MADISON, Wis., and WASHINGTON (3/25/10)--Credit unions, learning more about the plight of colleagues and their 404,000-plus members in Haiti, are still donating to the Haiti Credit Union Disaster Relief Fund to assist victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated the country. So far, the Worldwide Foundation of Credit Unions, affiliated with the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), has received in hand $854,983 from credit unions and organizations worldwide, said Valerie Breunig, executive director of the foundation. Of that total, U.S. credit unions and organizations have raised $442,142.54 through the National Credit Union Foundation's (NCUF) CUAid.coop, said Jill Stevenson, marketing and communications coordinator at NCUF. The overall total is actually higher "because Canada is holding money for us that we don't want to count until it is in hand, probably next week," Breunig told News Now
. "Our campaign is still progressing with donations arriving from around the world," she added. On-the-scene reports from WOCCU's staff in Haiti indicate a number of credit unions were damaged and some destroyed, but many more are expecting capital problems as their members' situations become more evident. (See related story in News Now's System section: "Haiti's CUs face grave issues on capital"). Credit unions still standing have used their existing network to help displaced members of damaged institutions access their accounts with biometric identification cards, allowing them to receive much-needed remittances. WOCCU has helped credit union staff with funds to provide immediate relief, including food, clothing, and tents for shelter and offices. It has partnered with Food for the Poor to provide general relief to people in the hard-hit Port-au-Prince area. Once damage to all credit union facilities has been assessed, a formal rebuilding program will begin so credit unions can open their doors and help more members. Meanwhile credit unions and organizations continue to raise funds to help:
* The Georgia Credit Union Foundation collected more than $25,000 for the Haiti relief effort, thanks to more than two dozen credit unions, one chapter and three individuals in the state. "So many people were affected by this earthquake and we were glad to do what we could to support WOCCU's efforts to help those in need during these very difficult and sad times," said Dan Denning, executive director of the foundation. * Earlier this month the Maine Credit Union League and credit unions raised nearly $3,000 in one week, bringing total funds raised for Haiti by Maine credit unions to more than $20,000. "The need for contributions has not diminished in the two months since the earthquake, and Maine's credit unions remain committed do doing all that we can to help," said Jon Paradise, governmental and public affairs manager for the league. * California Bear CU, in downtown Los Angeles, said its staff and volunteers donated $955.31 to the WOCCU fund, which the credit union matched with a $1,000 donation of its own. CEO Jennifer Oliver noted the credit union chose the WOCCU Relief Fund "because making our donation to a credit union organization would embrace the spirit and support the international development of the credit union movement."
Credit unions and organizations also are collecting for efforts to assist Haiti's general public. Credit unions in Charleston, S.C. pooled resources and collected $25,000 to give to Water Missions to send a complete water treatment system to Haiti. MAFCU in Brookline, Mass., contributed $6,100 to Partners in Health to provide medical care. CPCU, in Somerville, Mass., used coin counting machines to collect money and raised $5,359 for the American Red Cross. MoneyGram, a CUNA Strategic Services provider, announced last week that its Global Giving program expanded its support to include a minimum $250,000 grant to the American Red Cross. Through June 30, it will donate $2 from every transaction sent to Haiti as a donation for relief services. Many credit unions, however, are concentrating their efforts to the WOCCU fund so their efforts help colleagues and their members. To support Haiti's credit unions and members through the international credit union disaster fund, make payments, via check, credit card or wire to: Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions Inc., 5710 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI 53705, USA. Donations also can be made online with a credit card at www.woccu.org/give. For wire transfer information, contact Valerie Breunig, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions at 608-395-2055 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
. Please indicate the donation is designated for the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund. U.S. credit unions also can support WOCCU's relief efforts by donating through the NCUF's CU Aid at www.CUAid.coop. For more information, use the links.