(March 16, 2009 - New York, NY) Two community development credit unions (CDCUs) recently received accolades for their innovative work in serving the underserved. Both CDCUs are members of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, which welcomed the recognition for the vital role that CDCUs play in the lives low- and moderate-income Americans.
Hope Community Credit Union, which serves members in four Mississippi Delta states, is one of the fastest growing CDCUs in the country. The credit union and its non-profit sponsor, the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta (referred to jointly as ECD/Hope), were honored with the Credit Union Times' 2009 Trailblazer Award for Outstanding Service to the Underserved.
A few hundred miles to the north, Gregg Brown, founder and CEO of South Side Community Federal Credit Union in Chicago, Illinois, was featured as one of fifteen Chicago Matters Global Visionaries by Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5FM). Mr. Brown also serves on the Federation's Board of Directors.
Although separated by hundreds of miles and despite the many differences in their markets and histories, both credit unions share a common mission and commitment to empower the low-income communities they serve.
"ECD/Hope is a leading innovator among CDCUs and Community Development Financial Institutions," said President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal. "The collective efforts of the two affiliates have allowed them to expand to serve low-income and minority communities across the entire Mississippi Delta in a very short period of time."
"Similarly, what South Side Community FCU has accomplished in four short years has been tremendous," said Rosenthal. "It's great to see their efforts praised by Chicago Public Radio, and to have the good work of this CDCU featured among so many local luminaries."
Hope Community CU Expands Beyond "Banks" of Mississippi
|Bill Bynum accepting the Annie Vamper Award from Federation President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal during the 33rd Annual Conference on Serving the Underserved, held in New Orleans, LA in June 2007.
Founded in 1995 to serve a single congregation in Jackson, Mississippi, Hope Community CU has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to its partnership with the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta (ECD), which became the CDCU's sponsor in 2002. Beginning only with the members of a single, small church and a vision, the credit union has grown to nearly $69 million in assets with nearly 10,000 members in low-income communities across Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee.
The Federation has been a strong supporter of Hope Community CU, having disbursed $400,000 in loans, grants, and deposits to the credit union, including nearly $250,000 from the Federation's Community Development Relief and Rebuilding Fund (Hurricanes Katrina and Rita), to assist the credit union open their newest branch in Biloxi, MS, which had its grand opening on March 13, with a two-day celebration that included a community fair.
In addition to this most recent award, Bynum was also a recipient of the 2007 Annie Vamper "Helping Hands" Award, the highest honor given by Federation. The Vamper Award, now in its 16th year, honors CDCU staff and volunteers, whose community development impact has gone above and beyond the call of duty, exemplifying the ideals of the CDCU movement.
"It's clear that ECD/Hope have been able to leverage their capacities to achieve scale much faster than anyone could have anticipated. They are exemplary in their community development activities and are extremely deserving of this recent honor from the Credit Union Times," added Rosenthal.
CDCU Founder Named Local Visionary by Chicago Public Radio
|South Side Community FCU CEO Gregg Brown. Photo courtesy of WBEZ Chicago Public Radio
In a city famous for its bare-knuckled style and history of public corruption, it can be easy to overlook the myriad good deeds that take place on a day-to-day basis. On the same South Side streets where President Obama began his legacy as a community organizer, poverty has still not been eradicated, but Gregg Brown, founder and CEO of South Side Community FCU, is giving it a go.
His efforts have not gone unnoticed, as Brown was recently named one of the Chicago Matters Global Visionaries, by Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ.
Founded in 2003, South Side Community FCU currently serves nearly 1,400 low-income residents in Chicago's South Side community. In just four years the credit union has grown to over $4.1 million in assets, and provides its members with savings and checking accounts, personal loans, low-cost payday loan alternatives, car loans, financial literacy education and counseling, matched-savings Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), and a burgeoning youth credit union program.
"It's truly an honor to be singled out among the ranks of community advocates working to make Chicago a better place for all its residents," said Brown. We organized our credit union to help empower our community, regardless of their race, income, or social status."
A video featuring Brown and his peers is available on the WBEZ website at: http://www.wbez.org/ChicagoMatters_Series.aspx?seriesID=137.
© 2009 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.