ASI FCU Affiliate Kicks-off Capital Campaign to Revitalize New Orleans’ Upper Ninth Ward
Federation Commits $100,000 in Matching Funds
(July 24, 2006 – New York, NY) A bold new initiative to jump-start the revitalization of the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans has won a challenge grant from the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (the Federation).
The Federation announced that it will grant up to $100,000 to ASI Federal Credit Union and its non-profit affiliate, A Shared Initiative, Inc. (ASII). The grant will come from the Federation’s Community Development Relief and Rebuilding Fund, established with major contributions from the National Credit Union Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Jewish Funds for Justice, and individual contributions from the CDCU movement.
The grant to ASI FCU and ASII will go towards the purchase and rehabilitation of a building that will serve as a community center for the residents of the St. Claude community, in New Orleans’ Upper Ninth Ward. The Federation will make $50,000 available to the nonprofit/credit union collaboration immediately and the remaining $50,000 will be granted as the final portion of the $250,000 goal.
For many Americans, Hurricane Katrina exposed a raw nerve of persistent poverty long ignored by the mainstream media and conventional financial institutions. But ASI FCU was all too familiar with the growing gap between rich and poor; before the hurricane, more than ten thousand ASI member households earned less than $15,000 a year in combined family income.
ASI FCU is a low-income designated, community development credit union, certified by the United States Treasury Department as a community development financial institution (CDFI). The credit union, chartered in 1961, serves 74,000 members today, a decrease from the 90,000 it served just before the storm. More than 60% of their members live below the poverty line. Katrina displaced both the credit union and its members, many of whom still remain without homes or livelihoods.
In 2005 ASI FCU launched A Shared Initiative, Inc., a non-profit community development corporation. ASII is designed to expand the credit union’s anti-poverty programs and help shape the redevelopment of blighted communities in New Orleans by providing affordable homeownership opportunities for low-income people.