NEW YORK (5/6/11)--Long-time community development credit union (CDCU) leader Martin Eakes, has been named a Ford Foundation Visionary, a new award that recognizes innovators whose work provides economic opportunities for marginalized people worldwide.
Eakes is the founder of the Durham, N.C.-based Self-Help CU, the Center for Community Self-Help, the consumer advocacy Center for Responsible Lending, and most recently, Self-Help FCU, Oakland, Calif. Visionary Awards seek to raise the profile of leaders whose efforts on the frontlines of key social issues offer pathways to improved economic opportunities and expanded political and social participation for millions of underserved people worldwide, according to the Ford Foundation. Cliff Rosenthal, president/CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, commended the Ford Foundation on their selection of Eakes. “Martin has been a long-time member, colleague and ally of the federation,” he said, “What he and his staff have built in North Carolina has grown into one of the most sophisticated community development financial institutions in the nation. “With community development credit unions operating on both coasts; a multi-billion dollar affordable mortgage secondary market; and a respected consumer advocacy arm helping to combat insidious predatory lenders nationwide, he has single-handedly done more for low-income people in 30 years than many of us could hope to accomplish in a lifetime,” he added. Self-Help CU, the CDCU established in 1980, reaches low-income families underserved by conventional financial institutions. Self-Help has provided nearly $6 billion in financing to more than 60,000 homebuyers, small businesses and nonprofits, and serves more than 25,000 mostly low-income families through seven retail credit unions.