MADISON, Wis. (12/15/09)--The executive director of Worldwide Foundation for the World Council of Credit Unions was featured Sunday in the front page of the business section of the Wisconsin State Journal. In the article, "Bringing financing to those in need," Valerie Breunig describes her job raising money from U.S. credit unions for WOCCU's work in microfinance aide and other programs to alleviate poverty in developing countries, such as Kenya, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bolivia and Colombia. She travels to program sites two or three times a year to monitor progress of the foundation's programs and noted that "Everybody loves to tell you about their credit union, when it formed, how it started, who the original founder was." Most of her job involves fundraising. Last year, she and an assistant raised $1.4 million, mostly from U.S. credit unions, to support WOCCU programs. Larger program grants are raised by staff in Washington, D.C., through donations from corporations, foundations and government agencies, the article said. Breunig noted that program sites are chosen in areas where WOCCU can get funding. Asked about the economic downturn's effect on giving by credit unions, Breunig said gifts are down this year because some credit unions have been hit hard by the downturn. In response, the organization cut some regional training in Latin America. However, she said, "I'm feeling like we're through the worst (period)."