CUNA created the Desjardins program to recognize leadership within the credit union movement on behalf of financial literacy for all ages. Naming the award after Alphonse Desjardins emphasizes the movement's long-time commitment to youth. Besides founding the first credit unions in Canada and the U.S., Desjardins pioneered youth savings clubs and in-school "banks," known as caisses scolaires.
The recognition program considers all activities supporting the personal finance education of members and non-members, including, but not limited to, face-to-face teaching using proprietary materials and curricula, such as the NEFE High School Financial Planning Program® (HSFPP), as well as financial literacy leadership efforts.
The prestigious award was named after early credit union pioneer Dora Maxwell, one of the original delegates who established the Credit Union National Association. Dora Maxwell worked tirelessly in developing volunteer clubs and organizations on behalf of the poor.
The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award is given to a credit union or chapter/multiple credit union group for its social responsibility projects within the community. The award is given for external activities.
Credit unions could receive the award for involvement in almost any kind of activity that helps other people or strengthens the structure of a community. This may include raising funds for charity, educational activities, or community involvement projects, such as a volunteer fair, building low-income housing, or loaning employees a few hours a week to work in hospitals, retirement homes, schools, etc.
Louise Herring was an active supporter, organizer, and champion of credit unions. She was the Ohio delegate to the 1934 national credit union conference in Estes Park, CO where she signed the original constitution for a national credit union association. Louise believed that credit unions should work in a practical manner to better people's lives.
The Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award is given to a credit union for its practical application of credit union philosophy within the actual operation of the credit union. It is awarded for internal programs and services that benefit membership.
Credit unions could receive the award for programs or policies that demonstrate their commitment to the practical application of the "People-Helping-People" philosophy.