2022 Annie Vamper Helping Hands Award Winners Announced
For Immediate Release
New York, NY (April 4, 2022) - Coming back strong after a two-year hiatus, Inclusiv is excited to award three Annie Vamper Helping Hands Awards at the 2022 Inclusiv Conference in San Juan, PR. This year's awardees are Gregg Brown, President and CEO, South Side Community Federal Credit Union; Judy De Lucca, CEO, New Orleans Firemen’s Federal Credit Union; and Maria J. Martinez, President and CEO, Border Federal Credit Union. The award recognizes individuals who are making extraordinary contributions to the community development credit union (CDCU) movement and is named for Annie Vamper, who dedicated her life to serving low- and moderate-income people through credit unions. Inclusiv is delighted to once again honor the legacy of Annie Vamper through these three incredible community development credit union trailblazers.
With over 39 years of community banking experience, under Gregg Brown's leadership, South Side Community FCU has grown to over $7.2 million in assets serving close to 2,000 members. The credit union has trained over 4,000 people in its free financial education classes, provided 3,600 people with one-on-one housing and credit counseling, and has helped hundreds to become homeowners. The credit union has also saved over 1,500 families from losing their homes to foreclosure.
"CDCUs play a vital role in shrinking the U.S wealth gap, with serving the underserved and marginalized being central to their core mission. They offer affordable financial services, education, one-on-one counseling and access to capital that is administered with a spirit of care. By improving the quality of life of those whom they were chartered to serve, they create a track record of service-oriented success that fills the wealth gap with equity and economic opportunities. Let us work together to accelerate their growth because at the end of the day it's just people helping people," said Brown.
Since becoming CEO in 1980, Judy De Lucca of New Orleans Firemen’s FCU has been recognized as Best Credit Union in CityBusiness Reader Ranking Awards numerous times. When Judy joined the credit union, it had $3 million in assets with saving accounts and simple loans. Today, it is a $243 million full-service financial institution serving over 27,000 members and more than 300 business partners across Louisiana and Mississippi.
"This recognition reminds us of why we do what we do and the impact we have on people’s lives. Too often, we see mainstream finance and predatory lending take advantage of our communities, leaving them worse than when they found them. These communities are made of people, each with a story and each deserving of time and respect. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve these communities and share the skills with them to achieve financial empowerment. What we do today matters tomorrow, and our team strives to pave the way for a better tomorrow," said De Lucca.
Under Maria Martinez's leadership, Border FCU in Del Rio, TX expanded its field of membership from 3 to 13 Texas counties; obtained the Community Development Financial Institution certification (CDFI); implemented a free home/financial counseling program available to members, military personnel and non-members; offers free income tax preparation to low-income tax payers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, and targets youth through programs such as an annual youth fair and an annual youth financial summer camp.
"Community development and serving others are important parts of my personal and professional growth. It is important to structure our financial services, and serve on boards and committees to learn from others and be of service. Our purpose should be to do good to others; it is a great investment that gives you unexpected returns! If we have the heart, we will pursue bold solutions, develop leaders in our industry and promote the 'people helping people' philosophy. Why not measure our success on the difference we can make and how we can inspire others to be of service!" said Maria J. Martinez.
"A focus on serving the underserved is an opportunity for our industry to advance economic justice and human dignity for the people and communities community development credit unions serve," said Cathie Mahon, Inclusiv President and CEO. "It is our honor to work with these diverse awardees whose commitment to financial inclusion is an inspiration to our movement."
Communications Officer, Inclusiv