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HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. – Investments in the New Jersey Credit Union Foundation (NJCUF), a corporate arm of the New Jersey Credit Union League, have exceeded more than $4 million since it was created almost a year ago. As a result of its successful fundraising efforts, the NJCUF is preparing to distribute $18,000 in grants to the state’s credit unions to improve financial literacy and education. Building on the theme of “people helping people,” the NJCUF is an opportunity for credit unions to assist other credit unions, in addition to benefiting themselves. Credit union funds invested in the NJCUF, in turn, are invested with the Community Investment Fund of the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF). Investor credit unions retain ownership and control of their funds and receive 50% of the interest income; the other half is divided between the state and national foundations-with NCUF dividends capped at 2%. “Going out to visit credit unions, we found a real need for credit union workers and credit unions to get educated,” says Tom Shaughnessy, president and CEO of the NJCUL, who also serves as one of four state foundation board members. “Credit unions were calling the league for education opportunities at our expense, and we couldn’t afford that.” In addition to improving education, the foundation board hopes to improve the financial strength of New Jersey’s credit unions. Currently, 186 of the state’s 254 credit unions have assets of less than $20 million; only 22 have assets exceeding $100 million. The foundation also plans to launch an initiative to work specifically with small credit unions identified by the National Credit Union Administration as being in poor financial shape. Other plans for the foundation include greatly increasing the number of credit union investors. Shaughnessy hopes to have five or six more credit unions on board before the end of the year-nearly doubling the number of credit unions investing to date. He also hopes to build on the success of foundation-specific fundraising efforts. On Sept. 9, 2004, the NJCUF sponsored a golf outing that raised $7,200 from 53 participating golfers. “It was a terrific first outing in New Jersey,” says NJCUF board member Dirck Van Deusen, senior vice president of corporate relations with Empire Corporate FCU. “There we were, trying to dodge Hurricane Francis, but the turnout and enthusiasm of everyone there was fantastic.” Credit unions interested in the NJCUF should call the New Jersey league at (609) 448-2426. For more information about the Community Investment Fund, log on to the NCUF Web site at www.ncuf.coop. [email protected]

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