New Leadership, Refined Focus for CUNA Mutual Group Foundation

Company Welcomes Alexzandra Shade to Lead Corporate Social Responsibility

MADISON, Wis. –  The CUNA Mutual Group Foundation celebrated 50 years of philanthropic giving in 2018 and is now poised to move forward with new leadership and a refined focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Photo Courtesy of CUNA Mutual Group.

Founded on the philosophy of “people helping people,” the company enjoys a strong history of giving in support of the communities it serves and has increased its focus on DEI over the past three years, said Cedric Ellis, CUNA Mutual Group Foundation president, and executive vice president, chief enterprise services officer.

“We’ve begun filtering our corporate social responsibility work through a DEI lens, and we’re seeing positive and often unexpected outcomes in how we serve the non-profit community,” Ellis said. “Our company’s purpose is to help people achieve financial security, but without access to basics like food, affordable housing, and educational opportunities, people can’t feel financially secure. We seek to reduce educational and economic disparities and ultimately ensure a brighter financial future is accessible to all.”

The Foundation, now under the direction of Ellis and Angela Russell, who serves as Foundation vice president and as CUNA Mutual Group vice president of DEI, will more intentionally focus on supporting organizations that address and seek to solve educational, economic and racial disparities.

Working in partnership with the Foundation to fulfill that mission is Alexzandra (Alex) Shade, CUNA Mutual Group’s new director of corporate social responsibility. Shade, who joined the company in February and recently relocated to Madison from Virginia, brings a dynamic, diverse, and global background in community development, outreach strategies and innovative programming, Ellis said.

“Alex will lead strategy and execution of our corporate social responsibility programs and initiatives, including philanthropic giving, employee volunteering, environmental sustainability, and community relations. She will also lead and manage the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation portfolio and investment strategy, building strategic partnerships throughout the communities we serve.”

Shade, who most recently served as executive director of the NWFCU Foundation at Northwest Federal Credit Union in Herndon, Virginia, said she is immersing herself in her new role.

“If we are to live our purpose, we must elevate people in our communities to a place where they can achieve and maintain financial security—and we can do that by partnering with organizations that help people access those basic needs and build skills to create stability,” she said.

The Foundation remains committed to supporting the Madison community and others in which it works and serves.

“Being more intentional with our efforts and ensuring a better financial future is accessible to everyone can be beneficial, not only for the organizations that receive our support, but also for our community, and for us,” Ellis said.

To learn more about the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation, please visit: