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Change·Community Development

The Cooperative Trust

We’re floored to announce the next step in this community: The Cooperative Trust.

A Wild Ride

When Brent started things up in February 2010 with The Crash Network, it began as an experiment. As many of you know, we’ve moved far beyond just crashing that first conference. Over the last year people from our family have started organizations in their own states, rocked at Next Top Credit Union Exec, been promoted to CEO, showed up as Trailblazers 40 Below, been cited across industry pubs, rallied more and more people around our cause: the future.

After a year and a half of building this by figuring-it-out-as-we-go, we can safely call this a successful experiment. But now it’s time to take that experiment to the next level.  This next step is taking us from just testing things out to building our community into a sustainable organization. If Crash was the experiment, The Cooperative Trust is the result.

From Access to Action

A recent feature in the Credit Union Times did a great job explaining the progress:

Two years ago, a group of young people who dubbed themselves the Crash Network pushed their way onto the credit union scene at CUNA’s GAC conference.

What started out as an experiment for those under 35 to become more engaged with the industry and making their voices heard has now evolved into the newly rebranded the Cooperative Trust.

“Crash was about showing up and gaining access, in whatever way we could, to the wealth of wisdom and growth opportunities in the movement. There was a lot more separation between youth and veterans in the industry. Now those boundaries, while not gone, are beginning to crack,” said Brent Dixon, who founded the Crash Network and serves as young adult adviser with the Filene Research Institute.

“The Cooperative Trust is about being change agents interwoven into the system. Working collectively as youth, tapping into the wisdom of veterans, and fully staking claim to the credit union movement because the reins will be in our hands in a few short years,” Dixon said.

CUNA Mutual Group and a Sustainable Future

A huge piece of this puzzle that we’re ecstatic to announce is a 3 year funding commitment from CUNA Mutual Group. In 2010, they saw a spark and financially supported us so we could throw 6 state Crash events (Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Louisiana & California/Nevada). When we told them about the next level of The Crash Network, they were first in line for giving us seed money to help us keep moving.

Bob Trunzo, Chief Operating Officer, CUNA Mutual Group explains why:

Supporting and mentoring young professionals is key not only to their success but the credit union movement’s success as well. The Cooperative Trust has the potential to make a real difference in the credit union communities it touches.

As Bob alludes to, their support goes beyond just helping us keep the lights on.  CUNA Mutual employees will also be involved by mentoring community members, speaking at meet-ups and helping to evaluate member projects.  This mutually beneficial relationship will also include community involvement and advisement on products and market development topics for CUNA Mutual Group.

The key to sustainability means the community will self-fund. Once we launch the new site, on January 25th, there will be an annual fee (around $100) for each member of the community.  CUNA Mutual Group’s support, along with membership fees, will allow The Cooperative Trust to develop into a self-sustaining model after 3 years.

While our community was established around a Crash (event), we are shifting from just merely showing up and gaining access to taking action and getting things done. Meetups, whether local, state or national, are intended to be a kickoff and not the finale. We’ll still use events to get wheels in motion and to focus on our main goals:

  • designing an online community for connecting like-minded members
  • offering mentorship opportunities between members and experienced professionals
  • building opportunities for growth and development through actions

The Next Steps

We have a lot planned for this community in 2012: new members, new mentors, new programs, another Collider, and somewhere between 5 and 10 events, among other things. We owe much to everyone who has helped us along the way,  we can’t even begin to express how grateful we are for your support. I hope you’re as excited about the future of the credit union movement as we are.

Leave a Comment


  1. Congratulations on the rebrand and launch. Looks (plus smells and feels) awesome. Onward and upward.

  2. Thanks Tim!

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