The Gary Gillam Award

The Gary Gillam Award for social responsibility, jointly sponsored by Alterna Savings and Central 1, recognizes and honours individuals within the Ontario and British Columbia credit union system.

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.

Nomination Criteria
Nominations are limited to those who have taken credit unions beyond traditional philanthropy and good corporate citizenship.

Achievements may relate to:

• Credit union projects, programs, services or policies addressing one particularly pressing social, environmental, sustainability and/or economic problem in a local community where other agencies or financial institutions have not been willing or able to help; or

• Using a credit union to promote community self-help projects or to work with under-served individuals or groups; or

• A focus on the use of credit unions for providing sustainability/socially responsible investments, banking programs, products and services to members and communities.

All nominees must be a credit union member and a current or past director, volunteer, manager or employee.

When completing the nomination form, please describe how your nominee met, or meets, one or more of the above mentioned criteria. Please provide as much detailed information as you can.

Alterna Savings and Credit Union Limited (Alterna) has been the good in banking™ for
116 years and, based on assets under management, is one of Canada's Top 10 credit unions (CCUA, 2021). Alterna is made up of Alterna Savings and Credit Union Limited and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Alterna Bank. Together, we have $10 billion in assets under management.

As the first full-service, member-owned co-operative financial institution outside Quebec, Alterna Savings shares its expertise with more than 184,000 members through a network of 43 branches across Ontario, that includes partner Peterborough Community Savings; as well as call centre and digital channels. Members and customers also benefit from an industry-leading online brokerage, investment management services, and have access to over 43,000 surcharge-free ATMs in North America with THE EXCHANGE Network in Canada and the Allpoint Network in the US.

Central 1 cooperatively empowers credit unions and other financial institutions who deliver banking choice to Canadians. With assets of $10.9 billion as of September 30, 2023, Central 1 provides critical services at scale to enable a thriving credit union system. We do this by collaborating with our clients, developing strategies, products, and services to support the financial well-being of their more than five million diverse customers in communities across Canada. For more information, visit

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