Brayman-Beach Scholarships NOW OPEN

This year as in the past, The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation will award one $5,000 scholarship to a student who is a member of a Colorado-based credit union seeking a business degree from a four-year accredited institution.

The scholarship is named after two Colorado Credit Union leaders, Susan J. Brayman and Carroll Beach.  Susan served as a Colorado Credit Union System senior executive and Carroll served as a Colorado Credit Union System CEO.  Together they served for more than 50 years.

There is no better way to convey the “people helping people” philosophy and the generous nature of our credit union community than by helping your young members achieve their dream of higher education. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 30, 2018 at 1:00pm

Follow this link for an application

Gary Plank Scholarship Opens Early

The World Council of Credit Unions will hold its annual conference in Suntec City Singapore in July, and the Gary Plank Scholarship will help young credit union professionals and Development Educators attend.  The deadline for the 2018 Scholarship is March 9, 2018.

This annual scholarship is named in honor of the retired Arizona League President Gary Plank, who once served as the Chair of the World Council of Credit Unions. This year the program will provide three $6,500 scholarships for young professionals and directors OR Development Educators (no age requirement) to attend the World Credit Union Conference offered by the World Council of Credit Unions in Suntec City, Singapore, July 15-18, 2018. To learn more about this once in a life time opportunity, and to apply CLICK HERE.



Executive Leadership Program Deadline Extended to December 15, 2107

If you missed out on the last round of the Foundation Executive Leadership Program, you won’t want to let this opportunity pass you again. The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation will select three new candidates for an incredible, fully-funded, five-year leadership development journey that includes instruction in organizational leadership through the Mountain West Credit Union Leadership Institute, credit union philosophy immersion with the Development Educators program, credit union operations training at Western CUNA Management School, 48 months of executive coaching, and a hands-on capstone mentorship program. This is the only comprehensive program built to develop leaders specifically for to become the next generation of CEOs. The application deadline extended to December 15, 2017 so act now to build your team and develop your next generation of credit union leader at. Executive Leadership Program.  Click here to download an application, NOW!

Get your mentor on

The Mentor Relationship is Valuable for Both the Mentor and the Mentored.

Being a mentor is, of course, largely about giving back. But, it’s also one of the best ways to sharpen your skills and learn new things.

“If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.”Yogi Bhajan

Acting as a mentor is also one of the most proactive things you can do to advance your own career goals. According to a Sun Microsystems study, mentors are 20% more likely to get a raise and SIX times more likely to get promoted.

Having a mentor helps you develop and advance your career in a way that you just can’t do on your own. Ask most any successful person and they will tell you that they would not have accomplished as much without the guidance and support of at least one mentor along the way.

But, finding a mentor can be challenging.

The Center for Credit Union Leadership can help.

If you are looking for a mentor that can help you build your leadership brand and get to the next level, click here to find out how the Center can help you find the right mentor.

If you are ready to share your skills and experience with emerging leaders who are eager to grow and make an impact, click here to apply to become one of the Center’s mentors.

Mountain West Credit Union Foundation Presents Annual Awards

DENVER, Co. (Oct. 2017) – The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation presented its annual credit union industry awards at the 10th Annual Star Gala held September 22 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver, Colorado. Proceeds from the event support the charitable work of the Foundation.


Each year, the Star Gala is held to honor outstanding credit unions and credit union professionals dedicated to the credit union movement and making a difference in their communities. This year, awards were presented to:


  • Pima Federal Credit Union (AZ) – Community Impact Award, winner
  • Reliant Federal Credit Union (WY) – Community Impact Award, runner-up
  • Vantage West (AZ) – Credit Union Of the Year ($500M and over Asset Category)
  • Angel Phillips, Reliant Federal Credit Union (WY) – Emerging Leader Award
  • Mike Williams, Colorado Credit Union – Distinguished Leader Award


“These award winners truly embody the credit union philosophy,” said Dr. Dan Santangelo, Executive Director of the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation. “Credit unions exist to enhance the lives of their members. The individuals and credit unions receiving these awards truly make a difference in their communities, and in the lives of their members. It’s why we do what we do.”


Money raised from the event goes to fund Foundation programs that provide scholarships for numerous leadership, professional development and academic opportunities; financial services, development and public financial education grants; and other programs supporting credit unions in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming, the states served by the Mountain West Credit Union Association.


The 2018 Star Gala will be held in Phoenix AZ, on Friday, October 26, at the Chateaux Luxe.


About the awards/ winners:

The Pima Federal Credit Union team accepts the Community Impact Award

Pima Federal Credit Union (AZ), Community Impact Award winner. One of the founding principles of the credit union movement is the premise of “people helping people.” The Community Impact award honors a credit union for its commitment and dedication to the community it serves. Pima Federal Credit Union sees their Community Outreach Program

as a natural extension of its vision, mission, and common purpose. This program supports Southern Arizona communities through employee volunteerism, educational support, financial literacy, community giving, fundraising, and sponsorships. In its 6th year, the Community Outreach Program provided more than 2,800 hours of community service, taught financial literacy to over 660 students, and donated nearly $180,000 to organizations that directly benefit Southern Arizona communities. Pima encourages employees to volunteer with organizations that they are passionate about by providing each employee with four paid hours a quarter. Of their 186 employees, 154 (83%) volunteered with 75 different organizations, including a monthly service commitment to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona. Reliant Federal Credit Union (WY) received the runner-up award for its Good Corporate Citizen Campaign to incorporate three of the credit union’s activities – Random Acts of Kindness, Day of Caring, and the Employee Community Involvement policy. Through Random Acts of Kindness, Reliant has provided meals prepared for hospice patients, coloring books for children of modest means, picking up the tab on pizzas at a restaurant, or taking over a local coffee shop. Over the past year, the credit union contributed $18,000 to acts that touched over 5,600 community members.



L to R: Foundation Board Chair Todd Pearson, Vantage West CU President & CEO Robert D. Ramirez, MWCUA President & CEO Scott Earl

Vantage West Credit Union (AZ) – Credit Union of the Year Award (Over $500M Assets). This award recognizes a credit union for innovation and outstanding achievements in the various areas of day-to-day operations, financial prowess, and member service. Vantage West Credit Union has been serving the community for over 70 years. They have an expansive Hispanic initiative which gained the Juntos Avanzamos designation, and has become a leader in serving this market. Vantage West Credit Union joined with local law enforcement to fight skimming at gas pumps. Through their efforts, more than 80 skimming devices were removed with fraud claims declining from 54 a month to 3, preventing over half a million dollars in claims.


Todd Pearson, Angel Phillips, Scott Earl

Angel Phillips, Reliant Federal Credit Union (WY), Emerging Leader Award. The emerging leader award is presented to a credit union employee who demonstrates outstanding contributions to the credit union movement, community service and leadership qualities. Phillips has been a part of the movement for nearly a decade and is a graduate of the Mountain West Credit Union Leadership Institute, a Credit Union Development Educator, and a scholar of the Foundation’s Executive Leadership Program. She has established a financial literacy program for their credit union and local school district. Additionally, she created a service-oriented mentoring program for credit union staff and recently took on a new role as Manager of Member Service.

Todd Pearson, Mike Williams, Scott Earl

Mike Williams, Colorado Credit Union – Distinguished Leader Award. Williams has been dedicated to the credit union movement for 30 years. He is a credit union activist, spending more than 15 years attending the Government Affairs Conference and Hike the Hill initiatives while working to build relationships with state elected officials and communicating credit union issues. Williams has served by providing leadership on numerous Association, CUNA, and CUSO boards. This included being a part of the team that merged the Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming leagues into the Mountain West Credit Union Association.

About the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation

The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation is the charitable organization focused on the long-term success of credit unions in their community.  We accomplish our work through leadership development, professional development scholarships, academic scholarships, affordable financial services grants, credit union development grants and public financial education grants.

More information about the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation can be found at

Patti Hazlett,


Mountain West Credit Union Foundation Seeks Your Support for Hurricane Harvey Victims

The Chairman of Mountain West Credit Union Foundation, Todd Pearson, has authorized a donation to in the amount of $10,000 to assist the credit union victims who have experienced devastating loss caused by Hurricane Harvey.  We here at the Foundation know that the need is very high and hope that you might also consider giving, too. To donate now click here.

Gary Plank Scholars Selected

Meet the 2017 Gary Plank Scholars
Each year the Foundation awards four $5,000 scholarships. Three to credit union young professionals under age 35, and one to a deserving Development Educator to attend the World Council of Credit Union’s meeting.  Scholars are selected based on their overall contribution to their credit unions, their communities, and the credit union movement.  The scholarship was named after Mr. Gary Plank, a former Arizona League President and Chair of the World Council. This year the meeting will be held in Vienna Austria in late July.  Congratulations to the 2017 Gary Plank Scholars


Karen Nadal the Development Educator Scholarship recipient.   Karen, a branch manager at Pyramid Federal Credit Union, has been with the credit union for 15 years.  Karen is a project leader at her credit union and has coordinated a Reality Fair designed to help young students learn about managing personal finance, leading Children’s Miracle Network fundraisers, and spear-heading a “Be Safe Saturday” event designed to promote children’s safety and wellness.  Karen is also a champion of the cooperative business model, always striving to ensure her team knows how credit unions work and how they are different from just another financial institution.   In addition to her work as a credit union professional, Karen is a grandmother, a gardener and cook.

Alex Pinuelas, a credit union young professional, has been with Pyramid Federal Credit Union for more than 4 years.  Alex has progressed in rank and responsibility quickly at the credit union and now holds a key position in indirect lending.  He is a good relationship builder and works hard so that local car dealerships keep Pyramid credit union and their members top of mind.  Alex participates in community fundraisers and volunteers to teach personal finance at the local high school.


Tara Roether, a credit union young professional, has only been with Landings Credit Union for a short time, but she has made a big impression.  Since she started as a graphic designer and a digital marketer, she has increased the credit union’s social media followers by 75%, created new ways to reformat the credit union’s newsletter, and created video aids for sales and promotions.  Tara has coordinated the credit union’s International Credit Union Day activities and was a ‘crasher’ at the 2017 Government Affairs Conference in Washington D.C.   Tara is a local school volunteer and a Credit Union Young Professionals participant.


Tyler Valentine, a credit union young professional, is President/CEO of Laramie Plains Federal Credit Union and is responsible for day-to-day operations, strategic direction, board relations, and senior leadership development.  Tyler serves on several boards including the past chair of the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance, Treasurer of the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation, and committee chair of the Mountain West Credit Union Association’s Young Professionals Committee.  Tyler is also a champion of the cooperative business model and his commitment to the model, is demonstrated by ensuring that young credit union professionals are educated and immersed in the People helping People philosophy. Additionally, he has earned his Development Educator designation from the National Credit Union Foundation.





Colorado Sister Society of Global Women’s Leadership Network hosts Reality Fair

Recently, The Colorado Sister Society of the Global Women’s Leadership Network, a World Council of Credit Unions initiative, held a CU4 Reality Financial Education Program, developed by America’s Credit Union Museum, to provide financial education training to approximately 50 high school students.  These students are from low income families, immigrant households and some have special education needs. Several of these students will be the first in their families to attend college.  The CU4 Reality program turns learning into reality for these students, with classroom instruction followed by a hands-on financial reality fair, where students visit booths making lifestyle choices and developing a monthly spending plan.

The program was made possible with funding through a grant from the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation, as well as funding from Westerra Credit Union.

Student comments included:

  • I learned that reality is more realistic than what it seems. It is a huge eye opener to see how expensive stuff is.
  • I learned that there are way more expenses than I had imagined.
  • It gives me a better understanding of what is a need and a want.
  • It will definitely change the way I spend. I will be spending less and save more.

The program included students from South High School in Denver, Colorado.

Meet the 2017 Brayman-Beach Scholar


We are so pleased to introduce you to Max Martinez, a senior at Widefield High School and this year’s recipient of the Brayman-Beach Scholarship. The Brayman-Beach Scholarship was created to support our local communities through investing in young leaders. Named in honor of two visionary leaders in the credit union movement, Susan J. Brayman and Carroll D. Beach, one $5,000 scholarship is awarded annually to an up-and-coming credit union member who is interested in pursuing a business degree. The scholarship recipient is selected by the Foundation’s Board of Directors based on grades, financial need, community service, professional goals, extracurricular activities and an essay written by the applicant.  Max is a member of Ent Credit Union and will graduate this year with a GPA of 4.4. 

Max is already a highly accomplish sportsman and leader.  He serves as Secretary of his Senior Class at Widefield High School and has served as Vice President of both his Junior and Sophomore Class Council.  Max was nominated for the National Young Leadership Conference, Varsity Runner and Captain for the Cross Country and Track 4 years in a row.  A member of the National Honor Society, Max is also a track champion winning 1st place Regional Title Cross Country 2015, 2016 team and individual awards and nominated for Athlete of the week by KOAA channel 5.  Max also gives back to his community logging 57 community service hours, a volunteer at Harvest of Love delivering food baskets, a volunteer for the Community Parade, and Make a Wish Campaign.  Max plans on attending Colorado State University this fall.   



Congratulations to the 2017 Executive Leadership Scholars

 The Executive Leadership program is a five-year journey during which scholars are taught leadership skills, operational principles, and credit union philosophy while being mentored an experienced executive coach. Applicants are selected using a comprehensive process including application submission, letters of recommendation, leadership skills assessments, and panel interviews. Meet this year’s scholars [READ MORE]