The Power of Partnership: UNFCU Foundation and UNICEF USA

January 4, 2021

Partnership is at the core of the work UNICEF does on behalf of children across the globe. It is the beating heart of UNICEF USA’s efforts. In the 75 years since UNICEF’s inception, our partners have pushed forward with us in support of children, their families and the communities in which they live. This work realizes our shared vision for children, even in the most difficult contexts.

The United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) embodies this relentless commitment to children. UNFCU first supported UNICEF’s work in 1995. In 2015, UNFCU established the UNFCU Foundation to sustain the path out of poverty through healthcare and education for women and children. Through its relief campaigns, UNFCU Foundation has remained committed to achieving results for children since. Individual donors and sponsors, the UNFCU Foundation Board, as well as UNFCU members and staff each contribute to these efforts.

According to Yma Gordon-Reid, the executive director of the UNFCU Foundation, the nonprofit supports organizations that share its belief that “investing in women and youth benefit the entire family and community. Our grants and partnerships reflect this value and our mission.”

On 1 March 2018 in Dominica Kaioh and Khamylia play near the river that burst its bank during Hurricane Maria on September 2017. © UNICEFECA/2018/Andrew Ward

The work of UNFCU Foundation spans access to critical healthcare and the eradication of extreme hunger and poverty through the empowerment of women and youth. The Long Island City, NY-based philanthropic organization also has a strong commitment to disaster relief. This has particularly guided the partnership between UNICEF USA and the UNFCU Foundation. In addition to its annual grants, the UNFCU Foundation commits resources and resolve to support communities impacted by natural disasters and humanitarian crises. These actions underline the Foundation’s alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those around equitable access to water, sanitation and hygiene during crisis.

“Women factor into each of the SDGs,” said Pamela Agnone, the chairperson of the UNFCU Foundation. “UNFCU Foundation is proud to partner with UNICEF to ensure the most vulnerable are protected and do not fall further behind.”

April 18, 2019. BEIRA, MOZAMBIQUE: Baby Francisco Joao feels the happiness as people displaced by Cyclone Idai celebrate the arrival of food packages at an accommodation centre in Beira. © UNICEF/UN0320720/Oatway

The partnership the two organizations have built furthers UNFCU Foundation’s global reach and ensures sustained support for communities before, during, and after areas of conflict and disaster experience emergencies. Through this partnership, the UNFCU Foundation and its generous supporters globally have provided relief for several communities. This includes Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Funding provided critical support for children across 13 countries suffering from severe acute malnutrition because of widespread famine. Youth also received urgent access to safe housing, continued education and life-saving resources after Cyclones Kenneth and Idai ripped through communities in Mozambique. UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Programme (WASH), and other educational initiatives became the basis for a growing collaboration.

Most recently, the UNFCU Foundation stood with UNICEF to support the victims of the devastating explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. The blast shook the city, leaving 300,000 people without homes. These included Rania, a mother of three young children between the ages of 2 and 10 years old. “Every morning, as soon as my children wake up, they ask me if anything else happened last night,” tells Rania. She adds, “We’re all still terrified after the explosion. The blast petrified me. My children were terrified. We all still are.” Her home in Karantina – one of Beirut’s most densely populated neighborhoods – remains uninhabitable. “These are the worst days of my life,” she says. “I wish I could just return to living in the security and peace of my home with my children.”

Rania Hamdan, holds in her arms her sleeping son, who has a faded drawing of the Lebanese flag on his head. 
© UNICEF/UNI364553/El Hage

Together, the UNFCU Foundation and UNICEF are working to restore that sense of peace for Rania, her children and the City of Beirut. In the days since the explosion, UNFCU Foundation support has mobilized psychosocial support for children and families coping with the impact of the blast. Additionally, funding rehabilitated previously destroyed primary health care centers and ensured the provision of essential nutrition supplements, and other critical humanitarian supplies. This included COVID-19 protection and hygiene items, 80 percent of which UNICEF procured locally.

To learn more about UNICEF’s emergency response efforts and our partnerships with other like-minded organizations, please visit the Global Cause Partnerships page. For more information on the work of the UNFCU Foundation in the United States and around the world, visit https://www.unfcufoundation.org/.

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Top Photo: Sitting in front of a group of women during a household visit, community health workers demonstrate how to wash hands using soap and water in a village in Gennis in Roseires locality of Blue Nile State in Sudan. © UNICEF/UNI236386/Noorani©

UNICEF/UNI236386/Noorani