Chief Operating Officer, Fathers & Families Support Center
Partner Since 2009
“SLCCU has just been present in anything that I’ve been involved with as far as the financial education world, community events, being a good community partner period,” says Destini Goodwin, COO of Fathers & Families Support Center. “Not just a partner in the sense of an organization, but a partner for people within the communities they serve.”
The goal of Fathers & Families Support Center (FFSC) is to improve the lives of children. The organization accomplishes this by equipping parents with necessary life skills that can help them become empowered, financially supportive and involved. “I believe that the Credit Union was the first to approach us to provide financial education and the importance of educating our parents about it,” Destini shares. “From there, it’s been a level of consistency and communication and different supports that [the Credit Union] provides to our organization, as well as our participants who live in the communities that they aim to serve.”
According to Destini, our relationship has brought so much value to FFSC clients, as well as their staff. So much so, that the connection even prompted Destini to become a member of SLCCU. “I remember speaking with a SLCCU staff member who told me it only takes $1 to open an account,” Destini says. “With that $1, I started a saving account. That’s how I’ve been able to discipline myself … having a separate account from a checking account. The credit union’s friendliness, helping the community, how they show up and what they do in the community … that’s what creates those opportunities for others.”
“I believe in SLCCU because they believe in the community,” says Destini. “It’s just that simple. They try to offer services that benefit the community and what they could need. I don’t think they hesitate when it comes to that.”
St. Louis Small Business Empowerment Center
Partner Since 2019
Owning a business is a key path to building lasting generational wealth and so much more. Through our Business Services division, we offer a wide range of affordable financing options for qualified entrepreneurs.
A key component of this entrepreneurial outreach involves strong community alliances, which is why we actively partner with the St. Louis Small Business Empowerment Center (SBEC) to offer established, local businesses loans between $10,000 and $250,000 for working capital.
“Down in my gut, I’ve always felt that if one has purpose in their lives, a place to go, a job or an organization that helps them to fulfill that purpose, then good things come out of that,” says Kevin Wilson, Executive Director, St. Louis Small Business Empowerment Center. “If you are living your purpose, you typically will be a more beneficial citizen in this community. I believe that small business ownership and entrepreneurship allow people to fulfill their purpose and be a contributor to the community.”
The Small Business Empowerment Center focuses its efforts on small business and entrepreneurship enhancement. This includes getting business owners connected to resources, finance, government contracts and certifications, executive coaching and technical assistance to help them start or grow a business.
“Business ownership is one of the fastest avenues to wealth building,” says Kevin. “I believe technical assistance – to help you understand the best way to start or grow a venture – helps you along that continuum. Knowing how to avoid pitfalls, knowing the best methodologies or pedagogy of how to do things the right way helps you to get to the destination quicker, faster and more efficiently.” SLCCU’s connection to the SBEC allows us to help business owners from various industries build lasting legacies and expand their dreams.
Executive Director, Incarnate Word Foundation
Partner Since 2020
For Bridget Flood, Executive Director of the Incarnate Word Foundation, working with SLCCU was an imperative. “We chose to invest in St. Louis Community Credit Union, as opposed to some other bank or lending institution, because this is a credit union that is owned by the Black and Brown community. It’s owned by the very people we want to serve. They have a voice. It’s not an institution that’s there just to fulfill regulatory requirements with the federal government. It’s a credit union that is there because it is of the community.”
A growing number of individuals and organizations are moving their deposit and loan needs to institutions like SLCCU for these reasons. When people who have a range of financial options save and borrow with community-based lenders, opportunities expand for those who lack access.
For Bridget and the Incarnate Word Foundation, “It’s an equity issue. It’s a justice issue. And for our Sisters and for us at the Incarnate Word Foundation, it’s really an issue of the basic dignity of every person, that hasn’t been honored historically in the United States. That’s why we’ve made our investment.”
Freddie Lee & Deborah J.
Owners, Freddie Lee’s Gourmet Sauces
Members Since 2022
What began in 2009 as a hobby of making barbecue sauce for friends and family has turned into a growing business for husband-and-wife team Freddie Lee and Deborah J. And it’s created a beloved product available throughout the St. Louis region and beyond. “We started doing farmers markets and [other events]. I wasn’t trying to go into business,” says Freddie Lee, a business borrower at St. Louis Community Credit Union (SLCCU). “We prayed on it … and the doors just started opening. It’s unbelievable. You have to love what you do or don’t do it. I love making sauce … always have. And now we are making sauce for other people.”
Originally, the couple was working with other lenders, but became discouraged at the high interest they had to pay – despite a successful business and good credit profiles – and considered throwing in the (sauce-stained) towel. They sought advice from Kevin Wilson at the Small Business Empowerment Center, who introduced Freddie Lee and Deborah to Alex Fennoy, SLCCU’s SVP of Business Services, who also happened to be a patron of the couple’s sauce. The rest is history. “Alex looked beyond … and saw the potential,” shares Deborah. “That’s how the relationship started. I am so glad SLCCU stepped in and made this deal with us.”
That relationship has turned into financing for a 6,700-square-ft. building that will provide room for a mini mart, kitchen and office space to lease – an upgrade from the company’s current space of 2,700 square feet. “The [new] building we have will allow us to grow, to hire more people and it will allow us to help our clients more,” says Deborah who, along with Freddie Lee, believes their relationship with SLCCU ensures the company’s success. “We are able to take care of business like we’re supposed to. We’re able to see our goals being fulfilled with this building. We’re able to breathe a little easier and not have those high-interest loans hanging over our heads. We were able to believe in the banking system again.”
This labor of love has also allowed them to build generational wealth. Their grandchildren often work in the facility and help produce the sauce.
After years of hard work and lessons learned, Freddie Lee and Deborah are happy to share their experience with other business owners. “You will always have roadblocks. Always. You have to think outside of the box. You have to see how to get through it and see how to deal with that situation at that time. You can’t just give up. You have to know that this is for you. And you need to go after it.” St. Louis Community Credit Union is proud to play a part in helping the couple go after their dreams.
S. J. C.
Member Since 2019
“I know how hard it is for people with barriers to access banking. To have an organization actively trying to tear down those barriers so that people who are unbanked can become banked and who partner with other organizations, that’s really valuable to me, and that’s the kind of place I want to put my money. That’s why I’m at St. Louis Community Credit Union,” says S.J.
S.J.’s relationship with the Credit Union began when the Benton Park branch opened in South City in 2017. “It’s 0.3 miles from my house. I walk there. I bike there. It’s easy to pop by, and I’ll pick up cash now and then.” Aside from having a convenient place to keep their savings, S.J. has been surprised by their relationship with staff. “Over time, I met the tellers there and they’re so great. They know me. They’ll be like, ’What are you doing this weekend?’ It’s kind of funny to think that you can just build up rapport with them. For me, that has not been a part of how I bank.”
For St. Louis Community Credit Union’s staff, knowing our members, providing ease of access through branches and digital tools and creating a sense of belonging is key to achieving our mission. Whether using us as a place to save, like S.J., or getting a second chance checking account to start over, St. Louis Community Credit Union is here to assist everyone in their unique financial journey.
“Sometimes I have to share with my friends that, ‘You don’t even know what a privilege it is to have access to a bank account and all the doors that it can open for you, and all the doors that you don’t even realize could be closed’.” We couldn’t agree more with S.J. We see you. We hear you. We’re here for all your financial needs.
Jenny C.B. & Adam B.
Members Since 2022
Home is what you make of it. For St. Louis transplants Jenny C. B. and her husband, Adam B., the region has provided fertile ground to plant roots, work, and make a better place for all. “We live in South City, just north of Tower Grove Park with our three rescue chickens: Dragonette, Florence, and Josephine,” shares Jenny. Per Adam, “Our three chickens are famous at my work. People are delighted to hear stories about them, or at least they tell me that.”
In addition to tending to home and their flock, both feel that they play a role in building a stronger St. Louis through actions both small and large. Adam believes, “From my perspective, banks do a lot of good in the world. But from the perspective of a local community, it’s kind of like an unfocused good. I wanted to work with St. Louis Community Credit Union so that we could have our money going to serve the people of St. Louis directly and not have it be spread out.”
In mid-2022, Adam and Jenny opened a Community Impact Deposit (CID) account by moving a portion of their savings to the Credit Union. “It’s nice to have a bit of extra return, but what feels more meaningful to me is that fact that the amount that we have in savings at St. Louis Community Credit Union is actually being put to good use for people,” states Adam.
Aside from knowing that their savings are doing good for communities they care about, Jenny likes that St. Louis Community Credit Union goes beyond finance. “You also do a lot of things as the credit union. You have the mammogram vans, for example. And the events you do where you’re promoting awareness about different issues and providing resources to the community. I know that y’all are doing really great stuff. That’s what we wanted to support with our savings. It was definitely an easy decision for us.”
Principal, Dynamic Logistics LLC
Member Since 2022
“I come from a family of haulers, with my dad owning a successful trucking business in Zimbabwe. I tried to run away from starting my own business for the longest time, but creating opportunities for others has been rewarding,” shares Malcolm N., a St. Louis Community Credit Union business borrower. Despite Malcolm’s initial resistance to carrying on his family’s business tradition, he has found his passion and isn’t looking back.
According to Malcolm, “Obtaining a business loan as a startup is very challenging, even for individuals with excellent credit. The interest rate I got on my loan was exceptional, very competitive with those on SBA-backed loans, but without the red tape. The entire experience set my business up for success.” After completing an entrepreneurship program sponsored by the Missouri Department of Transportation, Malcolm was introduced to Alex Fennoy (SVP Business Services, St. Louis Community Credit Union) to explore business loan options.
For Malcolm, owning a business isn’t just about him. “I also know Alex and the credit union have my best interests at heart and want to see my business succeed and grow. We share the same vision of changing lives, inspiring those we touch to be great and being the best version of themselves. My team lives in the community we serve, and my greatest joy is in the impact the three high-paying jobs created have had, changing lives and uplifting families.”
Malcolm is only getting started. He’s currently up to six trucks and six drivers. “My advice is don’t set up goals that you can reach. Stretch your goals. The end result is satisfying!” St. Louis Community Credit Union couldn’t agree more.