7 Credit Unions Win Grants for Hispanic Outreach
Seven credit unions representing 95,000 members from Connecticut to California have received grants to help them reach more Hispanics in their communities.
The 2017 Warren Morrow Hispanic Growth Fund Grants mark the first year for the cash grants from CUNA, the National Credit Union Foundation and the Hispanic marketing firm Coopera based in Des Moines, Iowa. The grants are for up to $1,500 for initiatives focused on Hispanic membership growth.
The groups considered applications from credit unions with less than $500 million in assets that have earned a Juntos Avanzamos (“Together We Advance”) designation from the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.
The Juntos Avanzamos designation designated credit unions show that they serve the Hispanic and immigrant communities by offer bilingual services and information, and collaborate with community organizations that support Hispanics. The program is part of the federation’s mission to help people of modest means avoid predatory lenders and achieve financial independence.
The federation lists 69 credit unions on its website as having attained the designation.
“We received an overwhelming number of applications this year, which made the selection process very difficult,” said Coopera CEO Miriam De Dios Woodward. “However, reading through the applications, especially as we begin National Hispanic Heritage Month [Sept. 15 to Oct. 15], gave me a renewed appreciation for the work that’s being done across the country to better the financial lives of all consumers.”
The credit unions receiving grants were:
Ascentra Credit Union, Bettendorf, Iowa ($414.2 million in assets, 37,861 members) will use its grant for Hispanic outreach. This includes translating materials needed for upcoming presentations that will benefit the Esperanza Legal Assistance Center, a low-cost immigration services provider.
DC Federal Credit Union, Washington, D.C. ($57.5 million in assets, 11,325 members) will use the grant to support a young, Hispanic member service representative at DC FCU to attend the Cooperative Leaders Scholars Institute at this fall’s National Cooperative Business Association’s Impact Conference Oct. 4-6 in Alexandria, Va.
JetStream Federal Credit Union, Miami Lakes, Fla. ($196.8 million in assets, 21,704 members) will partner with a local high school to select a deserving scholarship recipient who is a member of a Hispanic low-income family and meets the following criteria: a 3.7 minimum GPA, a college in mind and an area of interest in business.
Members Credit Union, Cos Cob, Conn. ($28.7 million in assets, 3,017 members) will buy two Spanish seminar-in-a-box kits from CUNA and materials for financial education sessions with Hispanic youth. The credit union will then partner with local organizations to conduct the seminars.
Nueva Esperanza Community Credit Union, Toledo, Ohio ($1.9 million in assets, 653 members) will use the grant to support outreach, including financial education programs at local schools and community organizations.
Point West Credit Union, Portland, Ore. ($105.8 million in assets, 9,823 members) will use the grant to allow an employee to hold regular hours at a partner community organization’s headquarters to assist Hispanic members with account opening, lending needs and basic financial services and fiscal management.
Santa Cruz Community Credit Union, Santa Cruz, Calif. ($111.9 million in assets, 12,629 members) will use the grant to support development of a new website and mobile access. It also plans to offer more financial education sessions and Spanish-language seminars, as well as help local Hispanic nonprofits with their financial inclusion efforts.
The awards are named for Warren Morrow, a Hispanic activist who founded Coopera and dedicated his life to helping the underserved. He died in 2012 at age 34, and the fund for the awards was established in 2014. Coopera is owned by the Affiliates Management Company, the holding company of the Iowa Credit Union League.