The National Credit Union Foundation has teamed up with one of the largest financial think tanks in the country, the Center for Financial Services Innovation, to find a big idea to fund this year.
The foundation partnered with CFSI after deciding earlier this year to shift its funding model where it used smaller grants to support a variety of proposals based on smaller, more local ideas to one where it might fund large idea with potential applicability to many credit unions with one large grant.
CFSI”s most important role in the partnership will be to help the foundation identify that proposed idea.
“What we wanted to do was to refocus our grant making on ideas with true industry-wide or national scope,” explained NCUF Executive Director Bucky Sebastian. “It seemed to us that the state foundations had the expertise and resources to fund the smaller grant proposals as well being closer to them. We should handle the larger proposals.”
Sebastian said NCUF chose CFSI because the organization already had a history of supporting some innovative credit union grant proposals, such as the effort to establish credit union branches that resemble check cashers as a way to make them more accessible to the unbanked as well as PiggyMojo, an idea which pairs social networking and technology to get people to change their savings habits.
“CFSI receives a plethora of groundbreaking proposals and we want to elevate the number of ideas proposed by our community,” Sebastian said. “We hope that a significant amount of proposals will stem from credit unions–working on their own or in concert with other organizations. There is a strong connection between the member-centric, community-based mission of credit unions and the goals of CFSI and the Financial Capability Innovation Fund.” The Financial Capability Innovation Fund is the specific funding vehicle CFSI is using for this round of grant making.