New Foundation Grants Fund Wide Variety of Initiatives; First Callahan Fund Awardees Named
ARLINGTON, Va. - The National Credit Union Foundation's most recent round of grant making has focused on both credit union and non-credit union efforts that are designed to both strengthen credit union programs and help credit unions leverage more money from other funders. The Community Investment Fund is the NCUF's primary funding mechanism for local, state, and national credit union development activities and has disbursed $3.4 million in grants to both individual credit unions and to state foundations and leagues since 1999. The Foundation also announced the first of its grants under the Callahan Fund. The donor-directed Callahan Fund, a tribute to modern-day credit union pioneer, Ed Callahan, is overseen by an advisory board comprised of grant committee members and Ed Callahan himself. Callahan grants support NCUF grant making in the areas of cooperative development and financial literacy. Together, the general CIF and the Callahan Fund distributed just over $1.5 million to different credit unions, credit union efforts, and non-credit union efforts that work with credit unions. "We're very pleased to be able to fund these worthwhile projects," said Bruce Wheeler, the Foundation's Director of Grants and Communications. "We just wish we could have funded all of the proposals we received. Requests are outpacing our ability to fund projects. This just underscores the need to be ever-diligent in increasing support of the CIF." The Foundation is growing closer to its goal of raising $400 million for the CIF by the end of this year and $1 billion by the end of 2004, Wheeler said. As of September 30, 2003, investments in the fund reached $308 million. The Foundation awarded $30,000 to the The New York City Financial Network Action Consortium. The Consortium is made up of three community development credit unions in New York City - the $4.4 million Homesteaders FCU, the $12 million Lower East Side People's FCU and the $8 million Union Settlement FCU - which pooled their resources to be able to better draw funding for their efforts to work with lower income New Yorkers. The Foundation funding will help the consortium mount an effort to build participation in the Federal Government's Earned Income Tax Credit's program and the grant is expected to draw additional funding of over $60,000. The Campus CU Council, which is a credit union effort among campus credit unions, received $15,000 for a study of credit union access on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities. The Foundation said it expects the grant to draw additional funding of $30,000. The Foundation granted CUNA $15,000 to develop online training materials in English and Spanish to help parents train Pre-K children about money, a move which is expected to attract $2,000. The newest credit union effort the Foundation funded is the Community Of Hope, a brand new credit union based in Jameson, New York, that received $2,500 in the hope of drawing more. "This credit union opened its doors in August of this year with the support of four local churches. They believe the local foundation community will provide support and are looking for support from the CU community first," the Foundation said. Callahan Fund awardees included the Tampa Affordable Mortgage Lending Project. The project is a joint effort between the multi-billion GTE FCU and Suncoast Schools FCU. The grant will help the Project to expand homeownership opportunities to first-time homebuyers in the Metropolitan Tampa area. GTE and Suncoast Schools will pledge a dollar for dollar match for funds awarded through the grant proposal. The program model will serve as a financial intermediary for community development projects in underserved areas; projects will include affordable mortgage lending, homeownership counseling, small business loans and construction financing for community development entities. Partners include City of Tampa, Neighborhood Lending Partners, Tampa Housing Authority, Community Development Corporations and Fannie Mae, the Foundation said. One noncredit union awardee from the Callahan Fund was Northwest New Mexico CDC, a community development corporation based in Gallup, New Mexico. The CDC received $150,000 to implement statewide Individual Development Accounts programs in New Mexico. "This is one of our most interesting grants this cycle," said Wheeler. The organization already has the money for the IDAs but lacks the institutions to offer them," he explained. They are partnering with the New Mexico League to bring IDAs to credit unions. The grant, specifically, would support the CDC's role in serving as case manager for the participating credit unions. By the end of the grant, the CDC hopes to see 23 credit unions fully participating in the IDA program and the effort has already gathered almost a million dollars in support. The Callahan Fund also granted $90,000 to the Montana CUs for Community Development. The MCUCD is a coalition of Montana credit unions and community development organizations that tries to help people living in rural Montana.