The Shefa Fund introduced the Union to the exceptional work of the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta which has now received three grants from the Union totaling $160,000..The Enterprise Corporation of the Delta is a not-for-profit community development financial institution that builds assets, strengthens lives and improves the quality of life in distressed Mid South communities. Through the ECD Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, Enterprise Corporation of the Delta/ Hope Community Credit Union (ECD/HOPE) is participating in the immediate and the long-term storm recovery efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi.Initially, donated funds will be routed to community partners who are providing food, clothing and shelter for those in Louisiana and Mississippi who were displaced by the storm. As these basic needs lessen, funds will support payment deferrals, provide down payment assistance, establish loss reserves, and otherwise extend a bridge to those recovering from this tragedy. In this role, ECD/HOPE will build on twelve years of experience in strengthening distressed areas to help residents rebuild their lives, homes, businesses and communities.
The organization shifted focus on a moment's notice to respond to FEMAs decision to stop distributing cash debit cards and instead direct deposit funds into affected peoples bank accounts. Because so few of the poorest residents of the area had a bank account to be able to take advantage of the new relief funds, the ECD set up mobile branches in shelters to open credit union accounts so that all affected people could receive FEMA funds.
ECD has been one of the URJ's closest partners in Katrina relief fund efforts. In March, when Rabbi Marla Feldman and Rabbi Deborah Hirsch led a mission to New Orleans, ECD partnered with us to show the participants of the mission the impacts of Katrina on low-income neighborhoods. During that visit, ECD organized a meeting with local African American clergy members, who described the challenges they face in the Central City area of New Orleans. This grant to ECD will allow them to create and administer a fund for local faith based communities that are continuing to do extraordinary work as their communities rebuild. The funds will go to support after-school programs for at-risk youth, computer centers, and other critically needed services for the general community.
For more information on the ECD Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, please visit www.ecd.org.