WASHINGTON, D.C. (3/3/06) – Moving swiftly after the devastating mudslides in the Philippines, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), the Washington Credit Union Foundation (WCUF), the Ohio Credit Union Foundation, and the Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation have wired a combined $23,000 – 1.2 million Philippine pesos – to help survivors in the credit union community.
As relief workers dug through 13 feet of mud searching for 1,800 missing people, it became clear that credit union employees and members would need immediate help. First responders were led by the Washington Credit Union League and Affiliates, which heads the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) International Partnership Program with the Philippines credit union movement.
"The Washington Credit Union Foundation raised disaster relief funds in advance so we would have money available to provide immediate relief wherever a disaster strikes our credit union friends," explained WCUF and NCUF Board Member Bob Schumacher. "Within hours of WOCCU's appeal for relief in the Philippines, the WCUF Grants Committee came together on a conference call and approved a $5,000 grant to help our friends in the Philippines."
The National Credit Union Foundation wired $15,000 from existing funds. "Thanks to donors who made undesignated contributions to the NCUF Disaster Relief Fund in 2004," noted Executive Director Steve Delfin, "we were able to provide emergency relief for the Philippines while ensuring that all $3.2 million raised for Hurricane Katrina remains committed to credit union recovery efforts on America's Gulf Coast."
The Ohio Credit Union Foundation also responded quickly with a $2,500 grant. "Our connections with Lois Kitsch, who worked extensively with WOCCU in the Philippines, allowed us to understand the extent of the personal suffering that resulted from this natural disaster," said Executive Director John Florian. "We were thrilled to have the opportunity to provide assistance."
The Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation added $500.
All funds were wired to WOCCU's Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions.
"Credit union foundations in America are fortunate to be able to touch the lives of credit union employees and members thousands of miles away," observed WCUF Executive Director RoxAnne Kruger-Monahan, who is working to coordinate these efforts as chair of the State Credit Union Foundation Network and a member on the NCUF Board. "It's a tribute to our credit union system that in just a few days after the appeal for the Philippines, our national foundation and two state foundations responded with critical donations."
This first wave of donations will be directed toward two disaster relief priorities identified by WOCCU in a preliminary needs analysis:
"Together, these two projects will have a great impact on the health of both the local credit union and members' lives," reported WOCCU Senior Manager Curtis Slover. WOCCU hopes to raise $30,000 to fund both of these initiatives.
When the full extent of the damage in the Philippines is determined, additional funds may be needed to help some of the country's 378 credit unions rebuild, and/or help more of their 700,000 credit union members recover.
At least one other state credit union foundation plans to convene its board soon to consider sending relief to the Philippines.
"U.S. dollars will go a long way toward providing hope in the Philippines," Kruger-Monahan concluded.
For more information about the Philippines disaster relief appeal, visit WOCCU's website at www.woccu.org.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.