As credit union rock stars go, Bruce Foulke is like an Eddie Van Halen or Keith Richards—someone who looks like he’s having a lot of fun.
Start with his business acumen. When Foulke took over as president/CEO of American Heritage Federal Credit Union in Philadelphia 38 years ago, the credit union had one office and $4 million in assets. Today, it boasts 33 offices and $2 billion in assets. Through his tenure, Foulke has engineered 52 mergers, mostly with small credit unions on the brink of insolvency, he says.
Then there’s his belief in extending the credit union philosophy to his personal life. “I love helping people out,” Foulke says. “When I’m not doing this job, I’m a volunteer fireman.”
And he’s dedicated to improving the lives of people around him.
“Bruce is an effervescent person, who works tirelessly for others—especially those less fortunate,” says Rich Hasson, American Heritage Federal vice president.
To that end, all American Heritage Federal ATMs are surcharge free—even for nonmembers. “We’re here to help the community we serve,” Foulke says.
“We started out serving a low-income neighborhood, and we will always be here to serve everybody in the community. It’s a great source of goodwill.”
Foulke also founded one of the first credit union charitable foundations, Kids-N-Hope, which has been instrumental in developing a music therapy program for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Since its inception, Kids-N-Hope has raised $1.5 million. Its signature event is the annual Kids-N-Hope Gelatin Olympics, where kids and adults slide through 700 gallons of gelatin. This year, the event raised $37,000.
Did we mention that Foulke likes to have fun?
Foulke is also a former board member of the World Council of Credit Unions. Through that relationship, American Heritage Federal adopted an orphanage in Busia, Kenya. The credit union has donated nearly $150,000 to the orphanage.
“Our board is heavily involved with supporting it. We pay for the kids’ food, so they get three square meals a day,” Foulke says. “We’ve gone over there several times and built beds, fences, and playgrounds for the kids. We’ve met the community leaders, and helped out the people that run the credit unions over there.”
Foulke is 63 years old, but he has no plans to retire in the near future. “What else would I do?” he asks.