Development Education (DE) program celebrates 35 years

Alumni of Foundation’s CU philosophy training gather at Tampa workshop

Nearly a hundred certified Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) gathered in Tampa, Fla. recently to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Credit Union Development Education (DE) Program. The popular philosophy training program from the National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) started in 1982 and continues to educate credit union professionals from around the world every year.

The 35th anniversary was recognized during the annual DE Workshop for CUDEs that took place July 11-13, 2017 in Tampa, Fla. This year’s workshop was focused on diversity with a special emphasis on all areas of inclusion. In addition to the sessions, CUDEs in attendance raised money to help the Pinellas Hope Shelter furnish 14 recently built apartments for homeless veterans in the area and went onsite to assemble the furnishings. CUDEs also surpassed their fundraising goal, with additional funds going support more of the homeless Tampa population transition into permanent housing. Click here to watch a short video overview of the project.

“The DE Program has grown and improved over the last thirty-five years, with the focus on helping people gain a new understanding of how to promote cooperative principles and credit union values as distinct advantages in today’s competitive financial services marketplace,” noted Lois Kitsch, National Program Director for the National Credit Union Foundation. “Every year, we see new CUDEs become passionate advocates of the credit union philosophy, which boosts employee motivation, creativity and a deeper commitment to their credit union organization and the movement.”

The DE program began in 1982 with a grant to the CUNA Foundation, now known as the National Credit Union Foundation, from the U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S. A.I.D.). At the time, Senators Biden and Pell sponsored legislation which allocated $1 million annually to be used by private voluntary organizations in the United States to fund programs that educate the U.S. public about major development issues related to hunger and economic development, primarily in developing countries. Eighty-eight programs received funding over time, but the Credit Union Development Education (DE) Program is the only one still in existence.

“I was the first CUDE at Coastal FCU, in 2003 – or the ‘best class ever,’” said Chuck Purvis, President/CEO of Coastal FCU in Raleigh, N.C. “My project after the training was to infuse what I learned into our management development and advancement program. Today, we have over twenty CUDEs at Coastal and my entire senior management team will be CUDEs by the end of the year. The DE program teaches the ‘heart’ of the credit union movement, so I’m using the DE Program to ensure that the credit principles and philosophy will drive decisions at Coastal long after I retire.

Upcoming DE Trainings

The Foundation is holding four DE Trainings this year, all taking place in Madison, Wis. The September and November training sessions are sold out, but the Foundation will be holding another four trainings in 2018. Anyone who is interested in attending a future training can email to be put on a list to be notified when registration is open.

During the week-long program, participants are involved in group exercises, field trips, discussions with speakers from around the credit union system, and are required to complete team projects proposing solutions for credit unions to help alleviate or eliminate challenging situations in any given area.

“DE Training was like hitting the ‘refresh button,’ in teaching us how dig deep into our roots, allowing us to rediscover our foundation and purpose,” said Raffo Wimsett, June 2017 DE Training graduate and Business Development Representative Senior at Commonwealth Credit Union. “Sounds simple, but with life constantly interrupting, DE strategically slows all your day-to-day worries down by opening your mind to an even bigger picture – our mission! Something we often forget.”

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