Northwest Credit Union Foundation’s Wildfire Disaster Relief Provides Immediate Aid

An unprecedented series of wildfires fed by intense winds recently devastated communities across the Northwest in September, causing death and injuries, forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes, destroying property, and interrupting services to consumers.

In response, the Northwest Credit Union Foundation activated its Disaster Relief Program to assist credit unions and their employees impacted by the wildfires — and in not surprising fashion, the Credit Union Movement collaborated in the effort, donating more than $100,000 to the efforts. More than a dozen credit unions, partners, and individuals contributed to the fund.

“We were in close contact with credit union leaders across the region, learning how dire the situation was,” said Sharee Adkins, NWCUF Executive Director. “In true ‘People Helping People’ spirit, Northwest credit unions responded immediately.”

Nearly 50 credit unions were directly in the path of the fires. Hundreds of their employees were forced to evacuate, and branches in evacuation zones closed. Property damage and home loss was significant, particularly in Oregon. Even as they dealt with the impact, credit unions stepped up immediately to help their members and their employees with special financial services.

The NWCUF grants are bringing additional support to credit union employees, board members, and volunteers. Many of the credit union branches needed supplies, employee support, or other services.

“We had 32 employees and volunteers that were evacuated from their homes — some had family members they could stay with, but some didn’t, and they had no option but to go to a hotel. (NWCUF) funds really helped those folks in particular,” said Aaron Goff, President and CEO of Clackamas Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Oregon City.

Within hours after NWCUF activated the fund, Northwest credit union leaders and employees not impacted by this year’s wildfires, began helping their colleagues and members. Read more about their response here.

“There is no question that 2020 has been a tough year,” Adkins said. “Time after time, credit unions have stepped up to serve their members and communities through difficult circumstances. The NWCUF is honored to convene credit unions so we can join together to help where it is most needed.”