AGM celebrates the co-operative spirit

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
May 3rd, 2012

Locally grown, made, owned and invested were the themes at the credit union’s general meeting last week celebrating the International Year of Co-operatives.

Last year the Grand Forks Credit Union (GFCU) earned just under $2 million, explained board director Suzanne Schroeder during their report to members. Of that sum, nearly $1 million was given back to their members in dividends.

“This resulted in more than $800,000 in cash returned to you, our members,” said Schroeder. “Since 1990 the credit union has distributed approximately $10 million cash back to our members, reducing the cost of borrowing, and increasing the returns on deposits.”

Giving back in other ways is also part of the credit union’s philosophy and this year they announced another $100,000 donation to the Grand Forks Credit Union Community Endowment Fund managed for them by the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities.

“Our Foundation is a success story in itself. More than $300,000 has been distributed in grants across the Boundary from Christina Lake to Beaverdell and more than $1.5 million are in the endowments thanks in part to more than $400,000 donated by the credit union,” said board chair Michael Strukoff. “As part of our ongoing commitment to Grand Forks and the Boundary, tonight we are very pleased to make another contribution.”

Highlighting the Kettle Valley Food Co-operative and their partnership in the Phoenix Foundation, the GFCU hosted their 63rd annual meeting at the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ community centre on Thursday, Apr. 26.

As part of the celebration, members of the KVFC were on site giving the chance to sample the local region’s food, coffee, and even locally produced items like soap and fertilizers.

The Phoenix Foundation was also on hand to talk with GFCU members about their work throughout the region in giving grants from their endowment funds’ earnings.

GFCU director Roly Russell talked to the audience about reasons why co-operatives are important options for corporate structures.

“Co-ops fit their communities. They’re governed, they’re owned, within their communities,” said Russell. “So co-ops care about the community and they care about other co-ops which make them a stronger business model.”

Lastly, there were prizes for members in the form of KVFC memberships, Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce membership, conference registration for the upcoming B.C. Rural Summit being hosted in Grand Forks, and the crowd favourites: cash prizes.

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