First it was Haiti and now it will be Japan disaster victims becoming recipients of financial generosity from members of the $726 million Altura Credit Union of Riverside, Calif. Altura is joining local civic leaders in honoring Riverside’s sister city, Sendai, Japan, by contributing support to the Japan Relief Fund effort.
“I guess Altura members understand financial suffering which is why we have been among the first to join the local effort,” said a spokeswoman for Altura, which is located in an area of southern California now recovering from the deep recession.
Under Altura’s fundraising campaign, Altura members are being asked to contribute $1 from their accounts earmarked for victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, with a goal of topping the $42,000 raised by the CU for Haiti earthquake victims.
“I think we’ll make it,” said the spokeswoman. The fundraising effort began in earnest late last week.
“The images of the tragedy in Japan are stunning,” said Altura CEO Mark Hawkins. “We want to do what we can to help and yet we understand that people in the Inland Empire have their own financial struggles, but by pooling our donations, we can make a real difference.”
Donations will be collected for one month, and then 100% of the funds collected will be donated to the American Red Cross.
Meanwhile, the National Credit Union Foundation said it is encouraging CUs to steer members toward Red Cross donations using online vehicles.
NCUF’s CUaid program, used in past disaster relief programs, does not apply in this circumstance since “all the money raised from CUaid goes to NCUF’s Disaster Relief Fund, the only relief fund dedicated to helping credit unions, their employees and members recover from major disasters.”
In this case, “since there aren’t any credit unions affected per the World Council of Credit Unions, it isn’t the right vehicle,” said the spokesman, adding that “a relief organization such as the Red Cross makes more sense to provide assistance in the affected areas.”