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Pandemic Response Strategy

Cornerstone Foundation understood the need to take care of Cornerstone-region credit unions and their staff during this unprecedented time. We are proud of our traditional disaster relief efforts and our ability to spring into action when natural disasters strike our region and elsewhere. However, the public health crisis of 2020 was more far reaching than anything we have ever experienced and did not meet our current criteria for disaster relief.

Therefore, we started with the discovery phase of understanding what problems need to be solved today and in the months and years to come. We asked, How can we help in a way that has a ripple effect, spreading from credit union staff to members, using immediate and long-term assistance? In doing so, we also wanted to keep our purpose constant and stay true to our mission of empowering people to improve their financial well-being.

The Foundation’s Pandemic Response Strategy was partially powered by:

Cornerstone Resources
CUNA Mutual Group
Catalyst Corporate FCU
CO-OP Financial Services
CU Solutions Group

Components of the Pandemic Response Strategy

ficep pandemic strategy

Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCEP)


Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC) Toolkit


Free one-on-one financial counseling


Affordable e-learning


If you have any questions about the Pandemic Response Strategy, please refer to the FAQ.

ficep pandemic strategy

Financial Counseling Certification Program

The Financial Counseling Certification Program (FiCEP) is an enhanced and unique training program for credit union staff that combines the convenience of a self-study program with group hands-on learning. Students learn the skills and knowledge necessary to assist and empower members to improve their financial well-being. Upon completion of the 8-module program, graduates become Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors (CCUFC), which will enable them to reap these benefits:

  • Acquire skills to help those experiencing financial difficulties
  • Reduce delinquencies and charge-offs
  • Grow product and service revenue
  • Demonstrate the credit union difference
  • Attract new members

The Foundation offered two program options: standard or accelerated*.

Accelerated: May 18 through the week of July 24

Standard: June 22 through the week of Nov. 6

Unfortunately, the deadline has passed to participate in the FiCEP program offered through the Pandemic Response Strategy. We are pleased to report that 324 credit union professionals have received their Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor designations through this offering!

2021 program offering: As the pandemic continues, the Cornerstone Foundation understands the increasing need for members and consumers to seek financial counseling. To help you and your credit union meet these needs, the Foundation is offering the FiCEP program for half the cost in 2021. Get more details and register.

If you have questions, please contact us.

* Student understands that, barring extraordinary circumstances, they must complete the full program in the provided time frame (applicable to the pandemic response strategy offering). If not completed, the student will be responsible for reimbursing the Foundation for the original cost of the program, $550.


Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC) Toolkit

There are approximately 1,000 Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors (CCUFCs) in the Cornerstone region. The Foundation provided a CCUFC Toolkit containing resources to help counselors guide their members through these trying times.

The goal of the CCUFC Toolkit is to: 1) empower the CCUFC to be as effective as possible, especially in this time of uncertainty, and 2) continue to build upon their skills and knowledge as they help members navigate their individual paths to financial health.

The toolkit covers the following elements, which are all intricately connected:

  • Finance
  • Coaching
  • Counseling
  • The cycle of change
  • Building relationships



Free one-on-one financial counseling

BALANCEThe Foundation has partnered with BALANCE to offer all 30,152 staff members in the Cornerstone region the opportunity to receive one-on-one coaching with a licensed financial coach/counselor for one year. Participants in this service will receive:

  1. A toll-free hotline (888-456-2227) for credit union staff and their dependents to call with money management questions, schedule appointments for free budget counseling, or request information on a wide variety of financial issues. ** During their first call, credit union staff will need to state that they are with the Cornerstone Foundation, not their credit union.
  2. Free, comprehensive, one-on-one money management, budget, and debt counseling to be provided by telephone.
  3. Educational materials and resources in electronic format to assist with personal finance education and personal financial wellness.
  4. Two free monthly educational webinars.
  5. Credit reports at participant's cost, with access to certified credit report reviewers to clarify content, answer questions, and provide tools to assist with fraud and/or legitimate dispute issues. Participant will be encouraged to request a free credit report. If participant is unable to receive a free credit report, the participant will be charged the current contracted price between BALANCE and the credit reporting agency.
  6. Debt solutions at participant’s cost.
  7. Access to the BALANCE housing department for participants who need special help with housing issues, from first-time home buying to foreclosure prevention.

YES, I would like to offer this service to my credit union staff! What’s next?

  1. Provide the toll-free hotline to staff immediately, OR
  2. To learn more, watch the educational webinar (Password: 8b^gg2$$) or view the flyer, then provide the hotline to staff.

This offering will be available to all credit union staff until Apr. 30, 2021.



Affordable e-learning


The Foundation believes that financial capability is critical to societal stability and that we, as part of the credit union movement, should help develop more capable and competent citizens. The reality is, we are not born with decision-making skills; we learn them. To adequately steer our members in the direction of financial freedom, we must empower them with the tools, information, skills, and resources necessary to turn the wheel.

As life is changing before our eyes, the need to adapt is as real as the changes themselves. Credit union members and staff will increasingly turn to alternative payday lenders during this unprecedented time. This is OUR time as credit unions to truly make a difference by tuning in to our members’ overall financial health and staying true to our People Helping People philosophy.

The ability to offer a robust adult financial education e-learning platform is generally dependent upon a credit union’s asset size and capacity, among many other factors. The Foundation has partnered with three financial capability providers to offer affordable e-learning platforms to Cornerstone-region credit unions for one year.

Each provider hosted an educational webinar about their programs, thus giving credit unions the opportunity to choose which platform best suited their needs and budgets.

The Foundation reimbursed a portion of the cost to host the program on credit union sites for one year, based on asset size, with the understanding that they are welcome to apply for a traditional financial capability grant in 2021 to continue the program.


Asset sizeFoundation coversCredit union covers
Less than $51 million50%50%
$51 million to $750 million40%60%
More than $750 million20%80%

Unfortunately, this offering is no longer available. If you are interested in providing an e-learning platform for your staff and members, please contact
Emily Moreno to discuss 2021 financial capability grant opportunities.

Financial Capability Providers


Founded in 1969, BALANCE is a nationally respected, HUD-approved financial services organization with a mission to end generational poverty. They do this one wallet at a time, helping people achieve financial health through debt reduction, credit score improvement, homeownership, and improved money management skills.


BALANCE empowers consumers to take control of their finances through one-on-one counseling, workshops, webinars, and a suite of digital financial education solutions. Their credit union partners get access to expert guidance on the topics that matter most to people: breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, paying off debt, saving for a home, and many others. With a customizable, co-branded website, partners tap into BALANCE's ever-growing library of eLearning modules, videos, podcasts, toolkits, articles, and calculators. BALANCE is always adding new content to address consumers’ specific financial needs and strive to offer innovative ways for partners to engage them, including multimedia content kits, fun contests, social media tips and tricks, and more.

Watch a demo (Password: 4w&7?@1U) of the BALANCE platform.

Visit for more details and to download a free Financial Wellness Booklet containing tactics for tackling the seven biggest financial concerns of Americans. If you have questions, please contact Erin Allen, SVP, at 909-319-8463.


Empowered by their success with financial literacy in higher education, the folks at iGrad are excited to bring financial wellness education to a much wider audience with Enrich.

iGrad is a San Diego-based financial technology company that provides artificial intelligence-powered financial wellness solutions to employers, financial institutions, and colleges and universities. iGrad’s Enrich Financial Wellness platform is used by more than 20,000 employers and more than 300 financial institutions to provide behavior-changing financial literacy education to employees, customers, and members. iGrad was recently recognized, along with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), with the Power of a Gold Award by the American Society of Association Executives for its APTA Financial Solutions Center. iGrad also received the 2019 Eddy Award for Financial Wellness by Pensions and Investments for its Enrich platform. For more information about the Enrich platform for employers and financial institutions, visit



In launching Enrich, iGrad leveraged their financial literacy expertise and award-winning platform to offer a product tailored to the unique needs of consumers, as well as the broader marketplace. The Enrich Financial Wellness Platform features dynamic and interactive tools, courses, and content to deliver a highly personalized experience for your members. Their in-house team updates the portal daily, and they are uniquely able to customize it to your specifications.

Watch a demo (Password: 0R?OJTW^) of the ENRICH platform.

Learn more about the ENRICH platform. If you have questions, contact Todd Woodlee, VP, at or 706-231-0150.



EVERFI is the leading education technology company that provides real-world education to millions of learners annually, including 30,000+ K-12 schools, 1,400+ colleges nationally, and 1,000 financial institutions. EVERFI’s proprietary learning platform empowers our partners to instill knowledge around critical topics in the classroom and the workplace for the benefit of their customers and the community. The platform is scalable, private-branded, digital learning that also collects data insights and tracking impact. Topics include financial literacy, entrepreneurship, sustainability, mental wellness, prescription drug abuse prevention, diversity and inclusion, workplace culture issues, and others important to our partners.


For Adults: EVERFI's platform is an interactive, mobile-first financial education solution that allows your institution to deliver personalized financial education to your consumers wherever they are. The platform is fully private-branded and customized to your institution’s brand and values, allowing you to embed custom content and calls to action in the learning experience. Digital content is bite-sized, available in English and Spanish, and features a library of 200+ personal finance topics for adults.

For Families: A series of digital financial education modules for young adults is also available for members to share with their children. 

Watch a demo (Password: 2Q$&Dt44) of the EVERFI platform.

Learn more about EverFi Achieve. If you have questions, contact Natalie Bloom at or 248-917-1552.