On December 16, OFN President and CEO Lisa Mensah joined Hope Credit Union CEO Bill Bynum, along with Dane Spurill, Head of Global Cash and Banking at Nike, for the Hope Economic Mobility Forum at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, MS, to discuss why and how Nike and other corporations are using their balance sheets to advance economic opportunity.
Bynum kicked off the event by introducing Chef Nick Wallace, founder of Creativity Kitchen, who shared his story about starting his nonprofit and how becoming a Hope Credit Union member helped him buy his home. A panel discussion followed, with Mensah highlighting the power of public funding to leverage private capital in light of Hope Credit Union’s new $88 million Emergency Capital Investment Program investment announced by the U.S. Treasury Department on December 14.
When Mensah asked if the moment for CDFIs’ accelerated growth has passed with recent infusions of public capital, along with private investments like Nike’s $10 million deposit in Hope Credit Union, Bynum said, “We’re just lighting the fuse.” Bynum commended Spurill for his leadership at Nike and understanding the types of solutions needed to create change. He also shared a powerful call to action for more organizations to treat people in low-wealth communities like assets to be nurtured rather than liabilities to be managed so they can achieve their full potential.
Spurill spoke about Nike’s strong brand alignment with Hope Credit Union’s mission, with many athletes in Nike's target market originating from the Deep South. He highlighted the company’s desire to continue building long-term, “sticky” relationships with community partners that are sustainable, mutually beneficial, and impactful. As a New Yorker living on the West Coast with roots in the Deep South, he also shared personal anecdotes about how moved he was being in Mississippi for the forum and seeing Hope Credit Union’s work on the ground first-hand.
“When I walked into the Hope Credit Union branch, it felt like a living room,” Spurill shared. “When you’re investing in the right thing, it feels like family and community.”