MADISON, Wis. (11/28/07)--Four credit unions ravaged by floods last month in the Dominican Republic will receive grants for immediate rebuilding from CUNA Mutual Group’s Global Credit Union Disaster Relief Fund. The new fund is administered by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and was established to provide immediate financial assistance when a disaster strikes international credit unions. The first grant of $5,000 was sent to Asociación de Instituciones Rurales de Ahorro y Crédito (AIRAC), World Council’s member in the Dominican Republic. AIRAC will oversee the grant distribution to affected credit unions. “This grant will help the local credit unions and, through them, their many members, get back on their feet more quickly,” said Javier Tejeda-Vera, vice president of Latin America for CUNA Mutual Group. The region has many farm families who need to replant their crops lost in the floods. AIRAC has 14 credit unions with more than 200,000 credit union members in the Dominican Republic. They recently signed a partnership with the Wisconsin Credit Union League, and AIRAC leaders were visiting Wisconsin earlier this month when they learned of the grant. The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions often carries out special appeals when a disaster strikes in countries with a credit union system. Valerie Breunig, Worldwide Foundation executive director, said this program differs from traditional relief appeals. “The CUNA Mutual Global Credit Union Disaster Relief Fund is a permanent program, ready to allow WOCCU to respond immediately when disaster strikes, without waiting for a fundraising appeal,” Breunig explained. “This is the first of its kind for World Council.” To donate to the Worldwide Foundation for general credit union preparedness, use the resource link for WOCCU and click "Support WOCCU" or call Valerie Breunig at 608-395-2055.