New York has a long history of economic and market solutions being utilized in our neighborhoods. Robert Kennedy and Jacob Javits launched the Community Development Corporation in Bedford-Stuyvesant through the creation of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration corporation. Examples of church-driven development abound with the amazing efforts catalyzed by Allen AME and Abyssinian Baptist Church – each launched CDC’s that have created housing and jobs. The Nehemiah movement of churches created housing in Brownsville and East New York, and Concord Baptist’s nearly 100-year-old Credit Union was providing financial options when banks had red-lined black and Latino neighborhoods out of their service portfolios. We have
In that vein, Praxis Forums held a Market Solutions: Neighborhoods meeting with leaders from Harlem, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens at the Salvation Army Headquarters on April 5th. Our presenters, Rudy Carrasco of Partners Worldwide and Archbishop Alexander of New Covenant Dominion Credit Union & New Covenant Christian Worldwide Church generated some vigorous dialogue.
Rudy Carrasco began by sharing some basic theology and framework for a Market Solutions approach to ministry before sharing some examples of Market Solutions’ impact in the areas of employment readiness, business ownership that employs people, support of existing businesses, and developing new businesses that are operating throughout the country.
Archbishop Alexander followed by sharing the history of the New Covenant Dominion Credit Union in Morrisania citing that some of the goals included providing an alternative to Payday Lending & Check Cashing services to the poor and education around financial literacy and management. Founded in 2007 the New Covenant Dominion is a non-profit collaboration of 17 churches that is FDIC insured with over 1 million in deposits. Morrisania has no bank branches serving its community and has provided loans to those who would not normally be served by a name brand bank. Archbishop Alexander shared some of the real challenges of starting a church-driven credit union. His story is powerful!