MADISON, Wis. – Funds from the massive charity effort launched by credit unions, their trade organizations and vendors for Katrina relief were being disbursed in large numbers last week with the National Credit Union Foundation giving out by far the largest -$550,000 to the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama Leagues. “These are funds that we hope will help credit unions and their employees put their lives back together in addition to helping restore credit union operations in the affected areas,” said Steve Delfin, executive director of the Foundation. The Louisiana League received $250,000 with $150,000 each for the Mississippi and Alabama Leagues “and we are leaving it to the discretion of the Leagues to determine how the moneys are utilized,” said Delfin noting there have been requests for housing and other life necessities. So far NCUF said it has received a record $1.5 million in pledges surpassing the $1.4 million contributed for CU victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, said Delfin lauding CUs for their generosity and citing “the immense need that is still out there.” Still, he said, “any new funds that credit unions and others can direct through NCUF will go directly to the leagues in the affected area.” NCUF is encouraging all credit unions, leagues and others in the CU system to get their dollars raised to NCUF as quickly as possible. As funds become available, NCUF “will distribute them quickly,” he said. Most of the $1.5 million contributed through NCUF, said Delfin, represents donations of large CUs, Leagues or other entities but in the future, online donations from individuals will be a practical way of raising funds for disasters such as Katrina. Delfin also stressed that of the funds raised NCUF “is not taking out administrative costs in moving the money.” In essence, NCUF is absorbing all of the expenses related to the fund raising. Meanwhile, League Foundations across the country were stepping up their fund raising with the Texas Foundation receiving $258,000 in pledges. Last week it overnighted an emergency $9,000 to help 18 employees from the Louisiana Credit Union League “who have lost everything.” The Oklahoma League Foundation said it has collected $103,240 in pledges and has mailed $62,000 to NCUF. Late last week the Colorado League Foundation said it has raised $15,000 and it was also offering technical support “to any of the 535 credit unions affected by the hurricane in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. “It is our hope that donations from Colorado credit unions will ease the burden of friends and colleagues along the Gulf Coast region, and help them rebuild and regain normalcy in their everyday lives,” stated League President/CEO John Dill. Delfin of NCUF said he understood that some state Leagues and Foundations are developing their own formulas for distributing the collected funds, whether it is to NCUF or local Red Cross groups depending on the need. A handful of Little Rock, Ark. CUs, citing the flood of 60,000 evacuees in that state, have insisted that a portion of funds raised in that state go to local church groups and charities to help the displaced rather than being sent to NCUF. Several Arkansas CUs have made large contributions to both NCUF and local agencies. Directors of the Arkansas League Foundation were slated to meet late last week to discuss fund distribution and it was reported there were similar discussions among members of the Texas League Foundation. [email protected]

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