On July 3rd, the Interfaith
Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), 61 institutional
investors and other members of the investment community representing over $30
billion in invested assets, wrote to Congressman Dennis Hastert, requesting he
visit the areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita before the one-year
anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has
signed onto the letter (PDF).
Jim Gunning, a member of the UUA Committee on Socially Responsible Investing,
toured the Gulf Area this past April with members of the Interfaith Center for
Corporate Responsibility (of which the UUA is a member). ICCR is working to make
capital available through community investments in the Gulf Area.
One of the most pressing needs in the post-hurricane environment in the Gulf
Area has been to get capital into the hands of individuals and small businesses
dedicated to rebuilding. FEMA assistance and insurance payouts have been all too
slow, tied up in bureaucratic red tape and claims processing.
The ICCR delegation met with several community development financial
institutions and credit unions in the Gulf Area. Jim was particularly impressed
with two and recommended that the UUA invest with them. Under the leadership of
community investment professional Vanessa Lowe, the UUA Committee on Socially
Responsible Investing Working Group on Community Investing conducted a due
diligence review of these two agencies.
The UUA Committee on Socially Responsible voted unanimously to recommend that
the President's discretionary portion of UUA funds available for community
investing currently not to exceed $50,000) be invested in the Gulf Area agencies
Hope Community Credit Union and Southern Mutual Help Association. President Rev.
William Sinkford approved the recommendation on June 1st.
Hope Community Credit Union (HOPE) in Jackson, MS, is helping
rebuild lives, businesses and communities in areas affected by Hurricanes Rita
and Katrina by providing an array of products and services to individuals,
businesses and nonprofits in Federal Emergency Management Agency designated
HOPE is providing 0% short terms business recovery loans of up to $5,000 and
up to $50,000 to businesses beginning building reconstruction.
Nonprofit Recovery Loans—Up to $50,000 with 0% interest short term loans to
non-profit agencies operating in the Gulf area.
Consumer Recovery Products and Services—HOPE checking and savings accounts
help displaced residents get access to cash and accumulate funds. Convenient
options for receiving FEMA assistance payments and accessing accounts including
online banking, debit cards, ATM access, and a shared branch network. No one is
turned away based on credit score or past banking histories. Membership fees and
monthly account fees are waived for a period of one year.
Community Development Credit Unions Tell of New Orleans Rebuilding
Southern Mutual Help Association is a CDFI in rural Iberia,
In response to the devastation wreaked by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,
Southern Mutual Help Association created a hands-on Rural Recovery Task Force
and is working to build a $30 million Rural Recovery Fund to help rebuild
Louisiana better than it was before. The Rural Recovery Task Force is
implementing a multi-pronged approach for the recovery and long-term development
of the rural areas of south Louisiana, including:
The "In the Field Response" is proceeding in three phases:
For more information contact responsibleinvesting @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Friday, June 17, 2011.
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