Updated: October 2020

47th anniversary fundraiser (2018)

'Giving credit where credit is due'

Consumer Action celebrated its 47 years of consumer advocacy successes during a cocktail awards reception in Washington, DC, in October 2018. The honorees were Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), personal finance website and app NerdWallet and fellow non-profit consumer education/assistance group Credit Builders Alliance, all of whom were singled out for their impactful work in helping consumers to improve their financial lives. Senator Cortez Masto made a video to thank Consumer Action for the award, which can be viewed on our Instagram account.

Click here for a gallery of photos taken at the event by Stephen Baranovics. Click here to view the program for this year’s event.

The theme of the anniversary was “Credit Where Credit Is Due.” Advocates and allies from the non-profit, corporate and government sectors met at the AT&T Forum for Technology, Entertainment and Policy to give credit to the foremost champions of fairness and access for consumers in the financial marketplace.

A member of Consumer Action’s event planning committee, Daniel Nestel of credit scoring company FICO, presented the first award to Credit Builders Alliance (CBA) Executive Director Dara Duguay for the non-profit’s work to help low- and moderate-income households build strong credit and other financial assets.

“CBA is honored to have our work showcased at Consumer Action’s anniversary event,” Duguay said. “We will continue to work to promote credit building. It is a critical component in the quest to build financial stability.”

CBA was created by and for a national network of non-profit members in response to a gap in the modern credit reporting system that locks millions 
of individuals with poor or no credit out of the financial mainstream.

credit builders alliance award photo
Dara Duguay of Credit Builders Alliance accepts a Consumer Action 2018 Consumer Excellence Award on behalf of the organization. Daniel Nestel of FICO—an event committee member—presented the Consumer Action award.

“Mission-driven non-profits like Credit Builders Alliance are uniquely positioned to help struggling households build credit as an asset,” noted Audrey Perrott of Consumer Action.

A second member of Consumer Action’s event committee, Hugh Norton of VISA Inc., presented NerdWallet’s award. Kimberly Palmer, a writer and personal finance expert for the online resource, accepted the award. Palmer recounted that NerdWallet’s founders realized there was a need when a friend asked the simple question: “What’s the best credit card?” Since being founded in 2009 by CEO Tim Chen and Jacob Gibson, NerdWallet has answered that question and more, providing consumers with free access to expert content, tools and tailored advice to stay on top of their finances and save time and money.

Nerdwallet award photo
Kimberly Palmer of NerdWallet acccepts NerdWallet’s 2018 Consumer Excellence Award, presented by Hugh Norton of Visa Inc., a member of Consumer Action’s anniversary event committee.

Consumer Action event committee member Jenny Backus of Backus Consulting, LLC, a former Hill staffer, presented the final award to Senator Cortez Masto, who couldn’t attend but sent video greetings displayed on two large screens. As she acknowledged the award, the freshman senator spoke about her career-long effort to fight for working families, first as Nevada’s attorney general, and now as the first Latina and first woman from Nevada to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

During her time as Nevada’s top prosecutor, she helped families recover from the housing crisis by creating the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force to investigate and prosecute lending scams. She also joined the fight to hold the big banks accountable for their role in the housing collapse, and secured a $1.9 billion settlement for Nevada homeowners. She now sits on six Senate committees and works daily to ensure a financial marketplace that offers access and delivers fairness to all.

“Each year our anniversary fundraiser brings much deserved attention to the efforts of the dedicated and committed advocates who have educated, empowered and watched out for consumers and the organizations that serve them,” Ken McEldowney, Consumer Action's executive director, said. “This year, I’d also like to give credit and thanks to our event host, AT&T, and to the generous underwriters, donors and contributors who made this special night possible.”

The event was underwritten by TracFone, Amazon and Capital One. Major donors also included AT&T, DraftKings, Facebook, FICO, Microsoft and Verizon.


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