How the Foundation is Supporting Credit Unions Like Yours in 2017

The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation exists to advance the Credit Union movement through leadership development and initiatives that support the long-term success of credit unions in their communities. But, what does that mean specifically? How is the Foundation accomplishing these tasks? And, even more important, is your Credit Union taking full advantage of the Foundation’s programs?

What follows is a snapshot of the programs, grants and scholarships currently offered through the Foundation. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with these opportunities for growth and development in a while, I encourage you to do so. The Foundation is here to serve you, your communities and the Credit Union movement as a whole in as many meaningful ways as we can.

Center for Credit Union Leadership Programs

If we are to ensure the viability of the future success of our Credit Unions, we must invest in the development of our future leaders today.

The Center for Credit Union Development is a division of the Foundation focused on programs that offer a support system for progressive growth and collective success.

1. The Executive Leadership Program

Each year, three recipients are selected to participate in the Foundation’s Executive Leadership Program, one from each of the three Mountain West states. Selected from a highly competitive field of candidates, the recipients dive into a five-year program where they are immersed in organizational leadership, credit union philosophy, and credit union operations along with mentoring and coaching from top credit union leaders.

If you know that the Credit Union Movement is where you want to spend your career and are looking to step up your game, the Executive Leadership Program might be a great opportunity. Find our more on the Foundation website.

2. The Chief Executive Institute

The Chief Executive Institute is a leadership development program for newly seated CEO’s or successors. The program is designed to deepen organizational decision-making and problem-solving skills and cultivate leaders’ ability to operate strategically within a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment. Using the Baldrige Excellence Framework, the program is hands-on and pragmatic, offering new CEO’s a place where they can address tough questions about growth, sustainability, technology, leadership, and attracting and nurturing new talent.

If you are a newly seated CEO or successor, I invite you to apply for this valuable program on the Mountain West Credit Union Association website.

3. The Credit Union Leadership Institute

The Leadership Institute is designed to expose future credit union leaders to important concepts and principles of both general and organizational leadership. Participants dive into real life case studies and are charged to work with their peers to come up with practical solutions to real problems and challenges. Exercises are intended to increase self awareness knowledge, experience, confidence and ability. The program is a tremendous opportunity for Credit Union professionals to step into roles of greater responsibility and facilitates deep relationships that enhance and strengthen the credit union community.

If you, or someone you work with is interested in attending the Mountain West Credit Union Association Leadership Institute, please contact Diana Stoick at or 307.265.9250.

4. Leadership in Action Grants

Leadership in Action grants are a bit different from the other grants and scholarship offered by the Foundation in that they are designed to help Credit Unions implement leadership initiatives within their own institutions. The grants are intended to support all leadership initiatives, but are focused on the creation of strategies, systems and methods for achieving performance excellence, stimulating innovation, building knowledge and capabilities, and ensuring organizational sustainability.

If the leadership initiatives within your credit union could benefit from some additional funding, please visit the Foundation website to fill out an application. In particular, we are interested in leadership initiatives that are values-based and help to encourage the entire workforce to contribute, develop, learn, be innovative, or embrace meaningful change.

5. Leadership Research

What are the specific qualities and characteristics that make up quality credit union leadership? In 2015, the Foundation launched a comprehensive research study designed to answer that question. Using strict criteria, data was collected from 20 of the top performing credit union CEOs in the Mountain West region. The findings from the study, which were released in January of this year, identified nine key leadership attributes and nine leadership traits. Insights will be incorporated into training aspects of the MWCUF’s Center for Credit Union Leadership.

The full study results can be found here and an e-book that outlines practical ways to use the research results is available here.

Foundation Grants & Scholarships

The Foundation promotes credit union leadership development through a variety of structured scholarships and grants for Credit Unions, Credit Union personnel, Credit Union members, and other charitable organizations.

This funding touches hundreds of lives each year, aimed at creating a future of personal financial well-being for everyone in our communities.

1. The Gary Plank Scholarship Program

The Gary Plank Scholarship Program is an opportunity for young credit union professionals and volunteers to attend the 2014 World Credit Union Conference. The Conference provides a unique perspective of the international credit union movement with lectures, breakout sessions, networking opportunities and much more. Amongst other factors, recipients are selected based on a demonstrated commitment to the credit union cooperative model and to further development within the international credit union system.

For a more information and a nomination form visit the Foundation website.

2. Community Investment Fund Grant

Community Investment Grants are a chance to help our Credit Union’s community-based programs succeed. Grants are generally limited to $5,000 and have contributed to the funding of financial education programs, community-based charitable initiates sponsored by local credit unions, and programs that serve the under-served within the community.

If your community could benefit from a Community Investment Grant, download an application on the Foundation website.

3. Gary D. Isner Small Credit Union Operational Grant

The Foundation’s Small Credit Union Grants are reserved for credit unions with under $50 million in assets and in need of support to launch operational initiatives that will enhance member services. These grants have helped many small Credit Unions offer services to members that not only enhance the member experience, but directly contribute to long-term growth and sustainability of the Credit Union within their community.

If you are interested in applying for a small credit union grant, I invite you to visit the Foundation website for more information.

4. Professional Development Scholarships

Professional development scholarships are available for credit union volunteers, management and staff to attend any credit union related educational opportunity. This includes Credit Union Association Education and Training course offering, conference attendance, self-study module, DVD, or Webinar. Full and partial scholarships may also be available and are awarded on the basis of financial need, benefit to credit union operations, member service, and leadership development.

Download a Professional Development Scholarship application on the Foundation Website.

5. The Brayman-Beach Scholarship

The Brayman-Beach Scholarship is an opportunity for Credit Unions to demonstrate their commitment their community through investing in young adults. After all, our young adults hold the future of the credit union movement in their hands!

Applicants are introduced to credit union concepts through writing an essay that places them in the CEO’s shoes, exposing them to career opportunities that they may not have considered. Scholarship recipients are selected based on grades, financial need, community service, professional goals, extracurricular activities and an essay written by the applicant.

For more information, including a Scholarship brochure and application instructions, please visit the Foundation website.

We are here to serve you.

How can the Foundation serve you in 2017? I invite you to let us know how we can support your credit union, your members and your community. We are in this together and there is nothing we want more than to help you succeed.

About Dan Finerty

Dan Finerty is the Director of Marketing at the Mountain West Credit Union Association, a Credit Union champion, a Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE), and an award-winning marketer. Dan has over 14 years of marketing experience in communications, retail, packaged goods, and, of course, Credit Unions. He believes that Credit Unions have an incredible story to tell and works with some of the brightest Credit Union professionals to help promote Credit Unions to the public. Dan holds two Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing and in Management. He is also a swell guy.

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