Mountain West Credit Union Foundation presents prestigious awards

Annual Gala raises more than $28,000 for charitable work

DENVER, CO (October 14, 2014) – The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation presented its annual credit union industry awards at the 7thAnnual Star Gala held September 26. Proceeds from the event raised more than $28,000 to support the 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:

  • Denver Community Credit Union – Community Impact Award, winner
  • Arizona Central Credit Union – Community Impact Award, runner up
  • Partner Colorado Credit Union – Credit Union of the Year Award
  • Dan Kester, CEO, Sooper Credit Union – Distinguished Service Award
  • Adele Smith, Director of Retail Operations, Premier Members Federal Credit Union – Emerging Leader Award

“It is a privilege to recognize this year’s award winners,” said Dr. Dan Santangelo, Executive Director of the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation. “Every year, this program rejuvenates us because we see the founding principles of credit unions in action. 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.

About the awards/ winners:

Denver Community Credit Union, Community Impact Award winner. One of the founding principles of the credit union movement is the premise of “people helping people.” One way that is demonstrated is through community service. The Community Impact award honors a credit union for its commitment and dedication to the community it serves. Denver Community Credit Union’s Clear Money program has been making a positive impact on members through solid financial teaching presented in easily accessible formats. The program helps with classes, counseling and other resources that help members face the challenges of budgeting, saving and emergency planning. Arizona Central Credit Union received the runner-up award for its President’s Day In-Service Volunteer Project. Employees of the credit union spent the day volunteering in multiple locations across its service area, providing valuable resources for several nonprofit partners.

Partner Colorado Credit Union – Credit Union of the Year Award. 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. Partner Colorado has maintained a strong financial position during a difficult time period. With over 80% in loan growth and an increase of more than 11% in net worth, this credit union has issued a member dividend for the last two years totaling more than $1.25M. Partner Credit Union has also been named for eight consecutive years as one of the Denver Business Journal’s Top Ten Places to Work.

Dan Kester, CEO, Sooper Credit Union – Distinguished Service Award. This award recognizes a leader who has provided outstanding service to the credit union community. Kester has contributed decades of innovation, creativity, and hard work to the credit union movement.

Adele Smith, Premier Members Federal Credit Union, 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. Smith’s contributions include volunteering with Junior Achievement and Food Bank of the Rockies, as well as serving on chapters and councils dedicated to furthering the credit union movement.

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



(TOP) Denver Community: Denver Community Credit Union won the Community Impact Award at the 7th Annual Star Gala.
(BOTTOM) Kester: Sooper Credit Union CEO Dan Kester receives the Distinguished Service Award from Mountain West Credit Union Association CEO Scott Earl and Foundation Board Chair Marsha Tynsky (Trona Valley FCU).


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