The Leaders Network’s fundraising effort to open a credit union on the West Side has surpassed $100,000 — a goal they aimed to reach by Dec. 31.
During their regular meeting held earlier this month, leaders on the nondenominational group announced about $101,000 has been raised, leaving them $49,000 shy of their $150,000 goal. The hopes to be up and running in 2022.
“So many of you, whatever you’ve given, you have shown that you’re committed to helping us begin locally, this national movement of reversing redlining and the destruction of black wealth,” said Rev. Ira Acree, pastor of Greater St. John Bible Church and Leaders Network co-chairman.
Leaders reminded attendees that donations could be made via check or online through the donation page, though they noted that processing fees would be applied.
Upon hearing that, Rabbi Max Weiss of Oak Park Temple B’nai Abraham Zion volunteered to cover the fees for credit card donations made through Dec. 31st.
In the past, Weiss, who is also in the Founders Circle of the credit union for having donated $5,000, has said that supporting the launch of this credit union on Chicago’s West Side is one of the most important things he has ever been a part of.
“Our credit union will offer opportunities to exit currency exchanges, embrace financial literacy and lead families to self-determination,” said Rev. Marshall Hatch, pastor of New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church and Leaders Network co-chairman.
The Leaders Network recently met with the president of the Illinois Credit Union League, the primary trade association for credit unions in the state. The league has been working with the Leaders Network for the past eight months by providing technical assistance and guidance.
“They are very excited about our effort, and they are searching in Illinois for a credit union to mentor us to help us across the line, to get there faster with more resources and supporting guidance,” said Leaders Network member Michelle Collins, who’s been a point person on the effort.
“We expect to have some feedback on that in the first quarter of next year,” she said. “And in the meantime, we’re going to keep on pushing.”
Nate Tubbs, a web and graphic designer and Leaders Network member, shared a new promotion toolkit that can be downloaded and shared. It includes social media assets and printable flyers.
“Every time I come to a Leaders Network meeting you hear about action and the call to take action … Think of five people right now that you’re gonna reach out to. Write those names down, send them a message, send them an email, spread the word because we want this to be a way to advance economic power on the West Side of Chicago,” Tubbs said.