Announcing the GAC Scholarship Recipients!
by Jay Kruse
Chief Advocacy Officer

CUAD, along with the South Dakota and North Dakota Government Affairs Committees, is very pleased to announce that three Dakota credit union professionals have each been awarded scholarships to attend the CUNA GAC February 23 – 27 in Washington, DC. Those receiving $1,000 scholarships from the ND GAC include Steve DeLap, CEO VUE Community CU, and Veronica Holweger, CEO Riverfork FCU. Also receiving a $1,000 scholarship from the SD GAC is Joey Rotert, Chairman of the SD GAC and Marketing & Business Development Manager at Sioux Falls FCU.


Photos above L to R: Steve DeLap; Veronica Holweger; Joey Rotert. 


In addition, each year, the Filene Research Institute’s Cooperative Trust selects exceptional and upcoming young leaders in the credit union movement to appear as “Crashers” at the CUNA GAC. This year’s Dakotas’ Crashers haven’t been announced yet, but will be via The Memo in the near future. In addition to being chosen to represent the Dakotas in this select group, these Crashers will also receive a $500 scholarship from their respective state’s Government Affairs Committee.


Applicants for the GAC Scholarships are judged individually on grassroots and political affairs participation, and scholarships are awarded based on need and credit union asset size with preference generally given to those who have never attended a CUNA GAC Conference. Funds for the GAC Scholarships are generated each year with the annual CUAD Irish Auction event held at the Annual Summit each year, and with support and donations provided by our CUAD members.


The Crasher program along with our GAC Scholarships provide a great opportunity for those new to the credit union movement or those that have been around for years to experience credit union advocacy first hand in our nation’s capital. It is a primary goal of our Governmental Affairs Committees in both states to get more people involved in our advocacy efforts, and scholarships like these help to make attending our industry’s premier conference a reality. The more constituents we can get in front of our lawmakers, the more effective our grassroots advocacy efforts become!


Jeff Olson, CUAD President/CEO stated, “The scholarships that our Governmental Affairs Committees provide are one more way that our organization demonstrates to our members our sincere commitment to credit union advocacy. As an organization, CUAD’s advocacy efforts are first and foremost, and the ongoing commitment to providing these scholarships is evidence of the support that we have for those efforts throughout the Dakotas.”


The GAC Scholarships were initiated by both the South Dakota and North Dakota Governmental Affairs Committees in 2009 to cultivate, promote, and energize credit union professionals and members in the grassroots advocacy process. Since then, a total of $55,000 has been awarded to 77 affiliated credit union professionals. The scholarships are open to all CUAD affiliated credit union executives, staff, and volunteer members, and the award helps cover expenses to attend the largest annual credit union conference of the year.


During the conference, more than 5,000 credit union people from all across the country come together to hear from influential legislators, policymakers, and credit union experts. Attendees from the Dakotas will have the opportunity to meet their elected representatives face-to-face during Hike the Hill visits, and to network with industry leaders and game-changers. It’s not too late to register and join your peers in attending this year’s CUNA GAC! Learn more about the upcoming CUNA GAC here.


If you have questions, concerns, or feedback regarding these or any other advocacy issues, please do not hesitate to contact me. Have a great week!


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