WASHINGTON -- The poor economy coupled with the rise in foreclosures is driving up the requests for "Innovation Grants" under a three-year-old program offered by the National Credit Union Foundation.
"In addition to the number of requests, we're also seeing an increase in the size of the applications--$49,000 in 2007 to $54,000--as well as witnessing the addition of new states to the program," said Steven Bosack, deputy director.
Applicants for the grants aimed at assisting low wealth individuals or those with modest means during a tight economic period include 19 CUs plus 10 community-based groups which partner with CUs along with various foundations and state leagues. So far there have been 41 submitted in 2008 compared to 38 a year ago.
"Judging from the goals of the grant proposals, the increase reflects credit unions' desire to help more people of modest means," said Bosack, noting the foreclosure category was added this year in light of new market conditions.
NCUF opened this year's Innovation Grant cycle last April and closed it in June. In light of new conditions, "we added foreclosure prevention as a new category under homeownership grants," he said