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Episcopal Church Economic Justice Loan Committee provides funding for mission, ministry of the Church

June 23, 2010

Funds are available for mortgages, small business loans, community economic development, affordable housing, job creation and other avenues for the mission and ministry of The Episcopal Church through the Economic Justice Loan Funds, administered by the Economic Justice Loan Committee (EJLC).

Established in 1988 through Resolution C030 by General Convention and in 1989 by The Episcopal Church Executive Council, EJLC administers a loan portfolio of $7 million in Church assets. Loans, usually between $150,000 to $350,000, are granted for a term of three to five years to organizations; individuals are not eligible for the EJLC loans.

"The funds are used to provide credit to institutions who may not qualify in the regular markets, but who have worthy community development goals and projects, including housing, social services, childhood education and small business development," explained Margareth Crosnier de Bellaistre, Episcopal Church Director of Investment Management and Banking. "EJLC does not lend directly to the end-users of the funds. Rather, we lend only to financial intermediaries. They, in turn, re-lend to organizations, groups and individuals with appropriate economic justice development goals and programs."

W.B. McKeown, EJLC chair, noted, "Our mission is to loan funds to support greater economic justice, which refers to enhancing peoples' ability to improve their economic well-being and empowering the powerless and oppressed through using economic resources."

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, in her April 28 keynote address to the Church"s Domestic Poverty Conference, "Called to Serve," noted, "We have an important but little-known resource as a Church in the Economic Justice Loan Fund. Some $7 million are available, in a revolving loan fund, for development partnerships in communities which lack sufficient access to financial capital. The funds can be used for economic development, for social services, for job creation."

McKeown explained that the Church makes loans to intermediaries instead of end users because "while economic development lending is well within the mission of The Episcopal Church, the Church is not in the business of economic development lending as such. That business requires a commitment of resources and personnel that the Church is not set up to make."

Loan applicants do not have to be affiliated with The Episcopal Church; however, applicants must have the endorsement of their local Episcopal bishop.

De Bellaistre pointed out that the EJLC works in conjunction with the Opportunity Finance Network, a nationally known and widely respected non-profit organization that identifies and works with organizations for underwriting loans to address domestic poverty.

Previous loans

Providing loans for economic justice and domestic poverty is an established tradition in The Episcopal Church. The Rev. Christopher Johnson, Officer for Social/Economic Justice, explained, "The Episcopal Church has a long history in providing loans for economic justice, going back to a General Convention resolution from 1968. Domestic poverty work has been foundational in the 40+ years of providing loans, directly engaging in work with the local communities."

According to de Bellaistre, over the past 10 years EJLC loans enabled the financing of homes, provided funds to over 150 small businesses, and created hundreds of jobs. In each of the cases, the borrowers were unable to access traditional credit markets.

Examples of previous loans include:

  • $200,000 loan in January 2005 to Shared Interest, a US-based fund which guarantees loans by South African banks to members of low-income communities to enable them to construct houses, create jobs and launch small businesses.

  • $100,000 deposit with Hope Community Credit Union of Mississippi and Louisiana in December 2005, and a $150,000 loan to Minority Capital Fund of Mississippi in December 2006 to support economic redevelopment on the Gulf Coast in the aftermath following Hurricane Katrina.

  • $200,000 loan in October 2006 to Four Directions Development Corporation (FDDC) of Maine, a community development corporation organized jointly by the four Native American tribes in Maine: the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Penobscot Indian Nation, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, and the Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians. Susan Hammond of FDDC told EJLC, "With your loan funds we have made five business loans ranging from $8,000 to $79,000. The loans were used for working capital, inventory and equipment, and a couple for commercial real estate purchases. The businesses we assisted were for the start up of a building supply business, a bottle redemption company, a music business and rental property for low-income families. The loans have provided employment for almost 10 tribal members and helped five families becomes more self-sufficient."

  • $350,000 loan in August 2009 to Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises of Kentucky, a non profit that provides access to capital for housing construction and community development.

EJLC Committee

With McKeown from the Diocese of New York as chair, the members of the EJLC Committee are: Bishop John Chane, Diocese of Washington; the Rev. Maurice Goldsmith, Diocese of Texas; Toni H. McGauley, Diocese of East Tennessee; Lindsey W. Parker, Diocese of Massachusetts; Phyllis Strupp, Diocese of Arizona.

For more info

For loan and application process information contact de Bellaistre at

The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Resolution: Loan committee established

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Nancy Cox Davidge
Public Affairs Officer