The JP UPdate: Springfield, IL Microlending on the Rise

Katie ArnoldThe JP UP date

Lashonda Fitch Leads JP Lending Efforts in Springfield, Illinois

Justine PETERSEN, in partnership with the City of Springfield and local banks, established a microloan fund in the fall of 2015. To date, over 100 microloans, totaling just under $1MM, have assisted local businesses in various stages of development. Lashonda Fitch, who offices out of the City of Springfield’s Economic Development department, leads JP’s efforts in the Springfield market. Recently, Lashonda participated in a panel discussion at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) located at Lincoln Land Community College along with local bankers and Derrick Champion of the Advantage Illinois small business loan program.





JP triumvirate Romario Smith, Daniel Koslovsky and Ben Feimer staffed an information table this week as part of the Wellston Housing Resource Fair. Romario Smith is a first year graduate student in the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University; his practicum at JP will focus on credit building under the tutelage of Ben Feimer. Daniel Koslovsky is an AmeriCorps VISTA with JP serving a one year assignment focusing on systems enhancement and the development of a logic model for our credit building program. Our JP Power Trio enjoyed the opportunity for both community outreach and engagement.





Elisabeth Risch of SLEHCRA Educates JP Staff on the Nuts and Bolts of CRA in St. Louis

The importance of CRA (the Community Reinvestment Act) is embedded within the DNA of Justine PETERSEN. Our namesake, Justine M. Petersen, pioneered community reinvestment opportunities that benefitted both local banks and the community at large. Elisabeth Risch, Assistant Director of the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council (EHOC), educated JP staff this week about the work of SLEHCRA – the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance. JP is a founding member of SLEHCRA, which seeks to engage banks in constructive partnerships that yield transformative and equitable change for historically disinvested communities. JP is proud of the work of SLEHCRA, and JP is proud of Elisabeth, who now serves on the board of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC).





A Week of Holidays

This week witnessed not only Valentine’s Day, but two JP staff birthdays! Both Sheri Flanigan-Vazquez and Nikki Wilson celebrated their BIG day on the SAME day, though only Sheri could be captured on our “office birthday surveillance.” Happy Birthday Sheri and Nikki!