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WASHINGTON – Gary Officer, executive director of the National Credit Union Foundation who resigned that office as of April 26, 2004, said the move was more about getting back to his roots than anything else. The 39-year old Officer also said that his departure was of his own accord and initiative. He served as the Foundation’s executive director from October 2001 until the end of April 2004. He said his tenure was “overwhelmingly positive.” The resignation caught many by surprise because the Foundation was growing at a fast clip and the organization announced his departure after the resignation’s official date. Officer explained that moving in another direction had actually been on his mind for some time. The staff was likely surprised by the announcement, Officer explained, but the board was aware that he was contemplating leaving. “As many know, I have a passion for working in community development and economic justice areas,” Officer explained. “I have been thinking about my career for a while and really want to get back into working more closely in that area.” Officer explained that the work he felt called to do is different from working with financial institutions which, in some ways, remain one step removed from the sort of work that drew him to community development work in the first place. “I decided that I could do the work I wanted to do better from outside the Foundation’s structure,” Officer said. He also emphasized that everyone should know that the Foundation’s board and staff were always very supportive. “Working for the Foundation was always a privilege,” Officer said, but added that in many ways the job had burned him out even though it was very satisfying. “It’s the kind of work which offered a lot of success but took a lot of input too,” he added. He said he had been approached by several organizations but that he had not made up his mind what specific direction to pursue. Since his tenure began in late 2001, Officer set about seeking to grow and refocus the organization, moving it from an institution which had been oriented largely within the credit union industry to one which recognized the broader contexts in which credit unions operated. “When Gary came he opened our eyes to different opportunities and approaches than we knew about before,” said Chuck Purvis, Chairman of the Foundation’s board and senior vice president with the $1.3 billion Coastal FCU, headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Gary helped us better understand the different audiences which would support what credit unions are seeking to do and would be willing to help us.” Purvis explained that Officer helped the board realize that credit unions could get farther in the development world if they sought not to fund all projects themselves but to instead leverage their funds with other donors who would often match other Foundation donations. Prior to Officer’s arrival, credit unions, on an institutional basis had not recognized the grant and funding possibilities from agencies like the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Agriculture, Purvis added. He explained the board had already formed a search committee and expected that the effort would get underway in earnest after the Foundation’s planning session later in May. During Officer’s three years, the Foundation’s Community Investment Fund grew from $148.5 million to $319.4 million as of the end of March, 2004. The CIF is forecast to reach $323.00 million by the end of 2004. -

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