Sister Barbara Busch, SC, Executive Director of WIN was a speaker at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in Washington DC in late March. NCRC’s Annual Conference is one of the nation’s largest gatherings of community nonprofits, policymakers, government officials, small businesses, banks, and academics, all coming together to learn more about how to help create a just economy.
The conference included a wide range of cutting-edge workshops on community organizing and advocacy, housing, access to capital and credit, workforce and community development, fair lending, and business development. Experts and advocates shared new developments, best practices, and innovative ideas for community reinvestment.
Sister Barbara was one of three speakers from across the country at a session describing effective Community Reinvestment Act Campaigns. Such CRA campaigns can be powerful tools to increase access to credit, capital, and banking services in low-and moderate-income communities. S. Barbara’s talk, illustrated with PowerPoint slides, discussed ways to successfully negotiate such increased investing and lending to make possible significant improvements in those neighborhoods in need. She emphasized the importance of first assessing the needs most significant to the community, engaging residents in caring about improving their neighborhoods (“get them out walking”), doing careful research to identify the problems and articulating the data-supported reasons for banks, investors and lenders to help provide the needed financial resources. One vivid example involved comparing these photos of a WIN home before and after renovation: