The Jessie Ball duPont Fund has invested $3 million in Self-Help, one of the nation’s premier community development financial institutions that is expanding operations into Jacksonville.

As structured, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund’s $3 million program-related investment, when fully matched and leveraged, will generate $50 million that will be used to build assets in economically-marginal Jacksonville communities.

“This is a particularly important investment for the Fund,” said Jessie Ball duPont Fund President Sherry Magill. “Not only does it generate resources for vulnerable communities, it brings the deep expertise and commitment of Self-Help to Jacksonville and Northeast Florida. Their presence in this market can take our collective work to a new level.”

Self-Help describes itself as a “family of nonprofit organizations under one leadership structure with a unified commitment to social and economic justice. Our mission is to create and protect ownership and economic opportunity for all.”

Self-Help focuses on bringing access to responsible savings, loans and financial transactions to people and families who are financially vulnerable. According to United Way of Northeast Florida, 37% of Duval County households either are below the poverty line or lack sufficient income to meet basic needs. Many of these households are unbanked and/or rely on predatory lenders for their financial needs.

Self-Help offers an alternative for those households, providing savings and checking accounts, loans to build credit, grow businesses, expand nonprofit organizations, buy cars and promote homeownership. Self-Help also works with local partners to develop real estate projects that revitalize low-wealth communities.

Self-Help has delivered $7 billion in financing to more than 131,000 families, individuals and organizations since its founding in 1980. Today, it is recognized as one of the premier community development financial institutions in the nation, rated AAA+ on Impact Performance (highest rating) by Aeris, which provides ratings and performance data on the nation’s leading community investors.

As a community development financial institution, Self-Help operates like a traditional financial institution but with a nonprofit, as opposed to for-profit, business model.

Founded in Durham, North Carolina, Self-Help began by working with rural North Carolina worker-owned cooperatives seeking to gain ownership of mills that were being shut down. They loaned to small businesses and nonprofits and provided home loans to families unable to get conventional mortgages. Today, Self-Help Credit Union has 42 branches in North Carolina and additional operations in California, Chicago, Wisconsin and Florida.

Self-Help entered Florida in 2016 through a merger with Community Trust Federal Credit Union, with offices in Apopka and Pierson. In June 2017, Self-Help merged with Jax Metro Credit Union, which has four branches in Jacksonville.

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund investment will enable Self-Help to build a robust pool of lending capital that will be deployed in Duval and surrounding counties.

The Fund’s investment is in the form of a program-related investment – essentially a below-market-rate loan that supports work aligned with the Fund’s mission. The Jessie Ball duPont Fund has a long history of supporting financial asset building among low-wealth communities. It launched and has consistently supported the Real Sense Prosperity Campaign in Northeast Florida and the 1,000-In-1,000 program, both of which work to lift families out of poverty.

Self-Help will leverage the Fund’s investment – every dollar will leverage and additional $7 of federally insured deposits creating $8 in assets for lending, according to Self-Help. In additional, Self-Help will seek to match the Fund’s $3 million with $3 million from other investors, ultimately creating almost $50 million lending pool for the community.

Self-Help anticipates becoming an active participant in Jacksonville’s community development work.

“Self-Help is only successful if we integrate ourselves into the community we serve,” said Self-Help chief executive Martin Eakes. “We are most effective when we are one of several tools used locally to empower and improve low income communities.”

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