Nearly half of the US Black population lives in the South, but less than 3% of philanthropic dollars are invested there.
Hope Credit Union (HOPE), is aiming to make up for the disparity.
In a news release shared with ESSENCE, the Black- and women-owned financial institution announced their intent to funnel $1 billion in financing to close opportunity gaps in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
“People in the Deep South are incredibly resilient, and can do anything, if they have the tools,” said HOPE CEO Bill Bynum. “With this historic investment by the Treasury, HOPE will ensure that for families, entrepreneurs and communities in the Delta, in the Black Belt and in rural areas and inner cities throughout the Deep South, access to affordable financial tools will no longer be a barrier to their success.”
Bynum launched HOPE in 1994 to serve as a community-development financial institution and policy center that provides credit and other services to underserved groups in the lower Mississippi Delta.
HOPE received a transformational investment of $92.6 million through the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Emergency Capital Investment Program, and this initiative is its first action.
In the news release, HOPE said they will use the funds to bolster resources in underbanked locations and finance businesses, homebuyers, affordable rental housing, healthcare facilities, schools and nonprofit service providers
“Many people are unbanked and can’t access affordable financial services,” Bynum said in a previous interview. “At HOPE, we are trying to provide affordable, responsible financial services to those people.”