Don Cates of 3Rivers Federal Credit Union Receives 2021 Indiana Community Spirit Award from FHLBank Indianapolis

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis (FHLBank Indianapolis) awarded Don Cates, President and CEO of 3Rivers Federal Credit Union, with the 2021 Indiana Community Spirit Award. The Community Spirit Award honors individuals that show an outstanding dedication to affordable housing and community economic development.

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“We’re excited to present this year’s Community Spirit Award for Indiana to a community development champion in Fort Wayne,” said MaryBeth Wott, Community Investment and Underwriting/Credit Operations Officer at FHLBank Indianapolis. “Don Cates and 3Rivers Federal Credit Union have been active and engaged partners in our Affordable Housing Program and have demonstrated a strong commitment to housing development for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

As President and CEO of 3Rivers Federal Credit Union, Cates has been a leader in providing long-term housing options for underserved communities. 3Rivers was recently awarded a $500,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) Grant to CASS Housing, a privately funded nonprofit that seeks to provide long-term housing options for people with developmental disabilities. “Don has been highly involved with CASS since their founding and has supported their strategy and growth that will include completing their sixth home in early 2022,” said Melissa Shaw, Vice President of Marketing at 3Rivers. Additionally, 3Rivers continues to support CASS Housing through the 3Rivers Community Foundation.

Cates has been a leader in his community development work in Northeast Indiana. 3Rivers was among the first to support the Family and Friends Fund, a grassroots fundraising effort to benefit the economically disadvantaged on the southeast side of Fort Wayne. “Don felt strongly that this non-traditional approach was a bold step towards doing something different,” says Shaw. As a result of their work, the Family and Friends Fund helped open Utopian Community Grocery, a food co-op to provide great quality and fresh food for a food desert.

Cates’ community impact can also be found in his relationships with local community development stakeholders. 3Rivers is one of five local institutions and the only credit union to provide the financing for Electric Works, the largest economic development project in Northeast Indiana and a driver of growth for Fort Wayne. 3Rivers has made a $10M investment in Electric Works to drive residential development in a historic downtown area and business development in Southeast Fort Wayne.

Don Cates has been involved in economic and community development for over 20 years and holds many leadership positions in his community. Cates has served as Chair of the Miami County Economic Development Authority for several years and is currently Chairman-elect of the Regional Opportunities Council for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. Don is also currently a board member of the Fort Wayne Black Chamber of Commerce and in his second term as Board Chair of United Way of Allen County.

In recognition of the award, FHLBank Indianapolis will donate $2,500 to the nonprofit organization of Cates’ choice.