Bridging Worlds: How local dollars can support Global Good
As member-focused financial cooperatives, credit unions have long been critical support systems in the communities they serve.
Beyond traditional financial services, they provide education, guidance and often act as referral services to other community-based organizations. But in today’s digital economy, the parameters of “community” have evolved.
But should Australian members’ money go towards supporting Ecuadorian entrepreneurs? According to Ciaccio, the answer’s a resounding yes.
Commitment to community
“The world is smaller than it has ever been. With that comes the potential for a global system like the credit union movement to be more effective than ever. As a system committed to improving financial access and inclusion for everyone, there’s no reason credit unions in Kansas shouldn’t support programs in Kenya.
TIFI, operating across several African nations, is bringing financing to small and medium enterprises, “providing jobs, supporting local economies and improving financial inclusion for members,” Ciaccio said.
At the same time, EIP is brining financial inclusion to Venezuelan migrants in Peru and Ecuador through dollars from credit unions in Ireland, Australia and more.
She adds, “In countries without our technological or financial infrastructure, the challenges facing [marginalized groups] are compounded. Financial inclusion is barely conceivable for 1.4 billion people every day. We have the potential to change that.”
Like the financial crises that overly-impact marginalized communities, so too do environmental catastrophes. Again, credit unions have the potential to shift this narrative.
Ciaccio added, “The World Council for Credit Unions recently launched the Climate Influencers Network that promises to be a truly global cooperative effort in education, implementation and action related to more environmentally positive operations for credit unions.
“This is a chance for us to put our money where our mouth is and address one of the key drivers of financial inequity across the world.”
According to Ciaccio, who is responsible for WFCU’s fundraising efforts, credit unions in every nation can tap into unrealized potential by putting local dollars to use in distant communities.
“It can be hard to picture the value of a dollar beyond your own borders, but the truth is it can stretch so much further than you think. Our Members Helping Members campaign shows just how far money can stretch: Whether it’s $7 providing free debit card access to economic migrants in South America, or $700 providing support to Ukrainian farmers—these are fees that most US-based credit unions can afford.
“There’s untapped, unrealized potential here for us to collectively, cooperatively, Do Global Good.”
You can contribute to international programs directly by donating to Members Helping Members.