NAPERVILLE, Ill. (12/15/08)--The Illinois Credit Union Foundation (ICU Foundation) awarded $178,253 in scholarships during 2008, as well as Community Service, Marketing and Business Development, Small Credit Union Development (SCUD), and Financial Independence and Revitalization Effort (FIRE) grants. The ICU Foundation also provided financial support for the Illinois Credit Union League’s (ICUL) Small Asset Size Credit Union Conference and for Bank Secrecy Act training sessions for small credit unions. The awards and their corresponding amounts for 2008 included:
* Community Service grants totaling $16,500, awarded to five chapters, seven credit unions, the Washington Credit Union Foundation for underwriting support of Biz Kid$, and the World Council of Credit Unions for general support. This program is designed to encourage and reward chapter or credit union participation in local community projects. Credit unions and chapters can qualify for grants by hosting an established event, creating an event, or volunteering at an established event. * FIRE grants totaling $20,000, awarded to two credit unions. The FIRE Program provides assistance so credit unions can expand their ability to build and maintain viable communities by providing credit and financial services to residents and businesses in low-income and underserved areas of Illinois. The goal of the program is to enhance membership services for credit unions located in economically disadvantaged areas. * Marketing and Business Development grants totaling $16,300 awarded to five credit unions. Established in 2006, these grants help credit unions with assets of up to $30 million to start or expand outreach efforts. The maximum grant award is $5,000 per credit union, per year. * SCUD grants totaling $80,710, awarded to 37 credit unions. The grants are designed to help credit unions with assets of less than $10 million remain competitive in an increasingly complex marketplace. Grant funds can be used for items such as computer equipment, software, new products and services, and planning sessions. * Scholarships totaling $39,305, awarded to 46 credit unions and six chapters. Individuals and groups (such as a chapter or group of credit unions) can apply. Scholarships may be used toward ICUL’s educational opportunities and Credit Union National Association schools.
“The foundation was able to provide these scholarships and grants thanks to the generosity of credit unions and individuals who provide financial support," said Vicki Ponzo, ICU Foundation executive director. For 2009, grant application review deadlines will be March 31, July 31, and Oct. 31. The main scholarship application deadline is March 31. Grant and scholarship seekers should complete and return the application form to the foundation as early in the year as possible, since both are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, said the foundation. Online and downloadable ICU Foundation grant request forms are available via the league's website. Eligibility is limited to Illinois credit unions and chapters.