Friday, September 16, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

As some people know, I'm a magazine editor for an environmental and social justice nonprofit in my other life. So, if you read my blog, you'll probably get more than your fair share of granola bits from time to time. (I'll refrain from polarizing political rants, though--promise!) Here's one: As you’ve undoubtedly heard, there are many well-known nonprofits working to aid Hurricane Katrina victims, from the Red Cross to Feed the Children to the Humane Society. While they're doing a truly wonderful job providing immediate aid, I have another recommendation for your hurriance-relief dollars. One worthy organization you may not have heard about in the news media is Enterprise Corporation of the Delta (ECD), a nonprofit community development financial institution and sponsor of HOPE Community Credit Union.

Started in 1995 by an African-American church congregation, ECD and HOPE work
to strengthen communities and improve lives of people in economically distressed areas of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Basically, ECD and HOPE provide the low-income residents of these states with affordable loans, checking and savings accounts, technical assistance, and financial literacy workshops. These services--which traditional banks generally won't provide to low-income folks who are "poor credit risks"--make it possible for our country's poorest people to build homes, send their children to school, or get an education themselves, or start a small business -- and have more than a good shot at succeeding. (And yes, they have an amazing repayment rate. Most community development financial institutions report 95% loan repayment or greater.) In fact, ECD and HOPE have helped more than 10,000 people in these states lift themselves out of poverty. So if you're concerned about making life better for those low-income people who were hardest hit by Katrina, ECD and HOPE are providing you with a way to help those in need help themselves.

With so many communities they serve decimated by Katrina, ECD and HOPE are now using their close ties to the people to participate in immediate and long-term disaster aid. Initially, funds will go to local organizations providing displaced hurricane victims with food, shelter, and clothing. As these basic needs are met, ECD and HOPE “will build on 12 years of experience in strengthening distressed areas to help residents rebuild their lives, homes, businesses, and communities.”

As my friend Mary says, "Donating to rebuilding efforts isn't as sexy as immediate relief, but it's just as critical."

Consider donating to ECD’s Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, or opening a Hurricane Relief Certificate of Deposit (CD) account with HOPE at a lower-than-usual 0-2 percent interest rate (your choice), and channel funds where they’re most needed. Mail donations to ECD’s Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, P.O. Box 22886, Jackson, MS 39225-2886, or visit for wiring instructions. To open a Hurricane Relief CD with HOPE, call 601/944-1100, or visit

And no, I'm not affiliated with ECD or HOPE. I just think they're doing amazing work that's not making it into the mainstream media.

:::stepping off of soapbox now::::

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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