TORONTO, Canada (10/17/08)--Canadian credit unions not only celebrated International Credit Union Day Thursday, but also the more than $35.8 million they contributed in 2007 to community projects--a record total which was a 3% increase over 2006. Each year, credit unions nationwide support community initiatives, local services and sports teams, finance affordable housing, assist students, and reduce or waive service charges for community groups (Canada NewsWire October 16). Credit unions support their respective local communities with money services and time, according to the seventh national survey of credit union philanthropy. The biggest area of support was donations and sponsorships, with credit unions giving $25.3 million, up about 3% from the previous year. Credit unions also donated $3.7 million to their own charitable foundations, handed out more than $900,000 in scholarships and bursaries, and provided $2.8 million in financial services to community organizations, mostly by reducing or waiving service charges for those groups. Credit union employees also volunteered for community activities and organizations. In 2007, 47% of the credit unions surveyed said their employees participated in community activities as part of their paid work, while 67% of employees volunteered on their own time. A total of 299 credit unions participated in the 2007 Credit Union Community Involvement Survey. There are more than 5 million members who belong to 449 credit unions with assets of $109 billion that are affiliated with Canadian Central.