Opening of On the Rise Financial Center in Atlanta’s Westside
NEW YORK, NY (May 11, 2017) — Last month, Federation staff had the opportunity to connect with community leaders, partners, and friends at the On the Rise Financial Center grand opening in Atlanta’s historic Westside. The Center, in collaboration with credit union partners 1st Choice Credit Union, BOND Community Credit Union, Credit Union of Atlanta, and Peach State Federal Credit Union, will provide Westside residents with financial education classes, one-to-one coaching and access to affordable accounts and loans. The Center is made possible by the generous support of Equifax, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, and Invest Atlanta.
The recurring theme of the opening ceremony — whose guests included Mayor Kasim Reed, CDFI Fund Director Annie Donovan, and Councilman Ivory Lee Young, Jr., Federation CEO Cathie Mahon, and Dann Adams, Equifax President of Global Consumer Solutions — was finding ways to encourage economic development without displacement, which is truly community development at its finest.
Mayor Kasim Reed noted the important collaboration between local and national funders and community development credit unions to ensure financial inclusion throughout the Westside. Councilman Ivory Lee Young, Jr. spoke about the rich history of the Westside, where Rep. John Lewis marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, noting that while much work had been done, there’s still more to do for the community going forward.
Annie Donovan, CDFI Fund Director, discussed the pivotal role that community development financial institutions (CDFIs) play in areas such as the Westside, where financial services are limited at best. From spurring business development to reducing predatory lending, CDFIs are bringing financial health to people who need it the most.
Later in the day I spoke with third- and fourth-generation residents who shared that the Westside was once a thriving, walkable area with ample restaurants and storefronts. One resident fondly recalled how he would go bowling with his father, and how special the Westside was to him. Despite years of neglect, he was hopeful that the Center would become an anchor for bigger and better things to come. To me, hearing him speak with such excitement was a testament that the community was eager for the positive change promised by the Center.
As the celebration came to an end, I found myself walking around the Center when another resident greeted me with a question about homebuyer workshops. He had seen the new banner with services listed, and wanted to enroll in classes as soon as possible. Right then, I knew the Center was going to change lives for the better.
Pictured L to R are Councilmember Young, Cathie Mahon, Mayor Reed and Annie Donovan
Sheilah Montgomery, 1st Choice CU Board Member, introduces Mayor Reed to Center friends
Mrs. Montgomery shares in the celebration with Westside residents
About The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions
The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions is a certified CDFI intermediary representing community development credit unions (CDCUs). The Federation's member CDCUs provide credit, savings, transaction services and financial education to more than 6 million residents of low- and moderate-income urban, rural and reservation-based communities across the US, and hold over $60 billion in community-controlled assets. Founded in 1974, the Federation is headquartered in Lower Manhattan with offices in Madison, WI. The Federation offers a wide range of advocacy, educational, training, investment, marketing, and outreach programs to support and assist CDCUs. For more information about the Federation and its programs, visit www.cdcu.coop.
About On The Rise Financial Center
The On the Rise Financial Center is the flagship site of Pathways to Financial Empowerment, a Federation program designed to strengthen and expand financial counseling among credit unions by integrating counseling with financial products, while tracking impact through technology. Equifax has committed $450,000 through 2018 in support of the Center.