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News Releases

October 24, 2008

WOCCU Directors’ Action Fund Aims to Boost Volunteer Giving

Global Patterns Show Reduced Development Assistance during Tough Economic Times

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2008_12_24_DAF brochure
This brochure supports WOCCU's Directors' Action Fund efforts.
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MADISON, Wis.—North Americans may be tightening their belts and spending less due to the ongoing economic turmoil in the global financial markets, but many people in developing countries are wondering where their next meal is going to come from. In response, World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) is attempting to fill the gap with a more aggressive WOCCU Directors' Action Fund designed to solicit financial support from credit union volunteers as a way to keep development programs alive while the U.S. and other countries struggle to stabilize their economies.

"The backbone of the credit union movement has always been the dedication and commitment of its volunteer leadership," said Pete Crear, WOCCU's president and CEO. "It stands to reason that those who have dedicated their efforts to developing their own credit unions would see the logic in supporting and strengthening the movements in other countries, where credit unions may be needed the most."

Contributions to the fund will be even more critical this year as economic challenges will likely reduce development assistance funding from other sources, Crear said. Research reported from the Center for Global Development indicates that countries in the midst of an economic downturn categorically reduce their foreign aid when weathering tough times. Government aid from countries such as Japan and Sweden, both of which suffered through banking crises during the 1990s, took a downturn during those crisis periods. Countries dependent on development assistance funds could suffer significant losses, at least in the short term, as charitable giving and foreign aid from the U.S. and other countries slows over the next year.

WOCCU's Directors' Action Fund directly targets credit union volunteers, individuals in a position to understand the credit union philosophy and appreciate the impact credit unions make on the lives of their members. By contributing US$40 for each credit union volunteer, WOCCU believes participation from enough credit unions could affect significant change for credit union members in developing countries.

"Supporting the Directors' Action Fund gives me an opportunity to show my commitment to poverty alleviation, democracy, peace and even equality, all outcomes of WOCCU's development work," said Joseph A. Guagliardo, a board director for New York's Municipal Credit Union. "In my 16 years of volunteering, I have never experienced more fulfillment in giving to a more worthy credit union cause."

Gayle Adkins-McDonald, a board director with Water and Power Credit Union in Los Angeles, agrees: "Supporting WOCCU helps me feel like I am giving back to other credit union directors who don't have the same training opportunities and resources available. Our small gift can make a real difference in a developing country."

For more information about WOCCU's development programs and to make a contribution to WOCCU's Directors' Action Fund, please visit the, or contact Valerie Breunig at or (608) 396-2055.


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 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at


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Contact: Rebecca Carpenter
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: +1-608-395-2031
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