CUAid Partners With MWCUA for Wildfire Relief

It was a difficult way to close out an already difficult year. After nearly two years of coping with a global pandemic, communities in Boulder were struck with yet another crisis when devastating wildfires swept through the area. Officials report that over 1,000 homes and 6,000 acres were destroyed, and tens of thousands of residents were displaced or forced to evacuate temporarily. The community rallied around its friends and neighbors, and help came from many directions. Among the organizations that assisted were area credit unions via CUAID and the MWCUA Foundation.

This should not surprise those familiar with the credit union culture, as the CU movement is known for its commitment to helping their local communities. These initiatives and collaborative measures speak to the heart of the movement and our commitment to our members and employees.

CUAid Partnership With MWCUA

The National Credit Union Foundation – via CUAid – partners with local Foundations to identify any credit union members impacted by disasters or catastrophes. CUAid grants are given to regional Foundations, which oversee local distribution. In the case of the Boulder area wildfires, CUAid put the Mountain West Credit Union (MWCUA) Foundation in charge of allocating and disbursing the grant money.

Danielle Brown, director of engagement for the national Foundation providing the grant, stated, “As soon as news of the wildfires broke, the Foundation was communicating with MWCUA, reminding them that CUAid is there to support our credit union family in times of need. This is what we do. This is the ‘People Helping People’ philosophy that sets the credit union movement apart from all other industries, and we are willing, able, and prepared to increase the grant at a moment’s notice if needed.”

Dr. Dan Santangelo, Executive Director of the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation, committed to matching the initial grant and any additional needed funds up to $50,000. “The CUAid grant will serve as some relief to those who have lost, in many cases, everything since the start of the new year,” said Santangelo. He noted that only a few credit union employees had reported damage at the time of the grant, but he was expecting more need to surface as the situation evolved.

Matching Grant Provides Funds up to $3,000 to Affected Members

The CUAid grant offered up to $1,500 to assist affected members with immediate living expenses, including food and shelter. The MWCUA matching grant increases the available funds to $3,000 per affected employee or volunteer. The Foundation also donated $8,000 to Community Food Share, a food bank fighting hunger in Boulder and Broomfield Counties. Community Food Share offers access to fresh, nutritious food through onsite and mobile pantries.

In addition to the MWCUA/CUAid grants, other MWCUA member credit unions assisted the wildfire response efforts individually, including:

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union: Pima Federal donated $5,000 to CUAid, a program of the National Credit Union Foundation.

Blue Federal Credit Union: The Blue Foundation will match donations made to the Blue Foundation Fire Relief Fund, up to $100,000, increasing the potential contribution to up to $200,000.

Canvas Credit Union: The Canvas Foundation will match donated funds up to $200,000 and make allocations to the American Red Cross.

Denver Community Credit Union: Denver Community donated $5,000 to the Community Foundation Boulder County Relief Fund.

Elevations Credit Union and Elevations Foundation: The Elevations Foundation matched donations to the Elevations Foundation Fire Relief Fund up to $200,000.

Pima Federal Credit Union: Pima Federal donated $5,000 to CUAid, a program of the National Credit Union Foundation.

Premier Members Credit Union: The credit union pledged $50,000 to the Premier Gives Boulder County Wildfire Relief Fund.

TruWest Credit Union: TruWest donated $25,000, with funds allocated between the Elevations Foundation and the Canvas Foundation.

Westerra Credit Union: Westerra matched donations up to $50,000 for the Boulder County Wildfire Fund.

Local disasters often have lasting effects that are not neatly solved within a few weeks. If you are an MWCUA member who is still in need of aid, apply on the Foundation website.