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CU System ICU Day donations help rural poor
MADISON, Wis. (10/15/09), an online matched savings program launched earlier this year by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), will participate in America’s Giving Challenge to help the rural poor in Mexico for International Credit Union (ICU) Day.
Click to view larger image Lucrecia Alejo Morales joined the program to replace the leaky cardboard roof on her one-room home. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
The program,, could net up to $50,000 based on the number of daily donations made to before Nov. 6. The challenge starts today on social networking site Facebook. The cause with the highest total number of daily donations will receive $50,000, and $25,000 will go to the second-place winner. The next five causes will receive $10,000 each. There will be two daily awards of $1,000 and $500 going to the causes with the first and second most unique donations on any day of the challenge. “It would be an outstanding achievement for this program if we could see as many credit union people as possible from all over the world supporting on ICU Day,” said Brian Branch, WOCCU executive vice president and chief operating officer. “It is a great opportunity to leverage funds through social networks that can help even more people living in poverty begin to save for the first time. We can’t afford to let that opportunity pass us by.” recently completed its pilot phase, in which 117 rural savers became new members of Caja Yanga CU in Mexico's Veracruz state. Savers made six set monthly deposits for a particular savings goal. The amount was later matched to help them with housing, microbusiness, education or healthcare. Of the 120 participating savers, 83% had never used formal financial services, 98% completed the program and 99% continue to save even after the program has ended. “I never saved money, but the program has shown me how to save for the future and teach my children how to save as well,” said participant Guadalupe Jazmín, who saved funds for additional therapy sessions for her daughter with special needs. “Unfortunately, no one knows what will happen tomorrow, but this way my children will understand that through savings, they can depend upon themselves.” With the pilot phase complete, 120 new first-time savers from eight communities in Veracruz state begin the program today. Savers will select savings goals and be required to save 900 pesos--or $70--over six months, an amount to be matched by donations received through and the Facebook cause. Once the savers have completed the requirement, they can use their funds in addition to the matching amount pledged by online givers to achieve their goals.
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