Credit union donates $40,000 to business program

A $40,000 gift from Alterna Savings and Credit Union Ltd. has been used to create a scholarship in social economy and a fund for Business & Society Program projects.

The Alterna group presented the $40,000 to the York University Foundation at a ceremony Feb. 26 in York’s Senate chambers.

Of the money donated, $25,000 will be used to establish the Alterna Social Economy Scholarship in honour of Haswell B. Iron and $15,000 will be used to create the Alterna Social Economy Fund within the Business & Society (BUSO) Program, Faculty of Arts. The scholarship will be given to an undergraduate entering fourth year and majoring in Business & Society who promotes awareness and knowledge of social economy. The $15,000 fund will pay for student-led social economy projects in the Business & Society Program.

Above: From left, Penny Bethke of Alterna; Richard Wellen, coordinator, York’s Business & Society Program; Robert Drummond, dean, Faculty of Arts; Darryl Reed, Chair, York’s Division of Social Science; Daniel Iron (LLB ’86), grandson, and Lawrence Iron, son, of Haswell B. Iron.

"We are investing in a future of business and socially minded individuals; the two need not be at odds," said Penny Bethke, Chair of Alterna’s member relations committee.

"This gift will both contribute to support for students and assist us with programming in Business & Society," said FAculty of Arts Dean Robert Drummond in thanking Alterna. "It is fitting that the support is coming from a credit union, as the Business and Society program pays particular attention to the cooperative sector."

Haswell B. Iron was a founding board member and long-time treasurer of Jet Power Credit Union, now part of Alterna. He was a businessman who believed in corporate social responsibility, a belief not common among his peers at the time. His commitment to credit union philosophy and practice could be summed up in this simple phrase: "It was people helping people".

The Ontario Trust for Student Support will match the $25,000 dollar for dollar to create a permanently endowed fund of $50,000 to support the scholarship.

Following the presentation, social researcher Alex Michalos delivered the first Business & Society Lecture, on Happiness and the Good Life. Michalos is emeritus professor in political science and director of the Institute for Social Research and Evaluation at the University of Northern British Columbia. He is the president of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s Sectoral Commission on Natural, Social and Human Sciences, and a past president of Academy II (Humanities and Social Sciences) of the Royal Society of Canada and of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies.