2022 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Jackson (11th), Norwood, Blount, Frazier, Horhn, Blackmon, Barnett, Butler (38th), Simmons (12th), Simmons (13th), Thomas
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION COMMENDING AND CONGRATULATING WILLIAM (BILL) BYNUM, FOUNDER AND CEO OF HOPE, A JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI-BASED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FINANCIAL ORGANIZATION TO ASSIST ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND HOMEOWNERSHIP IN THE DEEP SOUTH, UPON HIS RECEIPT OF THE PRESTIGIOUS 26TH HEINZ AWARD FOR THE ECONOMY.
WHEREAS, on November 18, 2021, the Heinz Family Foundation named William (Bill) Bynum, founder and CEO of HOPE, a Jackson, Mississippi-based community development financial organization, recipient of the prestigious 26th Heinz Award for the Economy; and
WHEREAS, established to honor the memory of Senator John Heinz and to celebrate the vision and the spirit that produce achievements of lasting good, the Heinz Awards recognize individuals making contributions to the Arts, the Environment and the Economy; and
WHEREAS, Bill Bynum is the founding CEO of HOPE, a family of organizations comprised of Hope Credit Union, Hope Enterprise Corporation and Hope Policy Institute, which provides financial services; aggregates resource; and engages in advocacy to combat the extent to which factors such as race, gender, birthplace and wealth limit one's ability to prosper. HOPE works in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, a region where indicators of economic mobility such as employment, housing, education and health care are among the worst in the United States. Entrenched poverty and racial disparities have exacerbated these conditions, as have the lack of access to traditional banking services for the region's most economically distressed people and places, most notably in the Mississippi Delta and Alabama Black Belt; and
WHEREAS, since 1994, HOPE has attacked these challenges by providing affordable, responsibly structured financial services and advocated for policies and practices that bridge opportunity gaps and close the racial wealth divide in the deep south. These efforts have generated more than $3 billion in financing that has benefited nearly two million people across the deep south, while influencing policies that helped shape the nation's community development finance section into a force for diversity and inclusion. Eight out of 10 people served by the credit union are people of color and 60% are women, over one-third were unbanked or underbanked prior to joining HOPE, and 75% of HOPE's member households earned incomes of less than $50,000.00 last year. Among the homeowners reached by HOPE, nine out of 10 are first-time homebuyers supported by products designed to directly address the consequences of the racial wealth gap; and
WHEREAS, "financial institutions can either perpetuate the nation's racial wealth gap or make the necessary, structural changes to close it. There is no middle ground," says HOPE CEO Bill Bynum. "In an increasingly diverse nation, our collective self-interest hinges on the presence of a financial system that works for everyone, particularly historically people of color, who comprise an emerging majority of Americans"; and
WHEREAS, HOPE's impact has been greatest during times of crisis. This was the case after Hurricane Katrina devasted lives, homes and businesses in the region. HOPE's advocacy resulted in policy changes that doubled the amount of public funds available to individuals without flood or property insurance. HOPE partnered with a local foundation and utility company to fund accounts that enabled 2,500 people to access Federal Emergency Management Agency funds for vital resources such as food, clothes, tarps and relocation assistance. HOPE also managed recovery programs that assisted more than 10,000 homeowners and small businesses. In response to the current pandemic, and resulting economic crisis, HOPE financed over 5,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans - 89% for businesses owned by people of color and half owned by women - many that were turned down by banks with which they had an existing relationship; and
WHEREAS, "The Heinz Awards honors Bill Bynum for shining light on and addressing the toll that decades of underinvestment, neglect, predatory lending and a lack of access to basic financial services has had on those living in the rural deep south," said Teresa Heinz, Chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation. "Through HOPE's program of resources and services, Bill has crafted a proven model to stop this trajectory of entrenched poverty and create a new future for generations of Americans in the South and all across rural America." Recipients of the 26th Heinz Awards will be honored at a virtual event in December, 2021; and
WHEREAS, we join the Heinz Family Foundation in recognizing a Mississippian whose groundbreaking work has expanded access to financial services for minorities and who has brought honor to the State of Mississippi:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend and congratulate William (Bill) Bynum, Founder and CEO of HOPE, a Jackson, Mississippi-based community development financial organization to assist entrepreneurship and homeownership in the deep south, upon his receipt of the prestigious 26th Heinz Award for the Economy, and extend to Bill and his family our best wishes at this auspicious occasion.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Bill Bynum and HOPE in Jackson, Mississippi, forwarded to the Mississippi Development Authority, and made available to the Capitol Press Corps.