On September 17, OFN partners Inclusiv and The Kresge Foundation announced the formation of a $45 million fund that will invest capital in credit unions serving low-income and communities of color in 17 southern states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The Southern Equity Fund is designed to promote economic mobility among low wealth and underserved communities, preserve and build diversity in community owned and controlled financial services, and increase the impact of scalable institutions throughout the American South.
"Financial exclusion has been a persistent problem in the South, particularly for communities of color. High cost predatory financial service providers extract billions of dollars in fees and interest from unbanked and underbanked consumers that are better served by credit unions. Inclusiv is delighted to be joined by strongly aligned partners that share our dedication to investing in credit unions to optimize their potential as vehicles for financial inclusion and lasting change in vulnerable communities," said Cathie Mahon, President and CEO of Inclusiv.
“Inclusiv was instrumental in the creation of secondary capital and is leading the way nationally on adoption by CDCUs and take-up by investors,” said Joe Evans, portfolio manager on Kresge’s Social Investment Practice. “Kresge is excited to partner in this effort, which we hope will spur greater awareness and greater investment. CDCUs offer equitable products and services, the tools of economic mobility, to the people that need them the most.”
Learn more in the full press release.