National Credit Union Foundation Celebrates 30 Years of Investing in Credit Unions

Christopher Morris
608-231-4374 |


Madison, Wis. – The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), widely recognized as the national charitable arm of America’s credit union movement, celebrates its 30th anniversary this month.

Originally called the CUNA Foundation, NCUF was incorporated in October of 1980. In its early days, NCUF focused on international development, scholarships and grants to small credit unions, working closely with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and CUNA Mutual Group. In 1991, the Foundation reorganized to become a true charitable foundation focused on the needs of consumers and credit unions’ unique ability to meet those needs.

In its first 30 years, the Foundation has awarded over $25 million worth of grants to fulfill its mission: “to promote and improve consumer financial independence through credit unions.”

“The National Credit Union Foundation has and continues to evolve in its ability to support the work of credit unions in their communities,” said Patricia Brownell Sterner, former NCUF Executive Director and Founder and CEO of JFB & Associates, LLC. “A true hallmark of the Foundation’s strength is its ability to embrace change, taking advantage of the opportunities and challenges of an often tumultuous financial marketplace to consistently develop new ways to fulfill its mission. Kudos to the Foundation for how much we have achieved together in 30 years to support consumer financial independence through credit unions!”

The Foundation’s strategic programs and grants help credit unions provide widespread financial education, create greater access to affordable financial services, and empower more consumers to save, build assets, and own homes. NCUF programs and grants include:

  • REAL Solutions® – helping credit unions offer services that have proven successful for people of modest means and “low wealth.”
  • Credit Union Development EducationPreserving credit unions’ uniqueness through training in credit union philosophy and cooperative principles.
  • Financial Education – sponsoring Biz Kid$, the award-winning financial education series on PBS stations underwritten by America’s credit unions.
  • CUAid ( – raising disaster relief funds for credit union employees, volunteers and members.
  • Innovation Grants – encouraging credit union innovations through grant-making.

“None of the work the Foundation has done over the years would be possible without our generous supporters,” said Bucky Sebastian, NCUF Executive Director. “Particularly credit unions who invest in the Community Investment Fund, corporate supporters, individual donors, and state credit union leagues and foundations, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), CUNA Mutual Group, and the Corporate Credit Union Network, who make significant donations and encourage others to follow their lead. Thank you all for helping the Foundation make a real impact in our communities over the years.”

Carol Schillios, Founder, Schillios Consulting Group and Fabric of Life Foundation, and the first full-time NCUF Director said, “One of the Foundation’s earliest objectives was to ‘aid in mobilizing and channeling the people, talents, expertise and resources available through the U.S. credit union movement to bring credit union services to those who need and want them.’ How wonderful it is to see NCUF programs such as REAL Solutions® continue that goal thirty years later!”

“I’m proud to celebrate the Foundation’s powerful work over the years and am enthusiastic for our future,” said NCUF Board Chairman Allan Kemp McMorris, President & CEO of Oakland County Credit Union in Waterford, Mich. “The need for consumer financial freedom is as strong as ever. Our grants and programs in the years ahead are vital to helping credit unions make that independence a reality.”

Credit unions can make a $30 gift in honor of the Foundation’s 30th anniversary here.



About the National Credit Union Foundation (

The National Credit Union Foundation is the US credit union movement’s primary national philanthropic program provider, fundraiser and grant-maker. Through NCUF grants and programs, credit unions provide widespread financial education, create greater access to affordable financial services, and empower more consumers to save, build assets, and own homes.

NCUF is funded primarily by investments in the award-winning Community Investment Fund (CIF) and by generous Supporters led by the Credit Union National Association, CUNA Mutual Group, Harland Clarke, CO-OP Financial Services, STAR, California & Nevada Credit Union Leagues, Card Services for Credit Unions, and VISA.  All NCUF donors provide support that empowers NCUF and state credit union foundations to make a real impact in the credit union community.

The National Credit Union Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization. NCUF continues to earn the Better Business Bureau seal of approval as an “Accredited Charity” for meeting all 20 BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for national charities.  

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