Why I Donate

Eric Dillon, CEO, Conexus Credit Union

How did you first get involved with CDF?
My first involvement with CDF was through the Women’s Mentorship Program at a host credit union.

Why did you choose to give to CDF?
In Canada, we are very fortunate to have strong and robust co-operatives. These co-operatives form the backbone of many communities throughout Canada. In my experience in the credit union system, I have seen and experienced firsthand the great work that CDF does to build co-operatives and communities in other parts of the world and I wanted to personally help with that development. CDF provides the tools for self-sustainability and is making a difference in helping to alleviate poverty. I know from my experiences that it is working and CDF does make a difference. 

What type of donation do you make to CDF (ex: monthly gift, planned giving,
campaign pledge) and why should others give this way?
I make an annual gift to CDF in addition to some specific requests for funding such as the recent typhoon in the Philippines. For me, I find that it is easier to plan my giving in this way and still allows me the opportunity to help with specific requests where the need might be more urgent.  

What is your first memory of the work that CDF does?
My first memory of the work that CDF does was attending an international credit union event and meeting a credit union professional from Malawi, Africa. As a credit union professional from Canada, he thanked me for all of our help in building credit unions in his country. Although I had not helped personally at that point, I recall the sense of pride I felt for the contribution (financial and volunteer resources) that we had made as a system to helping them build better credit unions. I will always remember the sense of true appreciation that he conveyed that evening.

What impact do you feel your donation to CDF is creating?
I know that my funds are helping CDF make a difference. I recently had the opportunity to travel to Cambodia and saw the great work that CDF is doing in that country. I met several members of newly organized credit unions that were climbing out of poverty with the assistance from their credit union. While the credit unions were only just beginning, I know from my own experience the foundation that has been created and the legacy that is now being built for the people of Cambodia.  I also had the opportunity to visit with the creators of a co-operative micro insurance network. This organization is now providing basic medical insurance to people from several countries in Southeast Asia. With basic medical needs now being met, the members now have a better opportunity to create a more promising future for their families. It was incredible to see those impacts in real time.

When you last made a donation to CDF, how did that make you feel?
Given my experiences traveling with CDF, I knew that my last donation would help in providing more assistance to emerging credit unions or another bed in the hospitals funded by the micro insurance network. What a great way to put a donation to good use and feel like you can personally make a difference in the lives of other human beings.

What do you wish other people knew about CDF?
I wish others had the opportunity to see the outcomes of the work that CDF does in other countries. I appreciate that not everyone can be “on the ground” in a developing country to see the work being done in real time. But for me, the experience was a career highlight and I know that the contributions from those in Canada are being used effectively to help people climb out of poverty. For some of the new credit union members that I met, it may have been the first time in their lives that they felt real optimism for what lies ahead for them and their families. It was a very powerful feeling.

What's your personal philosophy on what should be done about international development?
My personal philosophy is that we need to help people that are interested in helping themselves. I think the way CDF is organized with system to system collaboration and assistance is representative of that thinking. We have an emerging co-operative system that is being built by people from that country for people in that country and all they need is a little help financially and technically to make it happen.

When your friends or family find out that you donate to CDF, what do they say or ask?
My friends and family don’t usually ask which causes I support. They do know about my trip to Cambodia with CDF and the inspiration that it created within me. 

What would you tell someone who is thinking about donating to CDF?
Take the time to learn and understand the impact that CDF makes around the world. Learn about the success stories and talk to those that have participated in the work that CDF does. CDF has a remarkable story to tell and a mission that is worth supporting.