|To help credit unions and their service partners finish applying for Innovation Grants by the June 29 deadline, the National Credit Union Foundation has posted a grant-writing slideshow. (Click Foundation Programs, then Innovation Grants, then Grant-Writing Slideshow.)|
“The slideshow answers many of the questions we’ve been receiving from applicants since opening our annual grant cycle in April,” explains NCUF Deputy Director Steve Bosack. “Anyone can now choose to open or save the slideshow, then view the notes pages to see further explanations underneath many of the slides.”
NCUF’s Innovation Grants criteria are aligned with the foundation’s new signature program, REAL Solutions, which aims to help credit unions attract members with “low wealth” and move them up the credit path in five steps. While participation in REAL Solutions is not a requirement to apply for a grant, NCUF is seeking grant applications for innovative programs in any of these five steps:
* Education: Innovation Grants can assist credit unions participating in national financial education programs including the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), Junior Achievement, and JA’s Biz Kid$ (the new PBS-TV series sponsored by America’s Credit Unions). Innovation Grants can also support other initiatives consistent with the education components of REAL Solutions: financial counseling, product awareness, and staff training.
* Transaction Services: Innovation Grants can support credit unions with programs to provide check-cashing, money orders, remittances, fee-free checking, tax preparation, and other services to attract underserved consumers.
* Savings: Innovation Grants can support credit unions with programs that promote savings awareness, offer low membership fees, provide safe accounts for new immigrants, and help members with low wealth establish long-term savings.
* Credit: Innovation Grants can support credit unions offering small loans including payday loan alternatives, used car loans that help low-wealth members reach better jobs or higher education, and internal projects such as revising loan policies and building staff awareness in order to better serve people of modest means.
* Homeownership: Innovation Grants can support credit unions offering Home Loan Payment Relief (HLPR) mortgages, homeownership counseling, and other services that help members with lower credit scores become first-time homebuyers.
The amount of grant funds available will depend on how much credit unions invest in the Community Investment Fund (CIF). Credit unions interested in investing can check with their corporate credit union or click the link above.