NCRC Concludes Successful Annual Conference

Esteemed National Achievement Awards Presented to Seven Community Leaders

Washington, DC – On Friday, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) recognized seven community leaders and organizations for their outstanding work and extraordinary contributions to their communities. The National Achievement Awards were presented during NCRC’s 2011 annual conference to individuals and organizations that are leading efforts to expand financial access for working families and communities.

Last Friday’s National Achievement Awards dinner brought a close to NCRC’s successful four day conference, held at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC. Over 500 participants from across the nation partook in over 25 in-depth and comprehensive trainings, workshops, and plenary sessions, on topics including financial reform, foreclosure prevention, neighborhood stabilization and job creation. Attendees also heard from keynote speakers including: Sheila Bair, Chairman, U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); Senator Jon Tester, Chair of the Economic Policy Subcommittee of the Senate Banking Committee; Senator Jeff Merkley, Senate Banking Committee; Senator Al Franken, Senate Judiciary Committee; Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Justice; the Rev. Jesse Jackson; and Gara LaMarche, President of Atlantic Philanthropies.

John Taylor, President & CEO of NCRC, made this statement in tribute to the seven award winners and in conclusion of the well-received conference: “NCRC’s National Achievement Award winners embody the movement for fair access to capital and credit. They are leaders in their field, worthy of being celebrated and supported. These community leaders aren’t standing by waiting for help; they’re going out there and making change happen, in some cases despite incredible odds. With every conference, we hope to empower and train the next generation of community leaders.”

Summary of NCRC’s 2011 National Achievement Award winners:  

Inez Killingsworth, Empowering & Strengthening Ohio’s People, Cleveland, OH

Recipient of the National Community Reinvestment Award

About the award winner:

Inez Killingsworth founded the East Side Organizing Project in 1993, taking it statewide in 2008 under a new name: Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (or ESOP). ESOP has become a powerhouse foreclosure counseling agency – and organizing presence — in the state, with 8,000 families receiving help in 2009 in the nonprofit’s 11 Ohio offices. ESOP has a 75% success rate in negotiating resolutions for homeowners facing foreclosure. In 2010, ESOP reached more than 10,000 families in 2010 and saved more than 3,200 homes from foreclosure.

Manuel “Manny” T. Gauna, Tiempo, Inc., Phoenix, AZ 

Recipient of the William H. Proxmire Award

About the award winner:

Manuel “Manny” T. Gauna served as President and CEO of Tiempo, Inc. in Arizona from 1978 until his death in 2009. Under his administration, Tiempo orchestrated projects that include office and specialty retail facilities, a computer training facility, single family homes, a 172 unit subdivision and numerous apartment and recreational complexes for low-income families, the elderly and handicapped. For twenty-five (25) years, he worked to improve and increase affordable housing for rural poor seniors, and families throughout communities in Arizona. His work was not limited to the state of Arizona. His efforts to enhance and protect the rights of the poor in housing were extended outside his community by working with organizations in California, New Mexico, and Texas to increase safe and affordable housing for residents of these states that live in rural communities.

HOPE Enterprise Corporation, Jackson, MS

Recipient of the James Leach Award

About the award winner:

Hope Enterprise Corporation is a financial institution, community development intermediary and policy center that provides affordable financial services; leverages private, public and philanthropic resources; and engages in policy analysis in order to fulfill its mission of strengthening communities, building assets, and improving lives in economically distressed parts of the Mid South. Since 1994, their efforts have generated over $1.4 billion in financing and benefited more than 75,000 individuals in the Delta, Katrina-affected areas and other distressed communities throughout Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Boston Community Capital, Boston, MA

Recipient of the James Rouse Award

About the award winner:

Across Massachusetts, BCC is partnering with community advocates, legal aid organizations and low-income residents to keep foreclosed homeowners and tenants in their homes—with fixed-rate mortgages they can afford.

Boston Community Capital (BCC) is a community development financial institution whose mission is to build healthy communities where low-income people live and work. They accomplish this mission by investing in projects that provide affordable housing, good jobs, and new opportunities in low-income communities, connecting these neighborhoods to the mainstream economy. Since 1985, BCC has invested more than $550 million to support organizations and businesses that benefit underserved communities. Their loans and investments have helped: Build or preserve affordable homes for over 10,000 families and individuals.

Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Harrisburg, PA

Recipient of the Henry B. Gonzalez Award

About the award winner:

For nearly 40 years, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency has supported families and communities throughout Pennsylvania by providing capital for decent, safe, and affordable homes for vulnerable populations including low-income families, older adults, and people with disabilities. This agency finances the creation and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing for low-income families and supportive housing to help people with disabilities live independently, as well as providing rent subsidies for older individuals who move from nursing homes to apartments. This agency is also a leader in linking affordable housing and social services to assure that families in need can access services conveniently.

This agency is also a national leader in assisting homeowners who are in danger of losing their properties to foreclosure, particularly through HEMAP (Homeowners’ Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program). In 2010, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) introduced the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program (EHLP) in October of 2010 with an operational start date in 2011, based in part on the model created by this agency with HEMAP.

Cleveland vs. Wall Street, Documentary film

Recipient of the Community Empowerment Award

About the film: 

In this documentary on the devastating numbers of foreclosures that have crippled certain neighborhoods in the Rust Belt city of Cleveland, filmmaker Jean-Stephane Bron concocts a mock trial that pits the city of Cleveland against 21 banks it blames for the foreclosures that wrecked the city’s economy. Cleveland vs. Wall Street premiered at the 63rd Cannes festival in 2010.

Simon Johnson & James Kwak, authors, 13 Bankers

Recipient of the Color of Money Award

About the award winners:

Simon Johnson and James Kwak have been stalwart defenders of the Community Reinvestment Act, debunking at every turn the preposterous lie that CRA caused the financial crisis on their blog, the Baseline Scenario. Their book 13 Bankers: the Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Crisis, is a sharp and riveting analysis of the financial crisis. The book sounds a call we should all heed: we have not yet solved all the problems in the financial system yet, and our reform is not done.

About the National Achievement Awards:

Every year at NCRC’s annual conference, National Achievement Awards are given to individuals and organizations revered as leaders in expanding financial access for working families and communities. Nominations for these awards are invited from NCRC members across the country, and after a thorough review process, the most deserving are selected to be honored with awards in their respective category.

The National Community Reinvestment Award recognizes an individual who through their work has best exemplified the ideals and values of the community reinvestment movement and economic justice.

The Rep. James Leach Award honors the most outstanding rural non-profit organization that best promotes fair and equal access to credit and capital.

The James Rouse Award recognizes the most outstanding urban non-profit that best promotes fair and equal access to credit and capital.

The Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez Award is awarded to the most outstanding government official, agency or for-profit firm that forges the most effective partnerships with community nonprofits and assists them in helping traditionally underserved people build wealth and economic opportunity

The Senator William H. Proxmire Award recognizes the individual whose life’s work exemplifies the spirit and work of Senator Proxmire, an author and lead sponsor of the Community Reinvestment Act, by their contributions to economic mobility.

The Community Empowerment Film Award honors independent filmmakers whose work focuses on economic equality, community empowerment, financial inclusion, neighborhood revitalization, and job development.

The Color of Money Award recognizes a member of the media that produced or composed the most helpful documentary, newspaper reporting, book or public information campaign that contributes to public understanding of the need for fairness and access in the US financial system.

To submit an awards nomination for the 2012 National Achievement Awards, please send an email to communications@ncrc.org with the subject “Awards Nomination.”

About the National Community Reinvestment Coalition

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition is an association of more than 600 community based organizations that promote access to basic banking services, including credit and savings, to create and sustain affordable housing, job development and vibrant communities for America’s working families.


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