Donor Spotlight – Interview with Barry Delany, Salmon Arm Savings & Credit Union (SASCU)
When it comes to supporting CDF Canada, Barry Delany has done it all. Over the past 15+ years, he’s been a corporate credit union and personal donor, fundraiser, speaker, overseas volunteer, and even a Board member. Yes, you could say he’s done it all! And, still doing it. His journey over the past decade and a half have been remarkable. He also played a key role in having his credit union (Salmon Arm Savings & Credit Union, SASCU) agree that when it came to international philanthropy, CDF Canada would be their charity of choice. And he believes others in the sector should follow suit. Why? Read on to see what CDF Canada means to him.
It’s our co-operative advantage and differentiator vs the banks!
“Before we (SASCU) started giving to CDF Canada, we reassessed our Board Corporate Social Responsibility policy,” recalls Barry. “We discussed whether we should give locally or internationally and landed on the position that we should do both.” Our Board really wanted to give $1 per member of the credit union to CDF Canada each year,” and while this wasn’t something the relatively small credit union could afford to do annually, they agreed that they could achieve something close through a multi-year pledge. Something they continue to do today, and with the Canadian government’s pledge matching, “It creates enormous impact and was just the right thing to do,” according to Barry.
We should probably add CDF Canada “Champion” to the many ways Barry has been supporting us over the years. As a CEO himself, he once organized a group of CEOs to see firsthand the impact CDF Canada makes on the ground in Cambodia, walking away with pledges beyond his expectation, the result of people seeing the impact with their own eyes. “I have said to many credit unions that if you want to do something overseas, your/our Charity of Choice should be CDF Canada,” he tells others. “There is no one else.” Barry understands that by supporting CDF Canada, Canadian credit unions are able to express a meaningful difference between themselves and their competitors – the banks! “It showcases our co-operative values,” exclaimed Barry. “It’s an example of our uniqueness as a business.”
Program support was next!
Once SASCU had their multi-year pledge underway through financial contributions, they turned their attention to some of CDF Canada’s programs, such as the Women’s Mentorship Program (WMP) and other technical assignments, as a way to bring Canadian expertise into developing countries. And it was on such an assignment that Barry shared one of his most memorable and emotional experiences. “I was in Malawi on a technical assignment and met a man,” recalls Barry. The man was a member of the sole credit union branch in his village, which enabled him to buy a sewing machine. He told Barry that this simple sewing machine changed his life. He was able to go house-to-house and perform repairs, which allowed him to purchase a house, send his kids to school, and pay for medical expenses for his parents. Something many of us here in Canada takes for granted. “He said it was life-changing,” Barry told us, with this kind of impact being one of the primary reasons Barry is so committed to CDF.
“When I first learned about how CDF Canada was helping to alleviate poverty internationally, using the co-op model, I was inspired,” Barry recounts, speaking about two of the seven co-op principles in particular – education and sharing. “The principles are so visible on the ground overseas, through the WMP and technical assignments,” both of which Barry has had the privilege of participating in, to help create more self-reliant and resilient communities.