WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.-The smoldering clouds that hover over the Manhattan skyline and the gaping hole in the Pentagon are horrific reminders of Sept. 11′s terrorist attacks, which left a nation stunned and bruised. While rescue crews in New York continue to labor feverishly to locate the approximately 5,500 still missing and feared dead, credit unions across the country are resolutely practicing what they do best – rallying together to help others. From offering support to those credit union employees and members whose offices were left in the pile of debris that was the World Trade Center, to donations, credit unions have jumped into action. The day after the attack, CUNA Mutual donated $5,000 to each affected league for a total of $25,000. CUNA and the California Credit Union League, each contributed $5,000 to the disaster relief effort and the National Credit Union Foundation donated $10,000 to the NY Credit Union Foundation, to aid recovery efforts in New York City. In just 48 hours after the tragedy more than $50,000 flooded into the New York Credit Union Foundation's Disaster Relief Fund -and money is still pouring in. The fund will be used not only to help credit unions and members but also all in the general public who have suffered losses. "No one has remained unaffected by this horrible tragedy, but many of us are in a position to provide meaningful assistance," said David L. Chatfield, president and CEO of the California and Nevada Leagues NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar announced that technical assistance grants for disaster relief through the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund would be available for the five low-income designated credit unions located in the lower Manhattan area devastated by the recent tragedy. Grants may be provided in amounts up to $15,000. "In addition to activating the NCUA Disaster Relief Policy, we felt the need to provide more immediate assistance for these credit unions so they may continue to reach out and serve their community," Dollar said. "This national tragedy has affected families across America, particularly in this lower Manhattan area. We need to do everything in our power to help these credit unions to serve their community, where they can, with low-cost financial services." The timeline and qualification requirements for applying for this assistance have been waived for the eligible credit unions. The technical assistance grants are expected to help assist with the cost of operations relocation and clean up and repair of damage to office space. NAFCU has announced that it will begin collecting donations for the American Red Cross's humanitarian relief efforts. "Our hearts go out to all of those affected by this tragedy," said NAFCU Chair Jim Mills. "The loss of life and property is beyond comprehension, and we pledge our support in assisting in the monumental task of recovery and rebuilding." The NAFCU Foundation will be used to collect tax-deductible charitable donations, which in turn will be turned over to the Red Cross's relief efforts. Anxious to do more, desperate to help, credit unions have scrambled to create and contribute to other funds as well. Here is just a glimpse at the efforts: *Virginia Beach, Va.-based Chartway Federal Credit Union has set up a United We Stand relief program. Pledging a matching corporate gift, all Chartway FCU branch locations are accepting donations for the United Way Victim Relief Fund. Members receive "Proud to be an American" window stickers for each $1 donation to the United Way. *Raleigh, North Carolina-based State Employees' Credit Union, the Office of State Personnel and the North Carolina Credit Union Foundation, Inc. have created Teaming Up for America to provide a disaster relief fund for the victims. Collection containers will be placed in all SECU branches as well as participating state agencies, universities, community colleges and schools. *The Oklahoma Credit Union League has provided donation cans to credit unions statewide to collect funds from members, which will be directed to the American Red Cross. *Charlotte, North Carolina-based Charlotte-Metro CU has placed American Red Cross donation boxes in its lobbies. *Santa Rosa, California-based Redwood Credit Union has organized a company-wide Relief Fund / Canned Food Drive and 100% of the funds raised will be forwarded to the American Red Cross. *Several Michigan CUs and chapters have held special fundraisers and blood drives. The Michigan CU Foundation donated $5,000 and announced its support for The September 11th Fund, which has been created by the United Way and The New York Community Trust. Administered by the two organizations, the fund will provide immediate support to established emergency assistance agencies, such as the American Red Cross and other nonprofit health and human service agencies. *Waterloo, Iowa-based John Deere Community Credit Union has joined forces with The Radio Group to establish the Cedar Valley Attack Relief Fund. All funds raised will also be directly contributed to the September 11th fund. *Inundated with inquiries, the Pennsylvania Credit Union League sent a letter to all of its member credit unions asking them to direct their monetary donations to the New York Credit Union Foundation and included a copy of the Disaster Relief Donation Form. In addition, to support the rescue workers who are effortlessly volunteering their time, the staff of the Pennsylvania League also donated money and non-perishable food items, along with other requested items, to the local Salvation Army. *Melbourne, Florida-based Space Coast Credit Union has established a fund to accept donations for victims of the attacks in New York City and Washington. Donations are being accepted at all branches of Space Coast Credit Union. *In addition to contributing $10,000 to the NYCUF, the Ohio Credit Union Foundation has set up the World TradeCenter/Pentagon Relief Fund and will coordinate with the New York and the National CU Foundations to provide disaster relief funds to victims of the attacks in New York City and Washington. *Recently, NYCU League President/CEO Bill Mellin announced that the NYCUF has donated $10,000 to New York Public Private Initiatives, Inc., a group that will spearhead efforts to assist the families of municipal workers such as fire fighters, police and medical personnel lost and injured this week. *Sacramento, California-based The Golden One Credit Union, California Association of Highway Patrolmen and the Peace officers Research Association of California have donated seed money totaling $30,000 to a fund that will help families of law enforcement officers killed in the terrorist attacks. *The Anaheim Fire Fighters Association has established an account at Orange County's Credit Union to accept donations for the New York City Fire Fighters Relief Fund. *Navy Federal Credit Union has established the Navy Federal Pentagon Disaster Relief Fund to provide assistance to the victims and their families who were critically injured or killed in the Pentagon attack. The money collected in the fund will be donated to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, to support the men, women and families of the Armed Forces. In addition Navy FCU will make a corporate contribution to the American Red Cross. This list is by no means complete and all credit unions and leagues have helped in some form. Many CUs didn't want credit for their contributions saying it was the least they could do. While those too small to donate cash provided their communities spiritual and emotional support through prayers and candlelight vigils. [email protected]

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