18,587 Hours Donated In Va.

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During 2003 Virginia's 226 credit unions donated more than $1.07 million and 18,587 volunteer hours to charitable and community organizations in 2003, according to information compiled by the Virginia Credit Union League.

The largest single recipient of the financial cooperatives' generosity was the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which received $214,380 as the result of credit union fundraising efforts. Since 1991, many credit unions in Virginia have championed the Make-A-Wish cause, with total donations of more than $1.6 million.

Credit unions in Virginia also donated $29,435 to Children's Miracle Network. In addition, Virginia's credit unions are among the sponsors of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run, a world-class 10-miler held each April in Washington, D.C. Credit unions nationwide use their sponsorship of this event to raise funds for Children's Miracle Network, with a combined $270,000 donated in 2002 and 2003.

The remainder of 2003's donated funds- some $833,000-were given to the American Cancer Society, Toys for Tots, local United Ways Campaigns, the American Red Cross and others. Credit unions also donated generously to community food banks, clothes closets, various prevention programs, and scores of other local and charitable causes, the league said.

In addition to money, Virginia's credit unions donated 18,587 volunteer hours to various community and charitable causes during 2003. The value of that contribution at minimum wage is more than $95,000.

Credit unions also spent more than 1,700 volunteer hours teaching school children about personal finance. Since 1999, Virginia's credit unions have reached more than 15,000 school children with lessons on basic budgeting and money management. The Virginia league's board has identified financial literacy, particularly among youth, as a top issues.

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