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Foundations Fuel Credit Union Philanthropy.

Byline: Peter Strozniak

There is a sense today that many Americans are stuck in a quandary of economic fragility - something credit unions said they see in their communities, employees and members.

"Things seem to be OK, but underneath there is a real economic fragility, and credit unions can play a role in trying to eliminate some of that fragility," Gigi Hyland, executive director for the National Credit Union Foundation, said. "It's a great place for credit unions to be serving because it is so needed."

Credit unions complete charitable and philanthropic work in many different ways to help alleviate that economic fragility.

But the Foundation has noticed a growing interest among cooperatives to form their own foundations, which can enable them to focus on philanthropic initiatives that produce positive and sustainable community development results.

CU Times took a closer look at what is driving this apparent foundation trend, including the recent formation of a foundation by the $2 billion Langley Federal Credit Union in Newport News, Va., as well as the foundation of the $31 billion SECU in Raleigh, N.C., which invested more than $100 million in education, housing, healthcare and human services over the last 10 years.

"Credit unions are realizing they can be part of the community strengthening process," Hyland explained. "It may be something that credit unions have done all along, but I think the trend part is that credit unions are realizing the power they bring to the table as the financial expert, and how that can be leveraged with the expertise of other nonprofits, schools and local governments to really make a difference in the communities they serve."

Get more details and insights on how these credit union foundations are benefiting their communities in the Nov. 18, 2015 print issue of Credit Union Times.

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Publication:Credit Union Times
Date:Nov 9, 2015
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