Doing its part to support the oil spill recovery, the $350 million Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union of Pensacola, Fla. reported Wednesday its matching donation campaign to assist the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida has now topped $61,000 with expectations it will reach $100,000 by the end of August.
Since its funding efforts began in June, the Florida CU has received widespread support from local groups, the media as well as CU vendors pitching in to raise cash for the nonprofit Pensacola agency whose staff from the start of the disaster have been involved in bird cleanup and care for injured animals.
"We've been through the hurricane disasters where you are engaged in clearing roads, cutting trees and supplying food but in something like this you have to find a way to protect, restore and rehabilitate wildlife that are affected by this disaster," said Chris Rutledge, president/CEO. "Our wildlife cannot wait while lawsuits are settled. They will need our help now and long term."
Speaking from Chicago where he is attending the annual NAFCU conference, Rutledge said he is particularly grateful for the financial support from his vendors citing contributions from: CUNA Mutual, OSI Data Management, CBSI, Fiserv, Newtek, Duncan McCall Marketing and Corporate America. Gulf Winds has also set up a website, gogulfwinds.com on behalf of the Gulf Winds Wildlife Relief Fund. Gulf Winds has committed a $50,000 matching donation.
Citing budget restraints "the assessment and delinquencies," Rutledge said he is aware that not every Florida CU has the financial wherewithal to contribute to a charity in this manner. "We are lucky to have had a good year, a healthy 15% capital ratio because of a board that had some foresight so we could weather these kinds of conditions," he added.
Rutledge said he and members of his staff have visited the sanctuary a number of times to witness the washing process of afflicted osprey and other ocean birds. "It's simply fantastic what is being done by this agency which has already taken in 3,000-4,000 injured birds," said Rutledge.