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The nonprofit Center for Community Self-Help (or Self-Help) combines several organizations that together provide financing, technical support, consumer financial services and advocacy for those left out of the economic mainstream. We help borrowers nationwide build wealth by providing fair and responsible loans to businesses, consumers and prospective homebuyers.
We strengthen under-served communities by financing nonprofits, child care centers, community health facilities, public charter schools, and residential and commercial real estate projects.
We provide responsible financial services through our network of state- and federally-chartered credit unions. Over time we have demonstrated that low-income borrowers pose no greater credit risk than other borrowers. The Center is a charitable nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that develops and coordinates Self-Help's programs, raises resources, and advocates for economic opportunity.
Self-Help Credit Union is a member-owned, federally insured, state-chartered credit union in North Carolina. Self-Help Federal Credit Union is a member-owned, federally chartered and federally insured credit union. The Ventures Fund is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) loan fund capitalized with loans and grants from foundations, religious organizations, corporations, and government sources. The Center for Responsible Lending is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy affiliate. The Resurrection Project’s mission is to build relationships and challenge individuals to act on their faith and values by creating community ownership, building community wealth, and serving as stewards of community assets.
On November 12, 2012, Self-Help Federal Credit Union (Self-Help) and The Resurrection Project (TRP) were successful in acquiring 1,100 loans totaling $141 million of face value from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Self-Help and TRP partnered in this venture to ensure Second Federal’s mortgage portfolio would not be auctioned to predatory lenders and prospectors, which likely would have led to more foreclosures in Southwest side Chicago neighborhoods. The communities served by the former Second Federal have been hit hard by the economic recession.
According to the Center for Responsible Lending, communities of color are bearing the largest share of lost value with a drain of $1 trillion in home equity from minority neighborhoods. Martin Eakes, Self Help’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “We plan to aggressively assist struggling homeowners to avoid foreclosures.
In addition to the acquisition of the loans, Self-Help and TRP plan to set up a local community development credit union to provide sorely needed financial products at reasonable rates and drive out payday lenders and other predatory lenders from the local communities. Ed Wehmer, the CEO of Wintrust and parent company of Hinsdale Bank & Trust which acquired the Second Federal deposits earlier in the year, stated that “Wintrust continues to focus on serving our communities. The Resurrection Project is one of Chicagoland’s most successful community development organizations. Self-Help has focused on home loans to families of color for more than 25 years in North Carolina and California. Select from the topics below to learn more about the financial resources available for your business. On this page, discover more about why Charlotte is a great place to start and grow a business.
The resources on this page are organized into the two following categories: Local Resources and Online Tools. The resources on this page are organized into the following topics: Charlotte Funding Programs, Charlotte SBA 504 Lenders, and Technical Assistance. I’m late for my lunch appointment and covering the 20-mile stretch of highway between Raleigh and Durham at a brisk pace. I’m heading downtown to meet Kristen Cox, an investment associate at Self-Help Credit Union. The idea is to put some chunk of our family money to work supporting conscious capitalist organizations and projects. This is the gist of the Enough Project: putting a small slice of our money to work in ways that are consistent with the things we value.
There’s something about this drive, about this check, about this Enough Project that has me thinking hard about my crazy relationship with money these past ten years. It had been six months since my last paycheck, and my job options were so dim that I passed my days filling out applications on the Halliburton website. I remember lying across my bed in the middle of one sweltering Charlotte summer day, my roommate’s dog resting her muzzle on my thigh while my brain dizzied itself spinning through every desperate plan that might keep me afloat just a bit longer.
Around that time I was flipping through our local paper (1) and came across a story about Martin Eakes, co-founder and CEO of a Durham-based credit union called Self-Help.
Here was a man with the skill and wit to name his salary in any bank, law firm, or think tank in the nation. In looking at my winter expenses from the previous year, I noticed that my natural gas bill soared from $70 to about $160 per month once I turned the heat on. Sixty degrees might sound pleasant for outside temperature, but it’s downright frigid in a house. Kate allowed the game once more the following winter, but she was deep in the throes of pregnancy and openly doubting my frugal inclinations (what with our baby girl coming and all). This concept of having enough, what is it if not satisfying those needs at the base of Maslow’s pyramid? Maslow told us that few ever get to the promised land of transcendence, that peak of his pyramid. Perhaps Rockefeller neared his own peak toward the end of his life as he became philanthropist ne plus ultra. With this sliver that is our emergency fund, I can also support the mission of a man for whom I suspect Maslow’s ghost smiles approvingly. These entities include: Self-Help Credit Union, Self-Help Federal Credit Union, Self-Help Ventures Fund and the Center for Responsible Lending.

Our borrowers have proven their determination to repay their loans, build their businesses, improve their communities, and build wealth through home ownership and home equity. As a nonprofit entity, its mission is to increase access to responsible and affordable financial services in underserved communities, initially in California. It manages Self-Help's higher-risk business loans, real estate development, and home loan secondary market programs.
CRL is dedicated to protecting home ownership and family wealth by working to eliminate abusive financial practices. These loans are part of the former Second Federal Savings and Loan (Second Federal) portfolio that the FDIC retained as a result of taking Second Federal into receivership during this past summer.
Foreclosures and boarded-up houses have increased in these Southwest side communities of Chicago, which include Back of Yards, Brighton Park, Little Village, and Cicero. This represents a huge setback for homeowners of color who had previously made economic progress.
Since acquiring the Second Federal Deposits, Wintrust has been working with TRP to serve the best interests of the families in the community. Since 1990, The Resurrection Project (TRP) has revitalized predominantly low-income Latino communities on Chicago’s Southwest side through a variety of community development strategies. Self-Help has provided more than $6 billion of financing to families and homeowners that have been underserved by traditional financial institutions. Regardless of what stage you’re in, with a good business plan and experience, as well as personal or business equity and collateral, there are resources available that may be able to help with financing your business.
To refine your search, click on the topic that best describes what you’re looking for, and take the time to explore the tools and resources available to you. From the economic development and transportation to the culture, hospitality and tourism, the Charlotte region offers the quality of life that people and businesses are looking for.
Select the topic that best describes what you’re looking for, and discover all of the resources available to you in Charlotte. To refine your search, click on the category that best describes what you’re looking for. With easy approval processes and flexible repayment terms, these programs can help lenders help their business clients start, grow and be successful.
It’s empty save one checkbook wrapped in the same navy blue vinyl cover my bank issued me when I opened the account more years ago than I care to remember. My mind spun vivid daydreams in which I drove 18-wheel supply trucks in caravans criss-crossing the deserts of  Iraq or Afghanistan, pulling a kevlar bucket tight by its chinstrap when the occasional mortar shell came whistling down. Always confident my career would progress through ever-rising spirals of bigger titles and more money.
I had lost all control over money, and my desperation for it was driving my most important life decisions. In that funny, unpredictable way life tends to work, two distant connections led to two job offers, both coming just a few days apart from each other.
And while so many other resolutions I made in that same period would come and go, the “never again” pledge held fast.
I forced myself to imagine being back in Charlotte three years earlier, staring at the ceiling from my bed. We would fortify ourselves each evening with sweaters and scarves, wool socks covering our toes and wool caps pulled down over our ears. Take your rate of return, whether it be interest you’re being paid on a loan or pace at which you expect an investment to compound, and divide that into 72. The large numbers come later, and the magic stops if you pull cash out before the interest rate gets to work on top of those large numbers. The virtue celebrated in Walter Mischel’s famous marshmallow experiment.(2) But with the Rule of 72, it quickly turns to mental hoarding.
To my uber-practical, uber-rational mind his ideas have just seemed unserious and therefore unworthy of my serious attention. Maybe there’s something to this pyramid of needs where you must satisfy those basic requirements of food, shelter and safety before you’re free to take care of emotional needs. When Joe Heller told his friend Kurt Vonnegut that he had no envy for their billionaire host with a mansion on Shelter Island, I imagine Heller’s “knowledge that I’ve got enough” (3) as a wink to Abe Maslow, a recognition that the bottom layers of his pyramid are filled.
Most of us will be forever bogged down in the layers below, struggling to satisfy our more basic needs. But prior to that, before he faced the abyss of mortality, he was compelled to keep pouring more into the base of his pyramid. He didn’t need a mansion on Shelter Island or just a bit more money (always a little more).
I’m in Durham now chatting with Kristen, my Self-Help adviser, on the ground floor of the credit union’s headquarters. Without sacrificing my needs for security, I can dedicate some capital to the benefit of my community by placing it under the guidance of a man who seems to need so much less than I.
It’s a small beginning for the Enough Project, but it’s a beginning that suits my needs right now. My first essay about it featured Zingerman’s Community of Businesses in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The acquisition of Second Federal’s portfolio by TRP and Self-Help was an important first step in preserving home ownership throughout these communities. The organization started with an initial investment of $30,000 collected from concerned neighbors and area churches. Self-Help assists borrowers nationwide build wealth by providing fair and responsible loans to businesses, consumers, and prospective homebuyers.
To learn more about each resource, be sure to click on the images to expand their profiles.

From online tools to confidential one-on-one business counselors, find the resources you need to prepare your business for financing on this page.
While North Carolina is showing few signs of autumn, some cool air rolled in the night before and pushed the summer humidity out to the coast.
I’m less and less compelled to make every dollar go into investments that aim for the highest possible returns.
I’m not sure why, but I’m a little nervous about using one of those checks to transfer our six-month emergency fund over to Self-Help.
Staring at the ceiling for what must have been five, maybe ten minutes of total quiet, the despair slowly gave way to a simmering anger. Within a week I had accepted one and moved to Raleigh with a financial lifeline in the form of $1,500 cash to cover moving expenses. Every time I made a few bucks, I intentionally called back the desperate memory of that Charlotte day. The paper was donning him “Tar Heel of the Year” in recognition of all the good he had done lending money to the working poor so they could start businesses and contribute to their communities. We were only recently married, and this sense of being “provider” was weighing heavy on me. We would set a budget and hold each other to the competition of finishing the month beneath it. So we started a game in October, enjoying that brief window when the weather required neither air conditioning nor forced heat. Fortunately Kate had the good sense to cut-off the competition that December night when I was traveling (cozy, no doubt, in my well-heated hotel room), turning on the furnace to warm herself.
Rather than let the temperature drop into the 50’s, we would simply hold the thermostat at 60. He fluttered in and out of my many college psychology courses, but his theory was always subsumed by a fixation on those things that break in the human brain, those many neuroses, psychoses and other DSM-defined abnormalities.
And you must address those emotional needs before focusing energy on transcending yourself and contributing something to the benefit of others. That he’s free to channel his energy into works of literature that feed the minds of readers even if it only makes him a little money. His sense of enough has allowed him to transcend, investing his energy into something that would benefit so many others because his own needs were modest and easy enough to satisfy.
We’re sitting on well-used furniture in a cramped office made to feel even smaller by stack after stack of boxes lining the walls. Its members include individuals, nonprofit and religious organizations, and other socially responsible people and institutions. Since then, TRP has leveraged this investment into more than $250 million in community investments to serve more than 10,000 individuals, create more than 600 affordable homes, and develop more than 150,000 square feet of community space to meet a variety of needs. They strengthen underserved communities by financing nonprofits, childcare centers, community health facilities, public charter schools, and residential and commercial real estate projects. With a shining sun, it’s perfect for rolling down the windows and letting the wind swirl around the faded leather interior of my old Toyota. If there’s a tradeoff to be made between earning the highest return possible versus one that’s merely reasonable, I’m willing to explore the reasonable option when it means the money supports something constructive, meaningful and that provides some benefit to my community. And I had a wallet full of maxed-out credit cards, a mortgage-sized student loan payment, and a car note to boot.
Perhaps my only option to avoid whatever comes after one runs out of money to pay his creditors. I had become re-acquainted with Kate, fallen in love and was beginning to look for engagement rings. I had decided that we needed a three-month cushion of cash as an emergency fund just in case something happened that pinched our finances.
I shared with her the progress we’ve made as our emergency savings blossomed into a nest egg, much of which was now invested.
The more money he put into the care of his security needs, the wider his base grew, the more he needed to pour to keep filling it. He could build Self-Help Credit Union into a force for building a healthier, sustainable community in which even the working poor could participate.
Let me collect just a bit more, fill the base of my pyramid for another year (or maybe two), and then I’ll have enough.
I’m writing that check, moving those funds from the for-profit bank that holds the bulk of our money and investments. The Resurrection Project serves families—especially Latinos—from all over the metropolitan Chicago region with a particular focus on the communities of Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards, and Melrose Park.
The new account is covered by NCUA insurance, so it has all the protections the FDIC provides at my bank. I was making more money than ever before, and the pay kept rising with some quick success that brought promotions and added responsibility at work. We would shiver for several minutes before our own bodies generated the heat for sleeping warmth.
A spartan lifestyle allowed me to get those credit cards reined in, and I started saving again.
The majority of our wealth will remain invested in opportunities I expect to compound in value and provide us a more comfortable life than what $60,000 a year would allow a family of four. A little bit of fun for the newlyweds trying to figure out this marriage partnership would work when it came to things like money.

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