A Shared Initiative, Inc. Nonprofit (ASII) was created by ASI Federal Credit Union (ASIFCU) following Hurricane Katrina to intensely administer ASIFCU’s community development initiatives and combat post-Katrina economic distress in the Greater New Orleans area. The mission of ASII is to provide affordable lending opportunities and expand access to financial education and other vital community services.
ASII works to address two main issues within our community: the lack of access to affordable capital for small business owners and micro-entrepreneurs and the barriers to sustainable homeownership. ASII began as a housing developer, offering homebuyer counseling, foreclosure mitigation, credit counseling and financial literacy education. In February 2010, ASII established the small business and micro-entrepreneurship loan fund to meet the increasing demand for capital among low-income and minority clients.
ASII was originated in the St. Claude community in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans. ASII leveraged limited capital to finance the renovation of a flood-damaged two-story building on St. Claude Avenue, in an effort to spur further redevelopment in the devastated and often overlooked neighborhood. The center is called The Clifford N. Rosenthal Community Center. It was named after the CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, a pioneer in the credit union industry. ASII leases out office space in the community center to other nonprofits at below-market rates. In addition to housing other nonprofits’ offices, the building serves as a community resource hub for non-profits and neighborhood groups.