The Aspen Institute and Institute Trustee Anne Welsh McNulty announced Oct. 28 that William Bynum and the $169 million Hope Credit Union are winners of the sixth annual John P. McNulty Prize.
The $100,000 prize recognizes the spirit of innovation and excellence of private sector leaders who use entrepreneurship to address important global social issues, according to the Aspen Institute.
Bynum is the president/CEO of the Jackson, Miss.-based credit union.
Since 2008, as other financial institutions were closing their doors in underserved communities, HOPE responded by extending a lifeline to residents in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee and Arkansas, the Washington, D.C.-based Aspen Institute said.
During this period, the credit union expanded from three to 15 branches, increased its member-owners from 9,000 to 28,000, and closed more than 7,200 consumer, mortgage and small business loans totaling more than $260 million, according to the institute. And, HOPE is working to double the number of people and places it serves in bank deserts in the region.
“By opening the doors of economic opportunity to underserved individuals across the country, HOPE has proven that financial institutions focused on community development can truly transform weak economies into stronger, sustainable ones, and improve the lives of thousands of people in the process,” said McNulty Prize judge and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Bynum, an adviser to Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama on community development issues and Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, founded HOPE to provide financial services that support jobs, housing, access to health care and other critical needs in the region's most distressed communities, the Aspen Institute said.
“Our goal is to ensure that hardworking people have access to the tools they need to buy homes, start businesses, educate their children and otherwise support their families regardless of their station in life,” Bynum said.
He added, “Hopelessness in a community is when there isn't a clear path to a better future. At HOPE, we provide a vehicle for people to work together and boost each other up to that next rung on the economic ladder.”
On Nov. 6, Bynum and HOPE will be honored at the annual McNulty Prize reception in New York.
Founded by Anne McNulty in honor of her late husband John, the John P. McNulty Prize aims to galvanize efforts to address the foremost social, economic and political challenges by recognizing the very best in high-impact leadership, according to the institute. Each year, the winner is selected by an international jury.