One of the Untours Foundations’ early investments was a small credit union in North Carolina called Self-Help.
Self-Help Credit Union had just about the smallest beginning you can imagine — with $77 in bake sale proceeds! Since 1984, it has grown to 17 branches all over North Carolina. True to its roots and mission, it gives back to the community in so many ways. In 2013 alone Self-Help:
- Created or supported 114 affordable-housing units
- Lent $2.3 million for foreclosure recovery
- Invested $16.1 million in community development
- Lent $1.6 million to nonprofits and community-service providers
- Provided 8,500 charter school or child care spaces *
Wow! Self-Help Credit Union is now going strong, so strong that it doesn’t need our support anymore. Like the Untours Foundation, Self Help gets money into communities through loans to small businesses, but it also issues loans to homeowners (including low-income folks) and real estate development, too.
Seeing eye to eye
Martin Eakes (Self-Help’s CEO) sees these loans as “a powerful way to bring economic activity to neighborhoods that need it.” We see it just about the same way. Hal always talked about giving “A hand up, not a handout.”
Our investment in Self-Help was back in the day when the foundation focused more on socially responsible banks which reinvested in their local communities. Today, the foundation itself gives out VLI (Very Low Interest) loans to businesses which support job creation, the environment, fair trade — and are replicable models. We want people to be able to reuse and recycle wonderful ideas!
*July 2014 Self-Help Credit Union Newsletter