Aid to CU employees continues as Carolinas Foundation distributes $160K+ in COVID-19 relief grants
Thursday, July 9, 2020
As the economy continues to weather this pandemic-induced recession, credit unions are working even harder to serve members and those in their communities. It’s evident the COVID-19 crisis is threatening the financial health of households as loan modifications for members reach an all-time high. Also reeling are the front-line employees, credit unions’ financial first responders.
Through its Disaster Relief Fund, the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation is working to alleviate the financial stress of credit union employees in the Carolinas hardest hit and facing significant financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the initial announcement of the COVID-19 Relief Grant program in early April, the Foundation has processed well over 250 grants from credit union employees, approving funding for 196 grants totaling $161,900.
In an announcement to credit union CEOs in June, Foundation President Lauren Whaley noted that the qualifiers for financial hardship were expanded to include loss of income in the household OR an increase in expenses, with little to no savings as a safety net. The Foundation found that several single-parent households were unable to qualify under the parameters of loss in income but are facing significant financial hardship because of increases in the cost of childcare, groceries, and the like.
The Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund is a resource for credit unions and communities that are in need of assistance because of a disastrous event. Through the years, the Foundation has worked with the National Credit Union Foundation, state and local government officials and credit unions in providing aid to those in need. More than $2 million has been awarded in grants since the Foundation’s disaster fund was established. Particularly impactful are the grants to credit union employees who can recover from a financial hardship beyond their control and refocus their efforts on doing what they do best, serving credit union members.
“We are especially appreciative of the generosity of credit unions and business partners in the Carolinas who have donated to the Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund this year and, just as importantly, in years past,” noted Whaley in her CEO communication. “This year’s donors include Allegacy, Anderson Federal, Beam Construction, Coastal, Excess Share Insurance, Fort Bragg, Greenville Federal, Palmetto Citizens, SC Federal, Sharonview, Shuford, and State Employees’ CU. Further, support from the Carolinas Credit Union League accounting department has been paramount in delivering grant funds to credit union employees as quickly as possible.”
Recipients of the grants during these unprecedented times have expressed gratitude and appreciation for how the credit union industry has stepped in to support their fellow peers.
“I would like to say ‘Thank You’ to you and the Credit Union Foundation for extending this grant,” said one of the recipients. “I have worked in the credit union industry for close to twenty years. The credit union philosophy remains true, even during these challenging times—People Helping People!”
How to Apply for A Grant:
Any employee of a credit union based in the Carolinas is eligible to apply if financial hardship is the result of loss in income OR an increase in expenses, either of which are directly tied to COVID-19. The application includes a narrative and detailed financial hardship worksheet to be completed by the applicant to demonstrate hardship. Expense documentation may also be requested by the Foundation. Applicants are approved by the Foundation for a grant amount based on expenses that cannot be covered by the current income or savings balance. Applicants who are approved for a Phase I grant can re-apply within 60 days for a Phase II grant if financial hardship is still evident.
- Phase I Relief Grants began in April and remain available. Any employee who has not received a COVID-19 grant from the Foundation is eligible to complete and submit an application for consideration. The maximum grant for Phase I is $1,000.
- Phase II Relief Grants are now available to employees who previously received funds from a Phase I Relief Grant but continue to experience financial hardship 60 days after their Phase I application was signed. The maximum for a Phase II grant is $1,000.
More details on the COVID Relief Grants can be found on the Foundation’s website and also on the FAQ page. Credit unions in the Carolinas have made this electronic application available to its employees or it may be requested at DisasterRelief@carolinasfoundation.org.
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