Economic Justice Loan Program Invests in Hope and Healing
The Executive Council of The Episcopal Church reported in January 2022 that a total of $6.1 million in loans are outstanding to organizations that work to alleviate poverty through strategies such as small business assistance, affordable housing development, job creation, and social support in low-income communities.
Created in 1998, the Church’s Economic Justice Loan Program (EJLP) makes low-interest funding available for local development. The program focuses on supporting women and minority-owned businesses and investing in communities where obtaining financing is difficult. Loans typically range from $200,000 to $500,000 over several years.
The Bank of Palestine, for example, received $500,000 to support small business development in the Holy Land. Four Directions, a community development corporation organized by four Native American tribes in rural Maine, was awarded a loan of $200,000 to invest in community building programs serving the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet, and Aroostook tribes. Other recipients have included a U.S.-based fund that guarantees loans to construct houses, create jobs, and launch small businesses in South Africa.
EJLP loans also promote environmental protection and clean energy solutions. In December, 2021, the Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF) received a loan of $300,000 over 5 years. SELF serves homeowners and landlords in Florida, Alabama and Georgia who are seeking to make home improvements that reduce carbon footprints. In addition, the organization provides microloans for sustainable home renovations at special rates to veterans and seniors.
The Church’s Economic Justice Loans are a hand up, not a handout. By providing the resources that can help expand a food pantry, build a childcare center, or create the employment opportunities that can lift families out of poverty, the ELJP embodies the loving and life-giving work of Christ in the world.
For more information about the Economic Justice Loan Program, contact:
Ms. Margaret Crosnier de Bellaistre
Director of Investment Management and Banking