A Shared Initiative, Inc. (ASII) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit created by ASI Federal Credit Union (ASI FCU) following Hurricane Katrina to more effectively administer ASIFCU’s community development initiatives and combat post-Katrina economic distress in the Greater New Orleans area. ASI FCU is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) serving more than 75,000 members and small businesses in South Louisiana. ASI FCU has received national acclaim for designing many products to assist formerly unbanked members, such as low cost alternatives to predatory lending. ASII shares ASI FCU's vision of eliminating poverty in all the communities we serve and as a nonprofit, ASII works to promote economic empowerment and financial justice to people who have been historically overlooked by traditional financial institutions.
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 low-to-moderate income residents face in achieving sustainable homeownership. ASII began as a housing developer and in February 2010 established our small business and micro-entrepreneurship loan fund to meet the increasing demand for capital among low-income and minority clients. ASII’s Counseling and Financial Education program offers homebuyer counseling, foreclosure mitigation, credit counseling and financial literacy education. In addition to these programs, ASII’s community outreach initiatives include free health screenings, volunteer tax preparation assistance and back to school drives.
ASII is housed 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 in St. Claude in an effort to spur further redevelopment in the devastated and often overlooked neighborhood. The center is named the Clifford N. Rosenthal Community Center 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 ASII’s and other nonprofits’ offices, the building serves as a community resource hub for non-profits and neighborhood groups.