MADISON, Wis. – CUNA’s biggest fall gathering – the annual Future Forum next week in San Francisco – does not appear jeopardized by a drop-off in attendance from credit union hurricane recovery and relief efforts. Indeed, “we’ve had only maybe 10 cancellations so far from attendees representing New Orleans and Gulf Coast credit unions,” said Todd Spiczenski, the lead coordinator for Future Forum and vice president of learning events for CUNA’s Center for Professional Development. There could be lots more CU delegates who have been unable to follow through on cancellations with information relayed on site, said Spiczenski, but so far the 2005 Future Forum-now in its third year and slated for Sept. 24-27 at the San Francisco Hilton – is looking to a record attendance of 1,600. Over the last two weeks, the CUNA staff, said Spiczenski, has been receiving calls from Louisiana and Mississippi CUs informing the trade group “that for example, instead of four they will be sending one representative” to the conference. “For those attendees who might be directly affected by this disaster, we want it known we understand completely if their priority is to stay at home,” said Spiczenski. The CUNA executive also noted that so far there have been no cancellations among vendors with a space sellout – 151 slots to 126 companies. Meanwhile, the National Credit Union Foundation, which will be utilizing its Forum booth to urge contributions to the Katrina Disaster Relief Fund, is also redirecting proceeds from a live auction on Sept. 26 to the Fund. Last week NCUF said it was also using the proceeds from its 25th anniversary online auction on Sept. 19 to the Fund. One keynote speaker at the Future Forum, Mike Eruzione, the celebrated captain of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, said he and his own charity firms have been making contributions to disaster relief funds. Also, in addressing a CU gathering, the Boston-based Eruzione candidly admitted he knows little about CU structure and told Credit Union Times he was not aware that opening an account meant he is a CU member. Eruzione said he maintains two CU accounts “at the Boston University credit union and the Winthrop Credit Union in my home town.” The former Olympic star, who is a veteran on the national speaker circuit for 25 years, said he will focus his speech on teamwork and leadership and what it means to the CU service mission. “But I am not about to tell that group anything about how they should run their business,” Eruzione concluded. [email protected]

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