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Disaster Relief

Cornerstone Foundation is committed to the credit union philosophy of "people helping people." That's why we stand ready to support credit union communities when disaster strikes.

Resource: United. Strong. Ready. Webinar

The Southeastern Credit Union Foundation and the Cornerstone Foundation have partnered to present a complimentary webinar, "United. Strong. Ready: Credit Union Disaster Preparedness," held on June 10, 2021.

During this engaging webinar, you will learn how to best prepare your credit union for any upcoming natural disasters. Special guests will also share their expertise, insights, and practical steps when faced with unforeseen disasters.

Disaster Grants Overview

Disaster Relief Grant

DisasterCredit 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.). Assistance is provided for basic needs such as food, shelter, and transportation. Personal expenses for the following are excluded from assistance: medical, dental, and funeral expenses caused by the disaster. All requests are subject to the grants committee review and approval. 


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 property repairs.

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 IIintended 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. Phase II grants may be provided up to $5,000. 

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. 

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Please contact Program Director Emily Moreno.