Development educators honored during conference

Event recognizes Joanne Todd, Carla Decker, and The Disclosures.

July 13, 2015

ABOVE: The Disclosures accept their Cooperative Spirit Award with the DE Awards Committee (From left: Lily Newfarmer, Debbie Wege, The Disclosures - Christopher Morris and Chad Helminak, and Brandon McAdams). Photos by Mark Lynch

Three Credit Union Development Education (DE) Program Awards were presented at a special reception during the annual DE Workshop, July 9-11, 2015 in Denver in conjunction with the jointly held America’s Credit Union/World Credit Union Conference.

The DE Program Awards go to certified Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) who exemplify what DE stands for through their individual or cooperative efforts to make a difference in their credit union, community, or on a national/international basis.  

“The DE program encourages action around the credit union philosophy and this year’s winners exemplify what being a CUDE is all about,” said Lois Kitsch, national program director, National Credit Union Foundation.

With more than 100 CUDEs gathered at the recent workshop, the Foundation presented the following awards:

Cooperative Spirit Award–The Disclosures (Chad Helminak and Christopher Morris) for:

  • Making a significant difference to youth and the greater credit union community by engaging in the credit union difference in a completely new and unique way using their own talents and gifts;
  • Capturing the attention of media, blogs, speaker bureaus, unique entertainment spots that always brought positive attention to the role of credit unions and financial education;
  • Creating lasting videos, albums, and songs to be leveraged by various credit union groups; and
  • Being fresh, new, unique, inspirational, fun, and impactful.


Carla Decker (right) accepts the Individual Achievement Award with DE Awards Committee Chair Debbie Wege.

Individual Achievement Award–Carla Decker for:

  • Helping get needed services to the DC Latino Community of local immigrants and others who were underserved through ACCESO;
  • Starting and growing the Caribbean DE Program (CaribDE) and related events;
  • Being a mentor and facilitator of the U.S. DE Program;
  • Serving as an inaugural at-large elected member of the CUDE Advisory Council and Chair of Governance Committee;
  • Speaking at national and international events about how credit unions serve low income communities; and
  • Serving as a board member of the Federation and NCBA CLUSA, and also serving on the CFPB Inaugural CU Advisory Council.


Joanne Todd accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award with the DE Awards Committee (From left: Debbie Wege, Lily Newfarmer, Joanne Todd, and Brandon McAdams).

Lifetime Achievement Award – Joanne Todd (holding the award above) for:

  • Make an impact on credit unions, the DE program nationally and internationally, in her local community, and with cooperatives and through international programs and projects;
  • Starting an intern program at her credit union for youth;
  • Creating a non-profit called Friends of Kenya in her community, where local community members created a student exchange program;
  • Participating in the cooperative movement partnership between the Connecticut Credit Union League and Trinidad and Tobago;
  • Sitting on a cooperative board and helps build collaborative efforts between her credit union and local cooperatives;
  • Helping with a farmer-to-farmer program in Uzbekistan for small cooperatives in rural areas;
  • Bringing microfinance to a group of Haitian women entrepreneurs through a NGO in Haiti following the devastating earthquakes;
  • Supporting DE through mentoring, sending DEs from her credit union, attending and completing the United Kingdom DE program (DEUK) and mentoring DE trainings in the Caribbean and Africa; and
  • Conducting and establishing many reality fairs and other financial education related programs.

Nominations were submitted by CUDEs and winners were chosen by the 2015 CUDE Awards Committee, which consisted of the following individuals:

  • Debbie Wege, BECU;
  • Larry Blanchard, CUNA Mutual Group;
  • Brandon McAdams, Coastal FCU; and
  • Lily Newfarmer, Tarrant County’s CU.

View past award winners online here