WOCCU’s Enrolls New Savers, Joins Facebook Challenge

ICU Day Donations Could Earn Up to US$50,000 for Rural Poor

October 14, 2009

2009_10_14_Lucrecia Morales
Lucrecia Alejo Morales joined the program to replace the leaky cardboard roof on her one-room home.

MADISON, Wis.—, the online matched savings program launched earlier this year by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), will begin the second phase of its program to help the rural poor in Mexico on Oct. 15—International Credit Union Day. Concurrently, is participating in Facebook's "America's Giving Challenge," which could net the program as much US$50,000 based on the number of daily donations made to the cause on Facebook before Nov. 6.

America's Giving Challenge is a 30-day national competition that encourages people to leverage their personal networks and online social media to help their favorite nonprofits win cash awards totaling US$170,000. is competing for daily and overall cash prizes based on the number of donations generated, rather than amount raised, through its Facebook cause at Awards will be given to the nonprofit beneficiaries of the causes that garner the highest number of unique daily donations between 3:00 p.m. EDT Oct. 7, 2009, and 2:59 p.m. EST on November 6, 2009.

A total of US$50,000 will be awarded to the cause with the highest total number of unique daily donations over the 30-day challenge, and US$25,000 will be awarded to the second-place winner. The next five causes will receive US$10,000 each, and there will be two daily awards of US$1,000 and US$500 to the causes with the first and second most unique donations on any day of the challenge.

"It would be an outstanding achievement for this program if we could see as many credit union people as possible from all over the world supporting on International Credit Union Day," said Brian Branch, WOCCU executive vice president and COO. "It is a great opportunity to leverage funds through social networks that can help even more people living in poverty begin to save for the first time. We can't afford to let that opportunity pass us by." recently completed its pilot phase, in which 117 rural savers became new members of Caja Yanga credit union in Mexico's Veracruz state. After making six set monthly deposits for a particular savings goal, each saver received a match to help cover the costs of housing, microbusiness, education or healthcare. Of the 120 participating savers, 83% had never before used formal financial services, 98% completed the program and 99% continue to save even after the program has ended.

"I never saved money, but the program has shown me how to save for the future and teach my children how to save as well," said participant Guadalupe Jazmín, who saved so that she could afford more therapy sessions for her daughter with special needs. "Unfortunately, no one knows what will happen tomorrow, but this way my children will understand that through savings, they can depend upon themselves."

With the pilot phase complete, 120 new first-time savers from six communities in Veracruz state will begin the program on Oct. 15. Savers will select their savings goals and be required to save 900 pesos (about US$70) over six months, an amount to be matched by donations received through and the Facebook cause. Once the savers have completed the six-month requirement, they will be able to use their own funds in addition to the matching amount pledged by online givers to achieve their goals.

Those wanting to participate in America's Giving Challenge and support's new group of first-time savers in rural Mexico can visit to make a donation and join the cause.

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 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 68,882 credit unions in 109 countries serve 235 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at

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Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: (608) 395-2000