IN WHAT SHE CALLS A “BAPTISM BY FIRE” and a huge learning experience, Allison Barna assumed leadership of the New York Credit Union Foundation (NYCUF) in 2011—less than a year before Superstorm Sandy devastated much of the East Coast, including many New York credit unions and their members’ homes and businesses.
She leapt into action and, working with the Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY), other state leagues and system partners, credit unions nationwide, and the National Credit Union Foundation, assembled more than $150,000 in grants to assist New York credit unions. “Everyone pulled together, and over three or four months we made it work,” she says. “We held all manner of fund-raisers.”
Barna continues to champion fund-raising efforts for NYCUF, which provides three grant programs in addition to as-needed disaster relief grants:
The foundation provided almost $90,000 in grants in 2013, and $50,000 more through this past June.
As vice president of member services and the foundation, Barna also supports CUANY’s young professionals group, which has grown to more than 150 participants under her leadership.
“We kept hearing about how many CEOs were nearing retirement without necessarily having anyone in place to succeed them, and decided we needed to help credit unions find and retain younger employees,” says Barna. “We want to help young people develop their skills and their passion for credit unions so they’ll stay invested in the movement.”
Some of the Young Professionals Commission’s initiatives include:
Barna also supports CUANY’s Member Outreach and Reinvestment Endeavor (MORE). The program produces an annual report detailing credit unions’ often understated positive contributions.