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Grant funding to supply PPE for Ukrainian credit unions amid coronavirus

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A grant from the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions is providing personal protective equipment for credit union workers in Ukraine.

CUs there were forced to shut their doors for more than two weeks earlier this spring due to the coronavirus while banks and insurance companies remained open. Ukrainian credit unions do not offer online financial services and in-person interactions placed members and employees at higher risk of contracting the virus. Ukraine’s average credit union member is also over the age of 50, which puts them at higher risk of contracting the virus. A joint advocacy effort from the World Council of Credit Unions and others led to the order being lifted in early April.

Now a Project Storm Break grant from the foundation and WOCCU’s Credit for Agriculture Producers program will help fund the purchase of masks, gloves and other equipment for credit union professionals and members at CAP partner institutions in Ukraine. WOCCU said in a press release Wednesday that the equipment will help reduce the risk to members and staff while also keeping CUs compliant with Ukraine’s COVID-19 regulations.

“The whole point of our Project Storm Break fundraising drive in 2019 was to ensure we could get ahead of the next disaster and provide support to credit unions as soon as it hit,” Mike Reuter, executive director of the Worldwide Foundation, said in a press release. “While we may have been preparing for an earthquake or weather-related disaster, we believe it is vital to utilize this fund during the COVID-19 pandemic with such a global need to keep credit union employees safe.”

The Credit for Agriculture Producers Program is working with 23 partner credit unions in the Eastern European nation to increase access to financial services and lending small agriculture enterprises. All 23 institutions will receive PPE as part of the grant.

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