Credit unions are known for their quick and generous support of disaster relief efforts. The Cornerstone Foundation can respond to disasters because of credit unions'
commitment to "people helping people." Working together with the National Credit Union Foundation, CUNA, other Leagues, and affected credit unions, funds are distributed directly to those credit union staff and volunteers in need, so they can stabilize
their lives and continue to serve their members.
The term “disaster” for grant guidelines shall include natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, and other weather disturbances, as well as man-made disasters such as fire and acts of terrorism. The term
shall exclude; financial disasters such as recessions and depressions and local, regional, or national health events such as accidents, epidemics, or pandemics.
Cornerstone region credit union staff and volunteers currently employed or serving at the time of the disaster and during the grant process. Grants are limited per household and not per individual. Damages and losses that occur and are eligible to be
considered for assistance must be for primary residence or vehicle only. Excessive vehicles, second homes, or places of business shall be excluded. Grants are intended to assist with life-sustaining expenses and not lifestyle expenses.
Grant dollars are to assist with only the out-of-pocket expenses that credit union staff or volunteers are responsible to cover from their own personal loss after all other sources of financial assistance are considered (i.e. insurance, FEMA, Red Cross,
friends, and family, etc.).
The Foundation has established a two-phase process when disasters occur:
Phase I Emergency Relief Grant - available to credit union employees and volunteers to assist with immediate disaster relief needs, such as out-of-pocket costs that may result from being evacuated, insurance deductibles, and initial
Disasters may affect only one individual from the credit union or many, and the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation is able to assist no matter the size of the disaster.
Phase I grant applications are accepted year-round. Once submitted, the Cornerstone Foundation grants committee reviews and approves grants of up to $1,000.
After a large disaster occurs in the Cornerstone region of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, or Texas, the Cornerstone Foundation and Cornerstone League work closely with all parties and partners to determine the scope of the disaster and need.
A call for disaster relief donations will be issued if necessary. The Cornerstone Foundation will issue a call for grant applications from credit union staff and volunteers who seek financial assistance for immediate disaster-related needs.
A deadline for Phase I grant applications may be instated approximately 8 weeks after the large disaster occurs.
Phase II - intended to assist credit union employees and volunteers with additional significant needs. This is implemented only after the distribution of Phase I grants. This phase begins 90 days after the respective disaster and
is dependent on the funds available.
Cornerstone Foundation staff will reach out to the credit union CEO for a wellness status update on the Phase I grant recipient(s). Phase II grant applications are for credit union staff and volunteers who have sustained significant damage that extends
beyond any insurance, FEMA, or Red Cross benefits, and other sources of relief have been exhausted. Phase II grant applicants will be asked to state the specific extent of loss along with any other monetary relief that has been received.
All disaster relief grant applications require the formal signature of the credit union CEO. Senior credit union staff may not sign the application on behalf of the CEO. Incomplete applications may delay the process of approval, and the Cornerstone
Foundation reserves the right to not accept any incomplete applications. For more information about our Disaster Relief Grants, please see the detailed Disaster Relief Program document found on our website.
What's Not Covered
The Cornerstone Foundation does not provide grants for the following:
- General operating expenses – which include, but are not limited to the following: technology, digital banking, audits, policy reviews and assessments, equipment, payroll, furniture
- Capital campaigns or “bricks and mortar”
- Fraternal organizations
- Religious organizations for religious purposes
- Political entities, organizations, or activities
- Conference travel outside the continental US (apart from the Richard L. Ensweiler International Credit Union Development Educator Scholarship)
- Organizations that discriminate on the basis of sex, religion, gender, or national origin