CU Aid Activated for Credit Unions to Help Victims of California Wildfires

Donate Now at www.cuaid.coop


SAN DIEGO (10/24/07) — The National Credit Union Foundation and the California Credit Union League have activated the online disaster relief system CUAid.coop to raise money for credit union employees, volunteers and members affected by the wildfires raging in Southern California.

Credit union supporters can now help credit union people in Southern California by making donations through a secured website. Californians can donate via www.cuaid.coop/california. Credit union supporters everywhere else can donate via www.cuaid.coop.

All donations via CUAid.coop will be forwarded to credit union organizations in affected areas through the National Credit Union Foundation, a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

In Southern California, more than 950,000 residents have been evacuated, and more than 2,400 homes and businesses have been destroyed. The California Credit Union League is working to determine how many of those impacted are affiliated with credit unions. Throughout California, about one of every four residents is a credit union member, with 9 million members counted in the population of 36 million.

Three Ways to Help
Credit unions and other organizations that want to help are encouraged to take three steps:

1) Go to www.cuaid.coop or www.cuaid.coop/california and make a donation via credit card, wire transfer, or check.

2) Download any of the CUAid.coop buttons and banners from the “campaign materials,” then place a button and/or banner with a link to www.cuaid.coop or www.cuaid.coop/california on your internet and intranet home pages.

3) Use the sample letters, statement stuffer and point-of-sale materials to encourage your employees, volunteers, and members to make donations that will help survivors recover from this disaster and future disasters.

“We are calling on credit union leaders and communicators to promote CUAid.coop to help the credit union community help itself,” urges NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin. “When credit union organizations link to CUAid.coop, we can collect donations more efficiently and distribute funds much faster to credit unions, employees, volunteers and members in affected areas.”

During past disasters, Delfin pointed out, “Millions of dollars left credit unions for Red Cross, Salvation Army and other outside relief groups. Those organizations do great work for the general population – and we would not discourage donations to them – but we believe many credit union employees, volunteers and members will want to donate to help fellow credit union people once they are given the opportunity via CUAid.coop.”

“We have received calls from credit unions throughout the state and other states wishing to help out those affected by this terrible disaster,” said Bill Cheney, California League president and CEO. “CUAid gives those credit unions and others a centralized location for their donations — with the secure knowledge that their contributions will go to help impacted credit unions, their employees, and volunteers.”

Disaster relief funds raised through CUAid.coop may be used for a broad range of disaster-related needs as identified by credit union organizations serving the affected areas. These needs include, but are not limited to:

• Critical Needs - Credit union employees and volunteers can receive financial assistance for daily living items such as food, water, ice, batteries, clothing, diapers, temporary shelter, housing, gas and transportation.

• Longer-term Recovery Needs - After they recover what they can from insurance payouts, survivors may need assistance rebuilding or relocating to a new home, replacing lost vehicles and household items. As long as funds remain in the NCUF Disaster Relief Fund, NCUF in concert with its agent(s) managing the recovery efforts may expand the grant criteria to include these and other longer-term recovery needs that are not fully covered by insurance.

• Reasonable Operational Needs - While the first priority is to assist credit union employees and volunteers, assistance may also be provided directly to credit unions and their support organizations in order to help them become and remain operational. Operational expenses related to disaster recovery may include items such as relocating, setting up temporary service facilities, joining shared service networks, hiring temporary staff, mentoring and counseling traumatized staff, repairing building damage, replacing destroyed computer software/hardware, office furniture, office supplies, and other needs that are not fully covered by insurance.

• Assisting Credit Union Members - While CUAid.coop’s individual grant guidelines focus first on credit union employees and volunteers, some funds may be used to provide disaster-related services to members.

CU Aid was developed by the National Credit Union Foundation in cooperation with state credit union foundations, state credit union leagues, and the Credit Union National Association’s Disaster Preparedness Committee.

About the National Credit Union Foundation (www.ncuf.coop):

NCUF is the U.S. credit union movement’s primary national charitable and fundraising organization. In 26 years, NCUF has provided more than $26 million in grants supporting its mission to promote consumers’ financial independence through credit unions.

NCUF recently earned the Better Business Bureau seal of approval for meeting the Wise Giving Alliance Standards for national charities.