

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