MADISON, Wis. (1/4/10)--A New York Times article last week sparked some generous donations to the World Council of Credit Union’s MatchSavings.org program. Times op-ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof noted MatchSavings in, “Sparking a Savings Revolution,” which focused on some savings programs for individuals worldwide to fight poverty and save for their futures (Dec. 30). The article provided a link to matchsavings.org. Since the mention, WOCCU has received about $5,000 in donations--many from the U.S. and the United Kingdom. “[Two days after the article], we saw donations come in like crazy from all over the world,” Jenny Bernhardt, WOCCU development communications officer, told News Now. “We’ve fundraised half of our yearly goal. It’s great timing with the end of the year.” MatchSavings.org has had about $14,500 in total donations since the beginning of the program. The site launched in February. The program builds on WOCCU’s global development programs. Savers open their first savings account at one of WOCCU’s partner credit unions in a developing country--currently rural Mexico. Savers establish a six-month savings goal and commit to regular monthly deposits. Contributors go to MatchSavings.org, choose which types of savings accounts they want to match--housing, education, microbusiness or health--and make a donation. At the end of the saving period, savers receive the givers' match on their savings principal, realize their savings goal and become members of a credit union that will help them reach their financial goals in the future. This month, Bernhardt plans to travel to Mexico with WOCCU colleagues to visit the savers--140 are participating. The savers began in October. They will complete the program in March and receive their match in April. The Wisconsin State Journal, a Wisconsin daily newspaper, also was to publish a story Sunday about WOCCU’s MatchSavings.org program.