Northwest Credit Union Foundation Activates Disaster Relief Amid Devastating Wildfires

Credit unions’ teams evacuate high-danger zones, branches suffer impact, members’ homes are lost.

9/14/2020

An unprecedented series of wildfires fed by intense winds has devastated communities across the Northwest this month, causing death and injuries, forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes, destroying property, and interrupting services to consumers.

The Northwest Credit Union Foundation has activated its disaster relief program to assist credit unions and their employees impacted by the wildfires — and in not surprising fashion, the Credit Union Movement is collaborating in the effort.

“We have been in close contact with credit union leaders across the region, and have learned how dire the situation is,” said Sharee Adkins, NWCUF Executive Director.

Outreach to members of the Northwest Credit Union Foundation found nearly 50 credit unions directly in the path of the fires. Hundreds of their employees were forced to evacuate, and branches in evacuation zones closed. Property damage and home loss is significant, particularly in Oregon.

Even as they dealt with the impact, credit unions stepped up immediately to help their members and their employees with special financial services. The NWCUF grants will bring additional support to credit union employees, board members, and volunteers. Grant applications are being accepted here. To streamline the process of getting help to people when it is most needed, credit union leadership may apply on behalf of their impacted team members, Adkins noted.

Many of the credit union branches need supplies, employee support, or other services. Impacted credit unions may also apply for assistance grants online.

“There is no question that 2020 has been a tough year,” Adkins said. “Time after time, credit unions have stepped up to serve their members and communities through difficult circumstances. The NWCUF is honored to convene credit unions so we can join together to help where it is most needed.”

Within hours after NWCUF activated the fund last week, Northwest credit union leaders and employees not impacted by this year’s wildfires, stepped up to donate to their colleagues. Contributions made through the foundation’s website will directly assist those impacted by the wildfires in the Northwest.

Editor’s Note: Founded with its “People Helping People” philosophy, the Credit Union Movement is known for its generosity and collaboration. Many other states are also seeing natural disasters elsewhere across the nation, such as wildfires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. In addition to giving through NWCUF, the credit union community can support the National Credit Union Foundation in its continuing CUAid Program, which accepts contributions and distributes assistance funds nationwide.