The National Credit Union Foundation in Madison, Wis., activated on Tuesday its online disaster relief system, CUAid.coop, to raise money for victims of last week's epic floods in Colorado. The foundation said it estimated more than 10,000 credit union employees, volunteers and members may need some type of assistance.
“We, at the Mountain West Credit Union Association, initially didn’t think we were going to need much CUAid funding, but after we started receiving inquiries we were able to see the need from credit union members who could use a helping hand,” said Dan Santangelo, executive director of MWCUA’s Foundation.
The Colorado flood disaster claimed the lives of eight people and caused property losses of an estimated $2 billion across 17 counties, including the destruction of at least 1,800 homes, according to national media reports.
The 10,000 people who may need assistance is based on estimates reported by Colorado credit unions to MWCUA and NCUF, Santangelo said.
Gerry Agnes, president/CEO of the $1.1 billion Elevations Credit Union, told MWCUA an estimated 5% to 10% of the cooperative’s 100,349 members may have been impacted by the storm, as well as the same percentage of its 320 employees.
Elevations launched a $200,000 fundraising initiative to help flood victims.
Other credit unions that may have employees, volunteers and members who may need assistance are the $300 million Boulder Valley Credit Union, the $445 million Premier Members Federal Credit Union in Boulder, the $62 million Boulder Municipal Employees Credit Union, the $57 million Weld Schools Credit Union in Greeley, the $119 million Sterling Federal Credit Union in Sterling, the $161 Fitzsimmons Federal Credit Union in Aurora, and other credit unions in the Centennial area, Santangelo said.
“We have spoken to all of those credit unions and each of them said they thought they may have a need for assistance,” said Santangelo.
The applications for assistance are starting to come in and the cash assistance amounts have ranged from $500 to $1,500 to help staff, volunteers and members to secure temporary living arrangements. MWCUA Foundation has distributed about $15,000 so far to about 10 applicants.
“Some of those members are estimated not to be able to go back to their homes until late December or the first of the year,” Santangelo said. “I had one (credit union) member come in from Lyons, (just north of Boulder) which has essentially been shut down.”
As donations are posted through CUAid.coop, NCUF will coordinate with the MWCUA Foundation in the disaster area to distribute money to affected credit union employees and members.
“To help alleviate the devastating effects of this disaster, 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,” said Christopher Morris, NCUF director of communications.
All of the donations through CUAid will go to credit union disaster relief. In the event that all donations are not used for Colorado Flooding relief, NCUF will transfer any and all unused funds to its general disaster relief fund for future disaster relief efforts.
To donate, please go to CUAid.coop.