Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Winner of the 2006 Building Economic Alternatives Award Announced
October 30, 2006

Winner ECD/Hope rebuilding lives and communities in the Gulf

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Enterprise Corporation of the Delta and Hope Federal Credit Union (ECD/Hope) is the 2006 recipient of Co-op America’s annual Building Economic Alternatives (BEA) award for its outstanding work in helping low-income communities access much-needed financing. Over the past year, ECD/Hope has played a vital role in helping communities in Louisiana and Mississippi rebuild from the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

For the past 17 years, Co-op America has given the BEA award to an organization, individual, or business whose outstanding work deals with issues covered by Co-op America’s quarterly publication. “The work of ECD/Hope represents the kind of commitment and financial model needed to help build and rebuild communities in the South and Gulf region that need it most,” said Fran Teplitz, Social Investing Director at Co-op America. “Their work represents the opportunity for a new start for thousands of people and businesses that otherwise would not have access to the financing and assistance needed to be economically viable.”

ECD is one of the nation’s leading Community Development Financial Institutions and provides financial products and services in the states of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi and the Greater Memphis area of Tennessee.  ECD sponsors Hope Community Credit Union, which provides a range of financial products and services that meet the needs of low- and moderate-income residents in its three-state service area. Since 1994, ECD/HOPE has generated over $300 million in financing for entrepreneurs, home buyers and community development projects, and assisted more than 10,000 individuals in low-income communities throughout the Mid South.

When Hurricanes Katrina and Rita rocked the Gulf Coast in August, many of the regions served by ECD/Hope were devastated.  ECD/Hope jumped to action, using its 12 years of experience to assist in the rebuilding of Federal Emergency Management Agency designated assistance areas. ECD/Hope set up the Hurricane Relief Fund, which channeled over $500,000 to faith and community based organizations for rebuilding and community services. In addition, ECD provided business recovery loans to help small business owners recover losses and, when possible, start up business again. Hope Federal Credit Union worked with individuals by offering recovery loans and no-fee accounts, helping people access emergency funds to get back on their feet.

“Hurricanes Katrina and Rita significantly changed the landscape, both literally and figuratively, and altered the amount of type of need in the region,” says Scott Slay, Marketing and Communications Director at Hope. Despite these challenges, Hope Federal Credit Union was the fastest growing credit union in the country in 2005. “Our growth is a testament to the work we do,” says Slay, “Our growth is fueled by deposits by socially responsible investors that recognize that what we’re doing is the right solution.”

Bill Bynum, CEO of ECD/Hope, sees 2005 as “a year that underscored the need for ECD/HOPE, and a year that inspired us to continue our work with renewed vigor.” Bynum will be given the award at the SRI in the Rockies Conference this fall.

Past Building Economic Alternatives Award Winners:

1989- Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet and Hope's Edge, and co-founder of the Institute for Food and Development Policy.

1990—Jim Hightower, author, radio host, and then-Commissioner of Agriculture for Texas.

1991—Hazel Henderson, futurist and economist.

1992—Self-Help Credit Union, community development lender.

1993—Jim Gibbons, founder and president of Consumers United Group

1994—Carl Anthony, then-president of the Earth Island Institute and director of its Urban Habitat Program

1995/1996—Alan Thein Durning, author of How Much is Enough? and president of Northwest Environment Watch.

1997—Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, authors of Your Money or Your Life and founders of the New Road Map Foundation.

1998—Edgar Cahn, founder of Time Dollars.

1999—United Students Against Sweatshops. Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Global Exchange, won the Lifetime Achievement Building Economic Alternatives.

2000—Center for Neighborhood Technology.

2001—Rocky Mountain Institute. Donella Meadows, author and founder of the
Sustability Institute, won the Lifetime Achievement Building Economic Alternatives.

2002—TransFair USA. Chuck Matthei, founder of Equity Trust, won the Lifetime
Achievement BEA.

2003---Calvert Foundation, socially responsible investing leader.

2004 --- Federation of Southern Cooperatives

2005 – Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

Contact: Todd Larsen, toddlarsen@greenamerica.org, 202.872.5310       

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