WASHINGTON and MADISON, Wis. (1/15/10)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and others in the credit union movement have begun rallying around the relief efforts to help Haiti's 175 credit unions, their employees and volunteers, and their members impacted by Tuesday's deadly earthquake. As of Thursday afternoon, about 24 hours after the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions and the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) activated their sites for collecting donations, more than $83,570 combined had been contributed from the credit union movement. Valerie Breunig, executive director of the Worldwide Foundation noted that it had pledges/receipts for almost $40,000 by mid-afternoon Thursday. NCUF, which is collecting funds from U.S. credit unions through the CUAid.coop website, had collected $43,570. CUNA announced Thursday it had contributed $20,000 through the "CUAid.coop" program, the national online giving center for credit unions, to assist credit union employees, volunteers and members in Haiti. All CUAid.coop contributions are directed by NCUF's Disaster Relief Fund. CUNA made the contribution in conjunction with the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), which had 16 project team members working on its microfinancing project in Haiti. They are safe but struggling with lack of housing and their building was demolished (See related story, "We survived. The building has not," in today's News Now for eyewitness accounts.) "On behalf of the American credit union movement, CUNA is making this contribution to help the Haitian movement assist its members and its country to endure this catastrophe," said CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica. "We encourage other U.S. credit unions and organizations to link to CUAid.coop to offer their own employees and members a donation option to help their fellow credit union employees and members in the disaster area. The help is greatly needed," Mica added. Mica noted that the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) authorized a $7,500 contribution through CUAid.coop. NCUF contributed $10,000 to the efforts, said Jill Stevenson of NCUF's marketing and communciations staff. Meanwhile, leagues in various states such as Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Louisiana for starters, were appealing to their members to assist their colleagues in Haiti. Haiti's 175 credit unions serve more than 400,000 members, according to WOCCU. The United Nations FCU (UNFCU), based in New York, has more than 500 members in Haiti and told News Now Thursday it continues to wait for information about its members there. The United Nations said Thursday hat 16 U.N. peacekeepers were killed and more than 140 U.N. employees were missing in the rubble (The New York Times Jan. 14). Its headquarters downtown in Port-au-Prince and operations at the Christopher Hotel on the mountainside were demolished. According to the International Red Cross, up to three million people have been affected, and the death toll is feared to be in the thousands. Many victims are sleeping in the streets. All donations made via CUAid.coop will be forwarded to credit union organizations in affected areas through NCUF, which is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For more information, U.S. credit unions should go to CUAid.coop and click on "Donate Now."