The National Credit Union Foundation’s disaster relief fund has surpassed $2.5 million in donations—most of which were between $5 and $500. The Foundation reached this mark with an uptick in donations that came after calls for aid in the wake of wildfires raging across Northern California.
“It’s really quite alarming and at a time inconceivable the destruction and need,” Patelco Credit Union CEO Erin Mendez wrote in a news update on the California Credit Union League’s website.
As of Oct. 10, CCUL announced that at least 16 credit unions across six different counties had been affected. At the same time, the league and the Foundation set up a relief efforts through CUAid at CUAid.coop.
The league launched a disaster relief page where CU employees and members can keep informed about how the fires are affecting CU people, and find disaster relief resources. Grants are available for CU employees and board members to assist with immediate disaster-relief needs that result from evacuations.
Redwood Credit Union, in partnership with RCU Community Fund, The Press Democrat and state Senator Mike McGuire, is now accepting donations to aid relief efforts and assist victims of the 2017 North Bay fires. Community First Credit Union, in partnership with North Coast Opportunities, Inc., is now accepting tax-deductible donations at any of its branches or online.
All donations will go directly to those affected.
Based on the news reports on the league site, here’s what we know so far about how California CUs are dealing with the fires:
· Neither $3.4 million City of Ukiah Employees’ Credit Union or its employees have experienced loss yet, but the CU has been closed since Wednesday.
· All of $211.5 million Community First Credit Union’s branches are open, but two employees have lost homes while a handful of others are waiting to know if they have lost theirs. The league announced on Tuesday that CEO Todd Sheffield and several staff had been evacuated from their homes. The Santa Rosa-based CU is partnering with North Coast Opportunities, Inc., to serve the Lake and Mendocino counties and is directing residents to the Napa and Sonoma Community Foundations for donations in those counties. The CU is also working on special products for disaster victims.
· $10.5 billion First Technology Credit Union’s two Santa Rosa locations are without power and the league is still trying to determine what kind of assistance the CU needs. The Mountain View-based CU has reached out to other CUs in the area to offer assistance.
· One employee from $358 million First U.S. Community Credit has been evacuated.
· Employees from $21 million Hamilton Federal Credit Union may have lost their homes, but the CU is waiting for confirmation from CEO Charlene Moffett.
· $45 million North Bay Credit Union and $1 billion Operating Engineers Local Union #3 Federal Credit Union are both open for business and reaching out to affected members.
· $5.8 billion Patelco Credit Union has closed two branches. Some members have contacted the CU about lost homes. No employees’ homes have been damaged, but several have been evacuated. The Pleasanton-based CU is sending 50 employees today from its headquarters to help at the Santa Rosa food bank. The institution is also putting together about 1,000 care kits and battery charging packs to give away next week.
· $3.5 billion Redwood Credit Union has had to provide short-term shelter for more than 100 employees who have lost their homes or have been evacuated.
· $922.2 million Sierra Central Credit Union’s branches are undamaged, but the CU’s CFO, Stephanie Dickinson, has lost her home.
· One employee from $27 million Sonoma Federal Credit Union has lost their home.
· $11.1 billion Golden 1 Credit Union had one branch close for a day.
· $2.8 billion Travis Credit Union has closed one branch in Green valley and had several employees be evacuated.
· $245 million Eagle Community Credit Union had a few employees evacuated. The Lake Forest-based CU is opening a large corporate parking lot for the local firemen that have been staying at the hotel across the street from the CU’s headquarters in Lake Forest.
· All of $3.6 billion Wescom Credit Union’s employees have returned to their homes.
· $1.2 billion Credit Union of Southern California has had several employees evacuated. On Tuesday, employees from the Anaheim-based CU’s headquarters could see flames on two different hill sides, but the building is not in the fire’s path.
· $13.8 billion SchoolsFirst Credit Union has reopened its Anaheim Hills branch.
· $95 million Community Credit Union of Southern Humboldt’s phone lines are down as of Wednesday and the CU is monitoring road closures. The lobby of the CU is open with ATM and online banking functioning.
So far, at least 21 fires have left 31 dead, hundreds missing, more than 25,000 people have been evacuated, 3,500 structures destroyed, and at least 200,000 acres scorched.