Mountain West Credit Union Foundation presents annual awards

DENVER, CO (October 4, 2017) — The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation presented its annual credit union industry awards at the 10th Annual Star Gala held September 22 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver, Colorado. Proceeds from the event support the charitable work of the Foundation. 

Each year, the Star Gala is held to honor outstanding credit unions and credit union professionals dedicated to the credit union movement and making a difference in their communities. This year, awards were presented to: 

  • Pima Federal Credit Union (AZ) – Community Impact Award, winner
  • Reliant Federal Credit Union (WY) – Community Impact Award, runner-up
  • Vantage West (AZ) – Credit Union Of the Year ($500M and over Asset Category)
  • Angel Phillips, Reliant Federal Credit Union (WY) – Emerging Leader Award
  • Mike Williams, Colorado Credit Union – Distinguished Leader Award

“These award winners truly embody the credit union philosophy,” said Dr. Dan Santangelo, Executive Director of the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation. “Credit unions exist to enhance the lives of their members. The individuals and credit unions receiving these awards truly make a difference in their communities, and in the lives of their members. It’s why we do what we do.”

 Money raised from the event goes to fund Foundation programs that provide scholarships for numerous leadership, professional development and academic opportunities; financial services, development and public financial education grants; and other programs supporting credit unions in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming, the states served by the Mountain West Credit Union Association. 

The 2018 Star Gala will be held in Phoenix AZ, on Friday, October 26, at the Chateaux Luxe.

About the awards/ winners:

Pima Federal Credit Union (AZ), Community Impact Award winner. One of the founding principles of the credit union movement is the premise of “people helping people.” The Community Impact award honors a credit union for its commitment and dedication to the community it serves. Pima Federal Credit Union sees their Community Outreach Program as a natural extension of its vision, mission, and common purpose. This program supports Southern Arizona communities through employee volunteerism, educational support, financial literacy, community giving, fundraising, and sponsorships. In its 6th year, the Community Outreach Program provided more than 2,800 hours of community service, taught financial literacy to over 660 students, and donated nearly $180,000 to organizations that directly benefit Southern Arizona communities. Pima encourages employees to volunteer with organizations that they are passionate about by providing each employee with four paid hours a quarter. Of their 186 employees, 154 (83%) volunteered with 75 different organizations, including a monthly service commitment to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona. Reliant Federal Credit Union (WY) received the runner-up award for its Good Corporate Citizen Campaign to incorporate three of the credit union’s activities – Random Acts of Kindness, Day of Caring, and the Employee Community Involvement policy. Through Random Acts of Kindness, Reliant has provided meals prepared for hospice patients, coloring books for children of modest means, picking up the tab on pizzas at a restaurant, or taking over a local coffee shop. Over the past year, the credit union contributed $18,000 to acts that touched over 5,600 community members.

Vantage West Credit Union (AZ) – Credit Union of the Year Award (Over $500M Assets). This award recognizes a credit union for innovation and outstanding achievements in the various areas of day-to-day operations, financial prowess, and member service. Vantage West Credit Union has been serving the community for over 70 years. They have an expansive Hispanic initiative which gained the Juntos Avanzamos designation, and has become a leader in serving this market. Vantage West Credit Union joined with local law enforcement to fight skimming at gas pumps. Through their efforts, more than 80 skimming devices were removed with fraud claims declining from 54 a month to 3, preventing over half a million dollars in claims.

Angel Phillips, Reliant Federal Credit Union (WY), Emerging Leader Award. The emerging leader award is presented to a credit union employee who demonstrates outstanding contributions to the credit union movement, community service and leadership qualities. Phillips has been a part of the movement for nearly a decade and is a graduate of the Mountain West Credit Union Leadership Institute, a Credit Union Development Educator, and a scholar of the Foundation’s Executive Leadership Program. She has established a financial literacy program for their credit union and local school district. Additionally, she created a service-oriented mentoring program for credit union staff and recently took on a new role as Manager of Member Service.

Mike Williams, Colorado Credit Union – Distinguished Leader Award. Williams has been dedicated to the credit union movement for 30 years. He is a credit union activist, spending more than 15 years attending the Government Affairs Conference and Hike the Hill initiatives while working to build relationships with state elected officials and communicating credit union issues. Williams has served by providing leadership on numerous Association, CUNA, and CUSO boards. This included being a part of the team that merged the Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming leagues into the Mountain West Credit Union Association.

Mike Williams – Distinguished Leader

Angel Phillips – Emerging Leader

About The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation

The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation is the charitable organization focused on the long-term success of credit unions in their community. We accomplish our work through leadership development, professional development scholarships, academic scholarships, affordable financial services grants, credit union development grants and public financial education grants. More information about the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation can be found at


Patti Hazlett
Director of Public Affairs
720.355.2828 |

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