When natural disasters strike, Americans come together in ways that renew even the toughest critic’s faith. When the Colorado wildfires began in June, no one could have predicted it would become the state’s worst in its history. Now, though, and it should come as no surprise to anyone, Americans are pulling together. Here’s the latest on the financial aspects and ways you can help.
The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) has put into place an online disaster relief system, CUAid.coop, with the goal of raising money for those affected by the wildfires in Colorado.
“The impact of the Colorado wildfires on the community is an immediate concern,” said Scott Earl, who is the President and CEO of the Mountain West Credit Union Association.
With more than 32,000 people evacuated and 350 structures already destroyed, our thoughts and prayers go out to the communities in distress during these difficult times. The support of the credit union community and the National Credit Union Foundation through the activation of CUAid will be indispensable.
Available in every state, credit union supporters can easily make donations using their credit cards or debit cards through CUAid, a secure website that also allows wire transfers and even traditional mail donations. It’s the only program that pulls together the entire credit union community, along with volunteers, to streamline contributions to “directly support credit union people”.
Every penny goes to credit union disaster relief. NCUF Director of Communications Christopher Morris said,
We encourage credit union leaders all across the country to use CUAid.coop as a channel to collect donations from their employees, volunteers, and members.
As the donations come in, the National Credit Union Foundation will ensure monies are distributed in an efficient manner.
CUAid was founded in 2006 as a joint effort between NCUF, state credit union foundations and credit union leagues and as part of the ongoing efforts by the Credit Union National Association’s Disaster Preparedness Committee. Its sole purpose is to fill coffers for those affected by any kind of disaster. Hurricanes, tornadoes and, of course, wildfires are just a few of the disasters money is used for. NCUF also says the organization was used a record breaking four times in 2011.
Already, $50,000 has been donated to the American Red Cross for its efforts in assisting Colorado victims and another $25,000 donation was made to the Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado.
Colorado’s wildfires have destroyed tens of thousands of acres and have forced thousands of Colorado families to abandon their homes. Credit unions have come together to offer a host of other services for members, including special interest rates, personal loans, credit cards and small business loans. It’s also allowing early CD withdrawals with no penalties and deferred payments on existing loans. Finally, for those who lost their debit and/or credit cards in the fires can request complimentary expedited replacement cards.
The National Credit Union Foundation is the U.S. credit union movement’s primary national philanthropic program provider, fundraiser and grant-maker. Grants and programs are offered through NCUF in order to provide widespread financial education, create greater access to affordable financial services, and empower more consumers to save, build assets, and own homes.
NCUF is funded primarily by investments in the award-winning Community Investment Fund (CIF) and by generous Supporters led by the Credit Union National Association and CUNA Mutual Group.