CDCU Volunteers Honored with Martin Luther King Service Awards

Contact: Rafael O. Morales, Public Affairs & West Coast Program Officer ● 212-809-1850, ext. 206 ●

(Monday, January 16, 2012 – New York, NY) Today, on the 26th Anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation) is recognizing 13 community development credit union (CDCU) staff and volunteers with the Martin Luther King Drum Major for Service Awards.

Martin Luther King Drum Majors for Service are volunteers who perform extraordinary everyday acts of service with reliability and commitment. The CDCU awardees have more than 400 years of combined service to their credit unions, their communities, and the credit union movement at large.

“Many CDCUs were born in response to the injustices, economic and otherwise, that the Civil Rights struggle sought to address,” explained Federation President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal, “so it was only fitting that these CDCU leaders be honored with the Drum Majors for Service Award, named after the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

The common bond between the 13 CDCU honorees is their heartfelt dedication, passion and genuine caring for others, as shown by Melvina Johnson, a member of the Board of Directors at All Souls FCU (New York, NY). With over 40 years of service to her credit union, Mrs. Johnson echoed Dr. King’s message of inclusion for all.

“I joined the credit union movement, because there was a time when people, in particular minorities, could not get money or access to credit, especially in our area [Harlem],” said Johnson.  “The credit union, which is now over 50 years old, was formed specifically to help these people and our community to prosper.  I got involved because of my deep feelings for the movement and because I wanted to help people,” she continued, “I did not anticipate my own personal growth from my volunteer work, but across the years I have learned much and have gotten such pleasure from seeing others in my community learn how to save and to realize what being a member of a credit union can do to help them.”

Another of the awardees, former Federation Chairman Rita L. Haynes, who recently retired as CEO of Cleveland’s Faith Community United CU after more than 50 years in the credit union movement, shared a similar motivation for her endeavors. “Faith Community United Credit Union gave me the opportunity to share my faith with low-income individuals and families by providing me with a vehicle to assist them in their journey for financial independence.  It has allowed me to make a real impact in peoples’ lives and to participate in the broader cooperative movement worldwide. I feel blessed to have been able to help so many people in my community, and especially to know that my efforts will continue through the work of the credit union for many generations to come,” she said. 

“In this time of economic challenge for our nation, Dr. King’s vision of service and volunteerism are more critical than ever,” added Rosenthal. “We need more Americans to serve and strengthen their own and each other’s economic security, and service is a powerful way for citizens, nonprofits, the private sector and government to work together to meet critical needs and advance Dr. King’s dream of opportunity for all.  It is with great pleasure that the Federation nominated these most deserving candidates, for their incredible and indelible contributions to their communities and to the community development credit union movement.”

The CDCU recipients of the Drum Majors for Service Award include:


Credit Union



Years Service

Laurel Benjamin                                   

All Souls FCU

New York



Lillian Bent                                       

Bethex FCU

New York



Willie Carpenter                                       





Tom Connors                            

America First CU                                  




George Daniels

St. Mark’s FCU

New York



Rita L. Haynes      

Faith Community United CU




Marvin G. Jensen

Episcopal Community FCU

Los Angeles



Melvina Johnson

All Souls FCU                                    

 New York



Daniel Morrisey

Queen of Peace Arlington FCU




James H. Parson                   

Church of the Master FCU

New York



Eunice Johnson Rogers

NRS Community Development FCU




Sharon Saulters

Triumph Baptist FCU




Shirley Inez Spruill

Renaissance Community Development CU




Total Years of Service





To learn more about each of the CDCU awardees, visit the Federation’s website at:


The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation) is a certified CDFI Intermediary representing more than 240 community development credit unions (CDCUs).  The Federation’s member CDCUs provide credit, savings, transaction services and financial education to more than 1.7 million residents of low-income urban, rural and reservation-based communities across the United States, and hold over $11 billion in community-controlled assets.  Founded in 1974, the Federation is headquartered in Lower Manhattan with offices in Colorado Springs, CO; Madison, WI; and San Francisco, CA.   The Federation offers a wide range of advocacy, educational, training, investment, marketing, and outreach programs to support and assist CDCUs.  For more information about the Federation and its programs, please visit:

© 2012 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.

More News