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The Episcopal Church’s Economic Justice Loan Committee invests in nine community loan funds

May 24, 2021
Office of Public Affairs

Awards focus on economic justice

Honoring its commitment to share resources in ways that prioritize those who have been disenfranchised and oppressed, The Episcopal Church’s Economic Justice Loan Committee approved nine investments in 2020 totaling $2.7 million.

The loans were given to community development financial intermediaries that help with affordable housing, job creation, and other avenues that support economic well-being, said N. Kurt Barnes, treasurer and chief financial officer of The Episcopal Church.

“Economic justice has long been a programmatic focus of The Episcopal Church,” noted the Rev. Will Mebane, chair of the loan committee. “These efforts have been understood not as providing charity or facilitating economic development for its own sake, but as concrete ways in which the church accomplishes its mission in the world.”

The Economic Justice Loan Committee stewards church resources “in service to God’s call to minister to those who lack the resources needed to live as full members of the human community,” Mebane said. “We acknowledge the grace of the church’s abundance and seek to share it with others.”

Loans were given to the following organizations:

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), Cleveland, Georgia – $300,000
In 2019, ACE gave more than $13 million in loans, primarily to underserved entrepreneurs in North Georgia and metro Atlanta. For more than 20 years, ACE has provided financial, business development, and community economic development resources, focusing on women, minorities, and those in low-income communities. ACE seeks to help borrowers create and grow sustainable businesses that generate jobs.

Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (CPCDC), Shawnee, Oklahoma – $300,000
CPCDC is a nonprofit corporation chartered by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN), a federally recognized sovereign tribal nation. CPCDC’s mission statement is to “finance, promote, educate, and inspire the entrepreneurial growth, economic opportunity, and financial well-being of the Citizen Potawatomi National Tribal Community and other underserved Native populations through financial education, access to capital, business development services, innovative capacity building practices, and community development initiatives.” As of 2019, 510 consumer loans had been given to CPN members; commercial and business loans given to Native American-owned businesses have created more than 375 jobs in a four-year span.

Finance Fund Capital Corporation (FCAP), Columbus, Ohio– $500,000
Finance Fund Capital Corporation (FCAP) has financed more than 400 housing units and helped create or retain more than 4,800 jobs in Ohio, focusing on areas with higher concentrations of unemployment, and poverty. Among other recent projects, FCAP has provided funding for the Finance Fund to redevelop two motels into affordable housing for young people. FCAP’s mission statement is to provide access to capital to promote development in low- and moderate-income communities.

Fonkozé – Port-au-Prince, Haiti – $300,000
Created more than 25 years ago, Fonkozé serves Haiti’s poor. This family of organizations works together to provide financial and non-financial services to empower Haitians—primarily women—to lift their families out of poverty. As measured by number of clients, Fonkoze is Haiti’s largest microfinance institution, operating via 44 branches and 1,800 solidarity centers throughout the country. The institution has over 200,000 depositors and more than 56,000 borrowers. This loan is the third made by the Economic Justice Loan Committee. The main organization is based in Washington, D.C.

Genesis, Brunswick, Maine – $250,000
In 2019, The Genesis Community Loan Fund provided loans that helped expand a food pantry, build a childcare center for families working evenings and weekends, and acquire a building to renovate for special-needs preschool children, among many other projects. Focused on helping low-income working families, the elderly, homeless people and families, and people with disabilities, The Genesis Fund solicits investment loans from individuals, churches, corporations, and foundations, and then re-lends the money at flexible and favorable terms to nonprofit organizations to create affordable housing and community facilities in underserved communities. The fund also helps nonprofits with organizational development, project development, and gaining access to funds that support their work.

Homewise, Santa Fe, New Mexico – $300,000
In 2019, Homewise, Inc. provided technical assistance and classes to more than 1,800 people to help them learn better money management; built 48 energy- and water-efficient homes; and provided more than 640 loans to new homebuyers, in addition to refinance and home-improvement loans. Serving Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico, Homewise provides financial counseling, property development, government program administration, low interest fixed rate mortgages, home improvement loans, refinance loans, and realtor services.

Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (LEAF), Brookline, Massachusetts – $100,000
Since its founding in 1982, LEAF has invested and leveraged over $122 million to assist cooperatives and social-purpose ventures, resulting in the creation or retention of more than 10,300 jobs. LEAF is one of only three U.S. loan funds that focuses specifically on cooperatives, enabling it to serve low-income populations throughout the country. (2021 update: LEAF has paid off its EJLC loan.)

Montana & Idaho Community Development Corporation (MoFi), Missoula, Montana – $350,000
In recent years, MoFi expanded its scope to include affordable housing loans, in addition to providing finance and consulting services resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Northern Rockies. With a mission of “transforming lives and strengthening communities,” MoFi has provided $646 million in financing to more than 1,100 businesses since 1986. In 2019, 89 percent of its loans went to low-income people or places; 53 percent of its loans went to businesses owned by women.

National Council on Agricultural Life and Labor Research, Inc. (NCALL), Dover, Delaware – $300,000
NCALL Research Fund Inc. was formed in 1955 to research and analyze issues affecting agricultural workers and in 1976 refocused its efforts on farmworkers and rural housing in the mid-Atlantic region. NCALL’s mission statement is to promote affordable housing, improved communities, and sustainable development. It offers services to help educate homeowners and prevent foreclosure, as well as providing financial education, real estate development, and self-help housing assistance.

About the Economic Justice Loan Committee
The Economic Justice Loan Fund is an economic justice ministry through which The Episcopal Church uses part of its investment assets to provide capital for communities and groups that lack full and equal access to financial resources. Loans have been made primarily in the United States to support community economic development, affordable housing, job creation and other avenues of mission. The fund was created in 1998 by the Executive Council. It combines two prior loan programs that had existed since 1988 and makes up to $7 million available. Loans are made to financial intermediaries, usually in amounts between $150,000 and $500,000, and usually for terms of three to five years. Loan applicants do not have to be affiliated with The Episcopal Church; however, applicants and recipients must have the endorsement of their local Episcopal bishop. Loans are not made to individuals or for individual projects.

Committee members include:
The Rev. Will Mebane, Chair, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts; Mr. Timothy Gee, Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real; The Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina; The Rev. Andrew Walter, Episcopal Diocese of Washington; Mr. Warren Wong, Episcopal Diocese of California; The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Ex Officio; The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, Ex Officio; Mr. Casey Clark, liaison of Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (CCSR); Episcopal Diocese of New York; and staff members N. Kurt Barnes, treasurer and chief financial officer; Margareth Crosnier de Bellaistre, director of investment management and banking, Office of the Treasurer; and Nancy Caparulo, assistant, Office of the Treasurer.

For more info
For information contact Crosnier de Bellaistre via email or at 212-922-5293.