CU news from CU of America, Emporia State FCU and St. Louis Chapter

Published 5.3.22

Credit unions in our region continue supporting their communities and each other. Credit Union of America (Wichita, KS) recently awarded $60,000 in scholarships to six high school students. Emporia State Federal Credit Union (Emporia, KS) was recognized for its outstanding contributions to the community, the state’s economy, and the people of Kansas. The St. Louis Chapter of Credit Unions held its annual leadership breakfast, which connected credit union professionals in the St. Louis area.  

Credit Union of America awards $60,000 for new scholarship recipients and student work program 

A project stemming from Credit Union of America’s (CUA) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team and a partnership with WPS East High School, has resulted in six East High USD 259 students each receiving a 4-year, CUA LEAP (Learn, Earn and Progress) scholarship for $2,500 per year for four years, for a total of $10,000 towards their undergraduate degree. CUA plans to select a new group of students each year to start receiving the 4-year scholarships.

The students were interviewed for CUA’s work study program, where high school seniors are selected by the CUA team to work full-time at CUA during the summer following their high school graduation and either full or part-time during their college semesters. LEAP recipients must remain employed at CUA, enrolled in a Wichita-area college, and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to qualify for the subsequent years’ scholarship installments.

“Our LEAP scholarship and work program continues the legacy of Credit Union of America’s rich history in education. Our founding father, John Michener, a science teacher at East High School, rallied a group of Wichita teachers in 1935 to start CUA.” said Gina Evans, CUA vice president of employee experience. “We’re thrilled to offer these opportunities to groups of students that have limited opportunities. We want to be part of changing that, opening up opportunities for all students. Our hope is that the financial assistance will make achieving their college degree easier and that the work experience will better prepare them for their careers. Careers that many, hopefully, will choose to live out at CUA.”

Congratulations to the following 2022 CUA LEAP Scholarship Inductees:

  •  Maria Allen
  • Plamedie Mangondo
  • Jennie Nguyen
  • Carlos Robles
  • Huy Tran
  • Vichra Vorn

four adults and six high school students stand in front of college building

Pictured with recipients are Lea Ann Gabbert, CUA chief administrative officer (far left); Sara Richardson, principal of East High School (second from left); Bradley Dyer, Jr., CUA business development officer (second from right); and Brian Isham, CUA AVP - culture (far right)

Emporia State Federal Credit Union named a 2021 To the Stars award recipient

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly noted that Emporia State Federal Credit Union received this honor in recognition of their “outstanding contributions to the community, the state’s economy, and the people of Kansas.” Governor Kelly also stated that ESFCU’s resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated tenacity and that Kansans will continue to “reach to the stars.” 

Bill Huth, VP of lending, and Joni Vaughn, VP of operations, accepted the award on behalf of ESFCU at the Kansas Department of Commerce Business Appreciation Month (BAM) Southeast Region Spring Award Luncheon in Parsons, KS on April 20th, 2022. 

Joni stated the “service is definitely one of the things the credit union is passionate about… we love being able to help our community.” Hearing from other successful businesses across Kansas was a bonus for Joni as well. Bill enjoyed his overall experience and said that “when you are not looking for recognition and you are recognized it is so sweet.  A special thank you to everyone that made this possible at the State and local levels.” 

Bill and Joni wanted to give an extra shout out to Dr. Caron Daugherty, President of FHTC. Dr. Daugherty nominated ESFCU for the award, and this recognition would not have been possible without her. 

Dr. Daugherty said, “Flint Hills Technical College is reduced to a building on the corner without its employees, students, and community partners. Whenever the College has the chance to celebrate any of those stakeholders and constituents, it’s critical for us to take the opportunity to share our gratitude beyond what a verbal thank you can express. This Department of Commerce “To The Stars: Celebrating Kansas Businesses” announcement in the Fall 2021 was a great opportunity for the College to show Emporia State Federal Credit Union leadership how much we value our community partnerships and ESFCU’s support of the College’s monthly “Tech Talk” segment on KVOE. We recognize our partners have choices in how they affiliate their name and reputation. We are honored to have ESFCU’s support and look forward to the partnership’s continued success.”


two women stand with one man in front of wall of blue fabric with Kansas logo

Pictured from left: Joni Vaughn, ESFCU VP of operations; Dr. Caron Daugherty, president/CEO FHTC; and Bill Huth, ESFCU VP of lending

Credit union leaders and partners connect for the STL Chapter's Leadership Breakfast

The St. Louis Chapter of Credit Unions held its leadership breakfast on Tuesday, April 26, at Spazio's Westport. The event offered nearly 80 credit union leaders and partners an opportunity to network and connect on a key issue currently facing the industry – cryptocurrency.

Guest speaker Dan Peters, of SmithAmundsen, LLC, spoke on the complexities of Blockchain technology and the underpinning of cryptocurrency, offering a working understanding of the technology. He also provided a current review of the status and applicability of cryptocurrency in financial markets. Dan has represented businesses, business owners, and financial institutions for over 25 years. He's a graduate of St. Louis University Law School and has a degree in Finance.

The St. Louis Chapter of Credit Unions strives to keep the credit union spirit alive in the minds of members, staff, communities, and legislators. The chapter develops leaders, educates members, and engages elected officials through its cooperative efforts. Learn more about the chapter or how to get involved.


crowd of people sitting at tables in banquet hall. man at front of room speaks from podium.

Attendees of St. Louis Chapter breakfast learn more about cryptocurrency