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Two Gary Gillam Award winners announced by Central 1 and Alterna Savings

VANCOUVER – Two women who are leaders in the credit union system were honoured with Gary Gillam Awards on Friday, April 28 during Central 1 Credit Union’s annual conference in Vancouver.

Jill Kelly, a founding board member and former CEO of CCEC Credit Union in Vancouver, won in the volunteer category, while Catherine Ludgate, Manager, Community Investment, at Vancity won in the staff category.

The Gary Gillam Awards, jointly sponsored by Alterna Savings and Central 1 Credit Union (Central 1), honour individuals in the Ontario and British Columbia credit union movement who demonstrate exemplary achievements in:

  • Promoting social responsibility and/or sustainability in credit unions and/or
  • Promoting credit unions as a socially responsible investment alternative.

Up to two awards may be presented each year. Recipients receive $2,500 to be donated on their behalf to a charity, organization, or project of their choice.

“We were thrilled to have two exceptional nominees for this important award this year,” said Ken Chan, a director of Alterna Savings and chair of the Gillam awards committee.  “The work Gary did promoting social responsibility was important and we are pleased to work with Central 1 to keep his memory alive and encourage others to follow his lead.”

“Jill Kelly has been a pioneer in the credit union and co-operative sectors for 40 years -- and she's not done yet,” said Rob Paterson, CEO of Alterna Savings. “Jill is a fierce promoter of co-operatives, a champion of people who are marginalized in society, and a tenacious pursuer of solutions to socio-economic inequality.”

Catherine Ludgate received her award for pioneering two major initiatives at Vancity and subsequently to the entire credit union system.

“The first initiative was her pursuit of Vancity's adoption of a Living Wage policy,” said Rick Hoevenaars, chair of Central 1. “Through her efforts, Vancity became the third credit union in B.C. to adopt a Living Wage and by far the largest credit union to do so.
The second initiative is the Each One Teach One Financial Literacy program that has now expanded to credit unions across the country.”

Kelly donated $1,250 to the Co-operative Development Foundation and $1,250 to Groundswell Education Society, which provides training and incubation for community-based businesses.

Ludgate donated $1,250 to the Living Wage for Families Campaign and $1,250 to Aboriginal Front Door.

About Gary Gillam

The Gary Gillam Award was established to honour the memory and work of Gary H. Gillam. Gary was the Director, Legal, Governmental Affairs and Administration, at Credit Union Central of Ontario (now Central 1) from 1982 to 1988.

In 1988, Gary became CEO of Unicoll Credit Union (now Alterna Savings), where he worked until illness forced his resignation in 1993.

Gary Gillam was one of the leading advocates for social responsibility in the credit union system, long before it became popular within organizations. He vigorously promoted the concept of social investment, calling on credit unions and their centrals to use social as well as financial criteria for their investment portfolios. He supported the development of community loan funds to assist socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. At CUCO and his own credit union, he initiated social audits to measure the social performance of the organization, as a complementary process to the financial audit.

The Gary Gillam Award was established in 1996 and is awarded annually.

About Central 1

With offices in Vancouver, Mississauga and Toronto, Central 1 holds on balance sheet approximately $17.3 billion in assets. We provide wholesale financial products, trust services, payment processing solutions and direct banking services to almost 300 credit unions and institutional clients from coast to coast.

In addition, Central 1 is the primary liquidity manager, payments provider and trade association for our 42 member credit unions in B.C. and 70 Ontario member credit unions. Our members represent a consumer-oriented, full-service retail financial system that collectively serves 3.3 million members and holds more than $116.8 billion in assets. For more information, visit

About Alterna Savings

For more than 100 years, Alterna Savings and Credit Union Limited has been charting new directions to help Ontarians achieve their financial dreams and build strong, vibrant communities. The first full-service, member-owned co-operative financial institution outside Quebec, Alterna Savings shares our expertise with more than 143,000 members. Holding over $5.2 billion in assets under administration, we offer a full suite of financial services online, by phone, by mobile and through a network of 35 branches across Ontario, including our partners Peterborough Community Savings, and Nexus Community Savings, both divisions of Alterna Savings and Credit Union Ltd. Alterna Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alterna Savings, and offers innovative, online financial services to all Canadians. Alterna Savings members also have access to the 2nd largest surcharge free ATM network in Canada with THE EXCHANGE® Network. For more information please visit

For further information, please contact:

Dorothy Watson
Regional Development Director
Central 1 | 905.282.8525

Art Chamberlain
Media Relations Manager
Central 1 I 905.282.8534

Alison Boughey
Communications Manager
Alterna | 613.560.0150 ext.6988