Championing, Connecting and Equipping the Global Credit Union Community

By Calyn Ostrowski, Director, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions

Funding from the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions brings access to financial services worldwide.

The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, World Council of Credit Unions’ official gift-receiving and fundraising arm, plays a catalytic role in advancing the credit union movement and creates meaningful, impactful and lasting connections for credit unions — and their members — around the globe. Through the generosity of donors, the Worldwide Foundation is building a global community of credit unions and helping to improve the lives of millions worldwide.

Contributions from Worldwide Foundation supporters allow World Council to champion the credit union difference, connect the global credit union community and equip people with access to high quality and affordable financial services. Drawing on the strength of their global network, funds raised by the foundation support credit union development activities, the Global Women’s Leadership Network and the International Partnerships Program.

Over the past four years, the foundation has delivered $1.8M in financial aid to credit union organizations affected by international disasters such as the Haitian earthquake and, more recently, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The foundation is currently supporting the rebuilding efforts of nine Philippine credit unions and their branches, impacting the lives of 240,800 members. Funds finance the purchase of rebuilding materials and institutional-capacity items such as office equipment, generators, computers and furniture.

The International Partnership Program brings together credit union leaders worldwide to share cutting-edge technology and best practices, providing new knowledge, connections and resources for all participants. This program regularly works with U.S. credit union leagues and, in 2013, supported 20 partnerships and facilitated 28 educational exchanges between emerging and developed credit union systems. The list of current partnerships includes:

  • Bahamas/Massachusetts Credit Union League
  • Belize/Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union
  • Brazil/Cornerstone Credit Union League
  • Colombia/Maryland & DC Credit Union Association
  • Costa Rica/League of Southeastern Credit Unions
  • Dominican Republic/Wisconsin Credit Union League
  • Ecuador OSCUS/BCU
  • Estonia/Virginia Credit Union League
  • Ghana/Jefferson Financial Credit Union
  • Guatemala/California & Nevada Credit Union League
  • Jamaica/Cornerstone Credit Union League
  • Mexico Federación Alianza/Mountain West Credit Union Association
  • New Zealand/Central 1 of Canada
  • Paraguay/Minnesota Credit Union Network
  • Peru/Vermont Credit Union League
  • Poland/Georgia Credit Union Affiliates
  • Puerto Rico/Credit Union Association of New York
  • Romania/Ohio Credit Union League
  • Russia/Louisiana Credit Union League, including Altai CU Association/Barksdale FCU
  • Trinidad & Tobago/Connecticut Credit Union League

Advancing women’s access to financial services in developing countries is just one objective of the foundation’s Global Women’s Leadership Network program. This initiative also focuses on improving the status of executive credit union women and provides a platform for women to come together and identify strategies for increasing the number of female CEOs and board members within the credit union industry. Since the network began five years ago, over 600 women from 40 countries have become members and 15 chapters have developed in local communities.

Funds from the foundation expand the depth and magnitude of World Council’s development projects around the globe. Currently, the organization is working in eight countries to bring financial services to those who need it most, including farmers, women and small business owners living in Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico and Rwanda.

In 2013, the global credit union community demonstrated its support by contributing $1.379 million to the Worldwide Foundation. Eighty percent of the foundation’s resources come from credit unions, leagues and individual donors living right here in the U.S. Please consider joining the global movement and helping improve credit unions through a donation to World Council’s foundation. For additional information, visit their website or contact Calyn Ostrowski, director, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions. Make a contribution today at

Questions about this story? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225,

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