2023 Awards Gala

Thank You for Joining Us!

The Carolinas Credit Union Foundation welcomed more than 300 attendees to its inspirational Annual Awards Gala on February 7, 2024. Coastal CU Chief Community Impact and Public Affairs Officer Creighton Blackwell returned as emcee to lead the evening’s recognition of Hero Award honorees and state-level winners. we would like to thank our many generous sponsors below for making this event possible!

2023 Gala Sponsors and Logos

2023 Hero Awards Honorees

Cathy Pace

Lifetime Achievement Award

Cathy Pace, President/CEO
Allegacy FCU

Over a 45-year career, Cathy Pace provided exceptional servant leadership and vision at Allegacy FCU and in the community. She was instrumental in the credit union’s name change in 2001 and the development of a comprehensive and distinctive brand for Allegacy. Rooted in the words Allegiance and Legacy, her leadership and vision helped transform Allegacy through the years, and established a culture of wellbeing for employees that helped define the rebranding effort and focused it on member and community wellbeing. Further, she has been recognized as among the Triad’s Most Admired CEOs, Triad’s Top 50 Most Influential People, Triad Power Player (multiple years), Women in Business, and Business Leader’s Women Extraordinaire. She was named as one of five Outstanding Women Leaders of Winston-Salem for 2020 as a result of her leadership and business achievements, and her exceptional mentoring to future women leaders in our community and the credit union.
Penny Pratt

Lifetime Achievement Award

Penny Pratt, President/CEO
Family Trust FCU

Penny Pratt has humbly demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities throughout her distinguished credit union career. President/CEO of Family Trust for seven years, she successfully navigated the organization through both prosperous and challenging times, including a global pandemic, bank closures, and economic instability. Her steady and unwavering leadership style ensured Family Trust’s continuing growth, strength, and reliability for members. Her leadership style has fostered a culture of unity, respect, excellence in service, and encourages self-development of employees in all areas. In addition, Penny is a two time recipient of the Rotarian of the Year Award in recognition of her service to the community.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Robert Wilson, Senior Leadership Advisor & Community Advocate
Spero Financial FCU

A 30-year credit union veteran, Robert Wilson joined the credit union movement as Comptroller for the Carolina Corporate Credit Union. He subsequently joined the former Anderson Federal Credit Union in 1997 as their Controller, becoming President/CEO in 1998 until 2021, when the credit union partnered with Spero Financial. His leadership at Anderson sparked the growth of the credit union and cemented its legacy as a valuable community resource. He expanded service to underserved communities, while leading the credit union as it more than doubled its assets during his CEO tenure. Robert has served on the South Carolina Credit Union League Board; served as Treasurer of South Carolina Credit Union Management Association (SCUMA); served on the Supervisory Committee of the First Carolina Corporate Credit Union; as well as on the Board of Directors of the Piedmont Chapter for Credit Unions (now Upstate Chapter).

Individual Achievement Award

Kelly Nix, Public Relations Coordinator

Kelly Nix centered community involvement, employee engagement and empowerment, and leadership by example during the re-branding of REV FCU. Kelly’s signature event is the annual REV Day for Good initiative. Each year during Indigenous People’s Day, REV closes its branches as employees open their hearts by volunteering in the community. Kelly created an opportunity for every REV employee, in both North and South Carolina, to come together and volunteer in a single day. In 2023, REV collectively donated over 1300+ hours, supporting 23 non-profits in communities in the Carolinas served by the credit union. Since transitioning to REV in 2020, REV staff have donated 5,494 Hours by supporting over 100 non-profits and community organizations. Over this same time, Kelly has personally supported the American Heart Association Lowcountry Heart Walk, MUSC Children’s Hospital, Happy Wheels, Meals on Wheels, and many more. She has logged 183 hours of her own time to help these organizations.
Group of Neighbors United FCU employees and honorees holding Juntos Avanzamos banner

Advancing Equity Award

Neighbors United FCU

Neighbors United has always sought to serve all people in the community, but understands that the true mission of a credit union is to not only reach the underserved, but hear their needs and create the products and services to equitably address those needs. Volunteerism and partnering with local nonprofits, as well as soliciting member feedback, has helped the credit union create relationships that facilitate honest and strong lines of communication in its seven-county service area in pursuit of its service goals. The results of these partnership efforts include the delivery of financial education in the community, having multiple certified financial counselors on staff to assist members, and the credit union’s service to the Hispanic community. Neighbors United recently earned the Juntos Avanzamos (“Together We Advance”) designation from Inclusiv, the first South Carolina credit union to earn the designation. Juntos Avanzamos is a prestigious designation granted to credit unions committed to assisting unbanked and underbanked populations, particularly within the Hispanic community while protecting them from predatory lending practices.

2023 CUNA State-Level Award Winners

Dora Maxwell Logo

The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award

$50 - 250 million in assets

Acclaim Federal Credit Union logo

1st – Acclaim Federal Credit Union
Community Connect – Empowering Communities through Food Security

South Carolina National Guard FCU

2nd – SC National Guard Federal Credit Union
Suicide Prevention Fundraiser

$250 Million – $1 Billion in Assets​

spero logo

1st – Spero Financial
Together, We’re Making an Impact

Telco Community Credit Union

2nd- Telco Community Credit Union
Telco Community Credit Union Charity Fund

Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union logo

Honorable Mention – Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union
Carolina Trust Zone Sponsor at the Myrtle Beach Bowl Game

More than $1 billion in assets

Truliant Federal Credit Union

1st – Truliant Federal Credit Union
Thanks For Giving Campaign

2nd – State Employees’ Credit Union
SECU Statewide Toy Drive

Honorable Mention – SRP Federal Credit Union
LLS Light the Night

The Louise Herring Philosophy In Action Member Service Award

The Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Member Service Award

$50 - 250 million in assets

1st – Civic Federal Credit Union
Values Based Sustainability Effort

$250 Million – $1 Billion in Assets​

spero logo

1st – Spero Financial
Bringing Financial Consultation Centers to Life

More than $1 billion in assets

Allegacy Logo

1st – Allegacy Federal Credit Union
Fostering a Culture of Belonging through Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

2nd – State Employees’ Federal Credit Union SECU Summer Camp Awards Program

Honorable Mention – Truliant Federal Credit Union
Veterans Recognition and Inclusion Project

Honorable Mention – SRP Federal Credit Union
Volunteer Revitalization Project

Desjardins Financial Education Awards logo

Desjardins Adult Financial Education Award

$50 - 250 million in assets

SPC Credit Union

1st – SPC Credit Union
Room to Grow Savings Challenge

2nd – Carolina Federal Credit Union
Personal Finance Education Program

$250 Million – $1 Billion in Assets​

Greenville Federal Credit Union logo

1st – Greenville Federal Credit Union
Empowering Women with Financial Literacy

More than $1 billion in assets

1st – SRP Federal Credit Union
A Personal Approach to Financial Literacy

Desjardins Financial Education Awards logo

Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award

$50 - 250 million in assets

Carolina Foothills Federal Credit Union - We move you forward.

1st – Carolina Foothills Federal Credit Union Promoting Economic Parity To Youth Of Color

$250 Million – $1 Billion in Assets​

spero logo

1st – Spero Financial
Kids & Money: Equipping Parents to Have the Talk

More than $1 billion in assets

Rev Logo

1st – REV Federal Credit Union
REV On Campus



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