WASHINGTON (6/17/10)--Credit union organizations now are eligible to apply for new Innovation Grants from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) through June 30. Innovation Grants are aligned with NCUF’s signature program, REAL Solutions, which aims to help the low-wealth achieve financial stability. However, participation in REAL Solutions is not required to apply for a grant. NCUF is seeking grant applications in any of REAL Solutions’ five service areas:
* Education. Innovation Grants assist credit union organizations participating in national financial education programs including Biz Kid$ and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE). They also support initiatives such as financial counseling, product awareness and staff training. * Transaction Services. Examples include check cashing, money orders, pre-paid stored value cards, remittances, second-chance/fresh-start checking and tax preparation. * Savings. Examples include prize-based savings, safe accounts, savings challenges and step-up share certificates. * Credit. Innovation Grants support initiatives that help nonprime borrowers build and improve credit through credit unions. Initiatives include alternative credit reports, citizenship loans, first and last rent loans, flexible loan policies, nonprime used-car loans, score builder loans and thin-file loans. * Homeownership. Examples include foreclosure assistance loans, green loans, Home Loan Payment Relief mortgages, Individual Taxpayer ID Number loans and timely repayment rewards.
“We have added a grant application criterion asking, ‘Can your project be replicated by other leagues or credit unions?’” said NCUF Executive Director Bucky Sebastian. “We’re looking to maximize our funding to help credit unions reach new members and deliver innovative services.” Credit unions, credit union service organizations, state credit union associations, state credit union foundations, and any other organizations owned or controlled by credit unions can apply for the grants. Grant dollar availability depends on how much credit union organizations invest in the Community Investment Fund (CIF). Those interested in applying for grants and/or investing in the CIF can contact Lois Kitsch at 407-616-2409.