The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation is seeking three of the most skilled potential leaders in the tri-state area. Once again the Foundation’s Executive Leadership Program (FELP) is open for applications. The Foundation has six leaders undergoing the program right now and by the end of November three more will be added to their ranks. The mission of the Foundation Executive Leadership program is to discover and develop the next generation of Credit Union Leaders.

Here’s how FELP Works

The Foundation Executive Leadership Program a complete five-year curriculum built to develop leaders specifically for the credit union industry is fully funded by the Foundation. Interested leaders must submit an application form no later than Friday, September 12, 2014. Next, the top applicants will be interviewed, assessed, and three of the very best (one from each state) will be selected to start the program in 2015. The FLEP program includes: Western CUNA Management School, The Association’s Leadership Institute, The Development Educators’ Program, a personal executive coach, and a hands-on mentorship program. To learn more about this exclusive program and how you can nominate a candidate go to


Current FELP scholars are:

2013 Scholars:

Adrianne Rexius, Landings Credit Union in Tempe, Arizona, completed her first year of Western CUNA Management School and was elected President of her Class. This is quite an honor and requires a great deal of leadership, organization, and communications. Adrianne has gone above and beyond with her work at WCMS.

Jeremy Gibson, of Trona Valley Credit Union in Green River Wyoming, has now completed his second year at Western CUNA Management School and will be completing his project and presenting it next summer. The project is a critical part of the school and will keep Jeremy very focused over the coming year.

Maggie Camacho, of Colorado Credit Union in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, is already a WCMS graduate and a graduate of the Mountain West Credit Union Association’s Leadership Institute.   This September Maggie will complete the Development Educator Program and will likely be the first of our Scholars to enter into the mentorship program which is the final phase of the Executive Leadership Program


2014 Scholars are:

Angel Phillips, of Reliant Federal Credit Union in Casper, Wyoming, has now completed her first year of Western CUNA Management School and found the program both exciting and challenging. According to her blog, she enjoyed topics like strategic planning, organizational development, and even economics. Angel is now working on her project and has completed her first round of comprehensive testing. 


Choua Ly, of Partner Colorado Credit Union in Arvada, Colorado, finished her third session of the Mountain West Credit Union Association’s Leadership Institute in Denver on August 19th. Choua has one more session to complete and she will be ready to move on to the next level by choosing to attend Western CUNA Management School or the Development Educator Program.  


Lisett Olsen, of Alhambra Credit Union in Phoenix Arizona, finished her third session of the Mountain West Credit Union Association’s Leadership Institute in Denver on August 12th. Lisett also has one more session to complete and she will be ready to move to the next level by choosing to attend Western CUNA Management School or the Development Educator Program.

2015 Scholars:

Will your credit union emerging leader’s name be here?

Strategic planning is one of the keys to success for credit unions. This year, as in the past, the Foundation has worked to help credit unions accomplish this important task through the Strategic Planning Grant Initiative.  These grant funds are intended to help foster the planning process and help credit unions develop long-term success in their communities.  Congratulations to this year’s grant recipients:

  • Ashoka Credit Union, Colorado
  • Aurora Schools Federal Credit Union, Colorado
  • Banner Federal Credit Union, Arizona
  • First American Credit Union, Arizona
  • Horizons North Credit Union, Colorado
  • Landings Credit Union, Arizona
  • Pinal County Credit Federal Union, Arizona
  • River-Rail Community Federal Credit Union, Wyoming
  • Tucson Old Pueblo Credit Union, Arizona 

On Thursday of this week, the Foundation hosted its second Miracle Marathon kickoff meeting.  The meeting held in Phoenix helped introduce how credit unions can participate in this important fundraising event benefiting Children’s Hospital Colorado, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and Tucson Medical Center.  Starting on September 16 and running through October 12, credit unions across Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming will build teams, and raise much needed funds for the Kids.  More than 13 Arizona credit unions attended the kickoff meeting and 10 Colorado credit unions attended the kickoff meeting held in Colorado last February, and even more credit unions are showing interest in participating.   Special thanks to all the credit unions planning to participate this year.

The second year of operations as a tri-state credit union foundation fostered both innovation and collaboration for the Foundation’s donors and grantees. To find out more about the work the foundation did download the 2013 annual report HERE.
Big Check Goes to Children’s Hospital Colorado

MiracleMarathonCheck sm-001Foundation Chairman John Uchida, Board Member Bob Hoel, Executive Director Dan Santangelo, and Foundation President Scott Earl (pictured below) presented Children’s Hospital Colorado with a check for more than $79,000 on November 19th.  The funds raised were a result of the Miracle Marathon held across Colorado from October 1-27th and will benefit the kids at Children’s Hospital Colorado.  This was the first year for this new and signature fund raising event Sponsored by Mountain West Credit Union Foundation the CO-OP Network and Credit Unions Across Colorado.  Ten credit union teams participated involving more than 179 participants.  Next year, the plans are to continue the Foundation sponsorship, get more credit union involved, and continue to support the good work of the Children’s Hospital Network.

Credit Unions Across Colorado are on a mission to save kids, and we need your help. Children’s Hospital Colorado treats thousands of kids each year, regardless of their family's ability to pay. These children are facing a variety of serious ailments, such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, and injuries from accidents.

To help raise awareness – and some much needed funds – for the important work that Children’s Hospital does the Foundation and the CO-OP Network is the primary sponsor for this important event. I hope you will consider completing the Miracle Marathon with us. It’s 27.2 miles over the course of 27 days in October – a 26.2 mile marathon plus an extra mile for the kids!

Why Are We Involved?
Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that exist to serve our members - not profit off of them. The very basics of a credit union is a community of people coming together to help each other succeed financially through needed loans and a safe place to save. This philosophy of 'People Helping People' is one of the founding principles of our movement and continues to be a core value today. Partnering with Children's Hospital is a part of how we support our communities and put 'People Helping People' into action each day. Plus, it just feels good.

How do I get more information?

1)      Contact Dan Santangelo or Dan Finerty at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Download this presentation More Info

The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation board has voted to make credit unions the signature sponsor for a new Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) fundraising event – the Miracle Marathon.  This exciting partnership is made possible through a donation to Children’s Hospital Colorado from the Foundation on behalf of credit unions.  A special thanks goes out to CO-OP Financial Services who increased our credit unions’ impact on the local community by matching the Foundation’s donation.  The Miracle Marathon is a new Children’s Miracle Network promotion that is being rolled out in only 5 markets including Denver – with our credit unions getting in on the ground floor as the signature sponsor.  Starting on October 1st and wrapping up on October 27th, this 27 day virtual fundraising campaign invites participants run or walk (or achieve forward motion) one mile per day at their own leisure for a total of 27.2 miles – that’s a 26.2 mile marathon plus going an extra mile for kids.  Throughout October, CMN Hospitals will send participants challenges and motivational messages with the goal of building an interactive, online community.

Credit Unions in Colorado will be promoted as the event's signature sponsor through a radio campaign on Alice 105.9 and KOSI 101 that starts mid-September and runs through October.  This campaign includes over 80 radio spots along with on-air sponsorship mentions and includes web, email, and social media segments.  Credit unions will be receiving more information on how they can participate over the next few weeks and will be contacted by Colorado Children’s Hospital Foundation about this exciting event.  There is no additional donation required to participate in this campaign.  A specially designed promotional kit will be made available that will help interested credit unions garner member and employee participation.  Look for an informational webinar announcement, in early September, designed to kick off this new exciting event.  For more information now, contact Dan Santangelo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2013 Brayman Beach Scholar Selected

This year the judging committee for the annual Brayman-Beach scholarship—a $5,000 scholarship given to an outstanding college bound scholar—selected Elevations member Jacob Helleckson.  Jacob is a senior at Paonia Jr-Sr High School and will be attending the University of Colorado, Boulder this fall.  Jacob is a superior student with a very high GPA and ACT score.  He is on the school honor roll, has received the University of Colorado Boulder Outstanding Junior scholarship, Mountain Valley News Student of the Week, home coming king, Paonia High School Varsity Track, Cross Country  co-captain, attended Colorado all State Orchestra, Western State Honors Orchestra, Colorado all State Choir, and Western States Honor Choir.  Jacob is also very involved in his community and church.

Two Gary Plank Scholars Selected

This is the first year the Gary Plank Scholarship—providing two young credit union professionals funding to attend the World Council of Credit Unions Annual meeting in Ottawa, Canada—was offered to all three states.  The competition resulted in many outstanding applicants from both Arizona and Colorado.  This year Heather Szymanski, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Space Age Federal Credit Union in Aurora, Colorado and Valerie Zeller, Senior Internal Auditor at Arizona Central Credit Union in Phoenix were selected.  These outstanding scholars represent the very best among our young credit union professionals.  Next year we hope to have applicants from Wyoming as well. 


The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation now offers strategic planning grants for your credit union

You know strategic planning is important to the long-term success of your credit union but with tight budgets, sometimes it’s hard to plan to… well… plan. With a grant available from the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation, your credit union can receive up to $2,700 to help pay for your strategic planning. You can use your favorite facilitator or access one of the Foundation planners, which include the Compliance Solutions contractors and credit union CEOs experienced in strategic planning.

Applying for the grant is easy. Simply download and submit the grant application by Monday, July 1st, 2013.

Credit unions with less than $50M in assets can receive up to 75% of their strategic planning cost covered with a maximum of $2,700.

Credit unions over $50M in assets can receive up to 50% of their planning costs covered with a maximum of $2,700.

All grants will be awarded based on need and merit.

There is a funding pool total of $22,000 so be sure to apply today!

Credit unions receiving grants must complete their strategic planning by the end of 2013.

Remember, the application deadline is Monday July 1st, 2013.

Brayman Beach College Scholarship-Deadline for application March 29, 2013

The Brayman Beach College Scholarship is named in honor of two visionary leaders in the credit union movement, Susan J. Brayman and Carroll Beach. This Scholarship is awarded to Colorado credit union members who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in business. One $5,000 scholarship is awarded each year.

Gary Plank (WYCUP) Scholarship-Deadline for application May 3, 2013

The Gary Plank (WYCUP) Scholarship is named in honor of Gary Plank a visionary Arizona credit union leader. The $5,000 scholarships are awarded to three young credit union professionals or volunteers—one from each state—to attend the World Council’s conference. This year the conference will be held on July 14-17 in Ottawa, Canada. 

For applications and nomination forms for either scholarship email Jadie Simon Hilberg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.