Self-Help Shares

Praying for a Partner: Self-Help Federal Merges with Florida Credit Union

By Mary Moore
  | Feb 08, 2016

More than three decades ago, Sister Ann Kendrick and several other nuns began working in Apopka, Florida to serve farmworkers and other low-income families. One of their many accomplishments was starting the Community Trust Federal Credit Union to provide fair, affordable financial services in the community.

Last fall when the nuns needed a partner to expand services to their members, they thought of Self-Help. After many talks with Sister Ann and her colleagues as well as friends at the Florida Community Loan Fund, our CEO Martin Eakes knew we had to make room for another partner at our table. After all, it’s pretty hard to resist the call of four amazing community activist nuns who are praying for your support.

The result, we’re pleased to announce, is that Self-Help has merged with Community Trust Federal Credit Union in Apopka, Florida. Effective January 1, the Florida credit union is now part of Self-Help Federal Credit Union, which also operates in California and Chicago. To understand how the Apopka CU is a great fit with Self-Help’s mission, please watch this wonderful interview with Sister Ann as she recalls her history as a change agent in Apopka.

The video was funded by ArtReach Orlando and produced in collaboration with the Hope CommUnity Center.
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New Financing Options from the SBA

By Suzanne J.
  | Feb 02, 2016

Proud small business owner who got an SBA 504 loan
If you've ever dreamed of owning a small business, or even if you've already started one, you know that lack of capital can stop a dream dead in its tracks. The good news is that there may be more options for getting that capital than you realize! The even better news is that this year, the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) is expanding those options. 
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Dr. King’s Dream, Our Work

By Anthony S. and Mary M.
  | Jan 15, 2016

Self-Help exists to create and protect ownership and economic opportunity for all, especially people of color, women, rural residents and low-wealth families and communities—a mission that seems particularly relevant as we mark the 87th birthday of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our founding in 1980 was greatly influenced by Dr. King and the unfinished business of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. In essence, the work of Self-Help is our sincere effort to fulfill the dream of Dr. King.

Toward the end of his remarkable life, Dr. King became increasingly more vocal in addressing economic injustice in America. Unfortunately, more than 50 years after the pivotal 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, our nation continues to grapple with many of the same concerns, including these:

  • Homelessness and hunger. In North Carolina alone, more than 55,000 children are homeless, and more than one in four don’t get enough to eat.
  • Mass incarceration. More than 2.2 million people now crowd America’s prisons; 60% of them are African-American or Hispanic.
  • Wealth disparities. Before the housing crisis of 2008, the wealth and homeownership gap between whites and people of color was gradually getting smaller. But in recent years the share of black homeowners has dropped by nearly 20% and, overall, people of color have lost all the economic ground previously gained, plus more.
  • Poverty and low wages. According to the U.S. Census, 46.7 million Americans live in poverty, many of them working for a minimum wage that has not kept up with today’s cost of living.
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Helping Kids Save for College Now

By Mary M.
  | Jan 13, 2016

Kids Save event


Most parents would love to see their children go to college, but starting savings can be a struggle for many families. To help local families get a jump start, Self-Help Credit Union is pleased to be part of a Durham partnership to launch a special savings program at Y.E. Smith Elementary Museum School.

Here’s how it works: The “Durham Kids Save” program deposits $100 into a savings account for every eligible kindergartner at the school. When families add funds to the accounts, their contributions will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $100 each year through the child’s fifth grade year.

These savings accounts represent more than money; they also represent hope. In a recent article in The Triangle Tribune, City Councilman Steve Schewel points out that these accounts help children develop a vision of themselves as future college students.

Full story

How Can a Credit Union Go Green? Let Us Count the Ways

By Mary M.
  | Jan 08, 2016

You know Self-Help has all the personnel you would expect in a credit union, like loan officers and member service reps. Maybe you don’t know we also have a Director of Sustainability, Melissa Malkin-Weber.  When Melissa began working with us nearly six years ago, she was charged with helping Self-Help “walk the talk” by implementing more sustainable practices inside our own offices and also through loans that encourage conservation.

The results have been fantastic. Check out Melissa’s article in the current issue of Green Money Journal, where she describes how we’re making sustainability part of everything we do. The article features one of our favorite western borrowers, Rush Creek Lodge, and also two great community development partners, Craft3 and RSF Social Finance

Rush Creek's youth program
One of Self-Help’s star conservation-conscious borrowers is Rush Creek Lodge in Yosemite National Park. In addition to offering energy-efficient lodgings and an extensive gray-water system, they also provide internships to help disadvantaged youth gain job experience.



Happy Holidays from Us!

  | Dec 30, 2015

From our staff in North Carolina, California and Chicago, we send our greetings to you

 Happy Holidays

and thanks for a great year!  You may spot some familiar faces in our year-end newsletter, including a video and a few of our favorite photos from 2015. 

Energy-Efficiency Loans Hit the Bullseye

By Suzanne J.
  | Dec 17, 2015

energy efficiency windows

At Self-Help, we’re always looking for “mission bullseye” opportunities – projects that get right to the heart of our mission, ideally in multiple ways at once.

Back in 2012 when Craft3, a fellow community development financial institution (CDFI), approached us about a partnership, we saw a bullseye.

Oregon-based Craft3’s mission is to strengthen economic, ecological and family resilience in Pacific Northwest communities. Along with partner Enhabit, they’ve been providing energy-efficiency loans since 2009. The loans help homeowners afford effective but expensive improvements like high-efficiency furnaces and water heaters.

Plenty of lenders offer energy-efficiency loans. But Craft3 added an innovative twist. The Craft3 program enables On Bill Repayment, or OBR, and lets borrowers make their loan payments through their monthly utility bill. Easy, convenient and effective.

Full story

The Food Fairy Grows and Goes Solar – with Loans from Self-Help

By Melissa Malkin-Weber
  | Nov 23, 2015

Food Fairy

Terri McClernon’s personal chef business, “Food Fairy,” grew from her passion to nurture and support people by providing a sustainable way for them to manage their time and their health. Terri’s business takes her on creative journeys through her clients’ kitchens to fill their refrigerators and freezers with a week or even a month’s worth of nourishing meals. To that end, she uses the freshest ingredients and often ones that are locally grown. To encourage clients to explore local foods, she offers to create meals from their own shopping sprees at the farmers’ market.

Full story

Video: A Conversation with Bishop Michael Curry

By Mary M.
  | Nov 09, 2015

Congratulations to North Carolina’s Michael Curry, former Bishop of the NC Episcopal Diocese, who was recently installed as Bishop of the national Episcopal Church. Bishop Curry has been a great friend of Self-Help’s and a strong advocate for our mission.

Earlier this year, Bishop Curry interviewed Thad Moore and Armeer Kenchen of Self-Help. Watch the video to hear this inspiring conversation.

Fall Newsletter is Out!

By Mary M.
  | Nov 04, 2015

Our fall newsletter officially launches this blog, Self-Help Shares -- ta da! -- and offers lots of news you can use:

  • Come to Revolution Mill for the best annual meeting ever.Revolution Mill
  • Consider switching to a credit card that’s on your side.
  • Learn about an innovative business in Morganton.
  • Get a holiday loan, skip a loan payment, or possibly both!

 To stay up to date, please visit us here often and subscribe to our newsletter now.