Me'Lea Connelly, Director of the Association for Black Economic Power, and Patrick Troska, Executive Director of the Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation of MN, discuss their partnership on the Village Trust Financial Cooperative.
The Association for Black Economic Power (ABEP) is working to establish Village Trust Financial Cooperative, Minnesota’s only Black-led financial institution. This concept was born 18 months ago in response to the killing of Philando Castile, as a way to use our economic power as a form of resistance to build the financial resilience of our communities, and insulate against extraction and divestment. This is not a new concept, but a strategy with a legacy woven throughout Black history. Financial liberation through institutional power has long been successfully used in lifting communities from economic pain into promise.
With the support of The Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota, we have spent the last 12 months doing the leg-work, creating the structure and building public commitment necessary to open Village Trust in North Minneapolis in 2019. We are now looking to build a body of supporters and investors who believe in igniting an economic renaissance by, for and with the Black community. We seek to build a network of supporters who see this project as an opportunity to unify a community torn apart by inequitable systems that persist in our state. Village Trust has the potential to be a powerful tool in reversing our equity chasm. However, it will truly take a village to make this happen.