Freedom First Credit Union Foundation won a 1st Place Award in the state Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Recognition Award Program for Credit Unions. The Social Responsibility Recognition Award Program, sponsored by the Virginia Credit Union League and the Credit Union National Association, honors credit unions for their involvement in community projects and activities.
Freedom First partnered with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLB) to administer down payment assistance, homelessness prevention, rehabilitation, weatherization, and veterans set-aside programs.
The FHLB set-aside programs were launched in 2011 to help individuals and families purchase or improve the accessibility, safety and energy efficiency of their homes. With Freedom First's coordination, nearly $1 million in outside funding was directly invested in the communities it serves and 31 homes were improved through the program in 2013.
By meeting certain requirements, participating homeowners can have the construction loans and down payment assistance forgiven.
Homeowners who remain in their homes for at least five are eligible for loan forgiveness assistance through the programs enabled by the credit union. The programs also feature a financial education component for participants, which teaches basic budgeting and money management skills.
"We believe that through collaboration with non-profit partners in our communities, we can have a significant and lasting impact in the lives of those within our community who need a helping hand," says Freedom First President/CEO Paul Phillips. "We can pool our resources and leverage our unique areas of expertise to bring about real change, and in the case of the set-aside programs, change that makes a home safer for an elderly grandparent raising grandchildren or providing accessibility improvements to a home for an elderly person battling cancer."
About Freedom First Credit Union
With nearly 47,000 members, assets of $317 million, and nine branch locations, Freedom First Credit Union is the largest Community Development Financial Institution in Virginia.
Founded in 1956, Freedom First Credit Union is owned and controlled by its members and operates for the purpose of providing access to affordable, equitable financial and development services to its members and the Roanoke and New River Valley communities. For more information, please visit www.freedomfirst.com.
The competition is named after Dora Maxwell, a credit union pioneer, who worked with several organizations to improve the living standards of the poor and needy.