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WASHINGTON – In the wake of recognition from other fundraising professionals of its innovation and success, the National Credit Union Foundation is taking stock and evaluating its options for steps into the future, according to Steve Delfin, the NCUF’s executive director. “I believe we have a very solid start with a very strong push,” Delfin said. “Now we are listening to our different stakeholders and trying to measure our impacts and our different possible directions for the future.” Broadly speaking, the new Director (Delfin has been on the job three short months) divided the Foundation’s work in the coming months into efforts to create a more focused program, efforts to increase and diversify the Foundation’s sources of support and efforts to help the Foundation become a better source of information on social responsibility and philanthropy within the credit union mission. It is in the first area that Delfin said the Foundation has begun to meet with and listen to its various stakeholders around the credit union movement as well as external constituents as well. The goal, Delfin emphasized, is not to change Foundation grant making as much as to make sure that the Foundation’s efforts are focused and have the impact the Foundation wants to make in its giving. “We want to focus on making an impact because we also want to be better able to leverage our fund raising efforts,” Delfin said. “And when you work with other funders they want to be able to measure the impacts their efforts can have. A key part of that impact is sustainability and Delfin said that while he has met with CDCUs as part of this ongoing effort, the Foundation could not commit to fill in any of the funding gaps which may arise from the Administration’s proposal to cut federal funding. “There is no way that the Foundation could replace lost U.S. government money,” Delfin said, “but we have met with CDCUs and are interested in looking at how we can help them become more sustainable and grow in their mission with other funding sources.” The Foundation might be particularly interested in the Federation’s work with helping mainstream credit unions partner with and learn from CDCUs experience in working with low-income communities and reaching out to the underserved. Delfin said that the Foundation would explore the possibility in the future of allowing credit union employees and credit union members to directly make donations, not as investments to the Foundation’s ground breaking Community Investment Fund but as donations to the Foundation itself. The CIF is the mechanism that allows credit unions to invest in the Foundation’s grant making through their corporate credit unions, earn a return on their investment and fund the grant making as well. “We know that there are thousands of credit union employees around the country who would be interested in supporting the Foundation in some direct way, perhaps through an electronic format,” Delfin said. Prior to coming to the Foundation, Delfin’s work had partially focused on fundraising via the electronic and other electronic means and Delfin is the Chairman of the E-Philanthropy Foundation, a non-profit that promotes and furthers electronic giving, an idea which Delfin said he would like to see the Foundation put into place. “We really aren’t anywhere close to putting this into place yet, Delfin said, “but there may be room in the Foundation for an annual appeal to the overall credit union community for support.” Such an appeal might involve both credit unions and their employees and would likely presuppose the Foundation more carefully and clearly annunciate its vision and identity. “One of the reasons we are listening to our stakeholders so closely is to ascertain how well we are understood in the communities we serve,” Delfin said. -

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