Economic Empowerment

"At the bottom of education, at the bottom of politics, even at the
bottom of religion, there must be economic independence."
Booker T. Washington, ca. 1903

Economic empowerment and financial stability continue to be major concerns within the African American community.  In the United States, blacks constitute only one-fifth of the nation’s wealth.  March’s featured church, Mount Airy Baptist Church in Washington, DC, under the leadership of Pastor L. B. West, is working to increase that percentage for African Americans.  

The Mount Airy Baptist Church Federal Credit Union (MABCFCU) received its charter in December 1985.  The credit union ministry began operating with only five members and $5,000 from the church.  Today, this financial institution manages over 560 accounts and has assets of $700,000.  Since its inception, the credit union has expanded to offer various account and loan options, including share accounts, Christmas Club accounts, secured and unsecured loans, and new and used car loans.  The credit union also provides credit counseling and financial seminars for its members. 

The Mount Airy Baptist Church Federal Credit Union is a multi-source, low income designated credit union.  Membership is open to Mount Airy members as well as other small groups that have partnered with the church.  This financial institution is highly accessible, requiring a minimum balance of only $5 and a $2 membership fee to open a share savings account.  The credit union president, Mr. Gil Dickinson, along with thirty volunteers, operates the credit union from the church.  Its hours of operation are Sundays from 9:00-10:45AM and 1:00-2:00PM. 

The credit union ministry of Mount Airy has served the Washington, DC community for over 22 years.  With God’s help, this church will continue to economically empower residents of Washington, DC and the surrounding area. This is a mid-size church that is doing BIG things. 

If your church or community is interested in developing a credit union or in learning about other economic development ideas, the following national and organizations can assist with your efforts:

  • National Credit Union Administration
    Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives
    Tawana James, Director
    (703) 518-6610

  • US Department of Agriculture Community Development/Empowerment Programs
    (800) 645-4712

  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

  • HUD Local Office Directory

  • Some small and mid-size churches that have implemented economic development programs include:

  • Mount Airy Baptist Church
    1100 N. Capitol St. NW
    Washington, DC 20002
    (202) 789-0640
    Pastor L. B. West

  • Corinthian Baptist Church
    700 S. James H. McGee Blvd.
    Dayton, OH 45402
    (937) 223-2373
    Pastor Perry E. Henderson, Jr.

  • Morning Star Baptist Church
    1014 E. Pine St.
    Tulsa, OK 74106
    (918) 582-8668
    Pastor Herbert Edmonson, III

  • Union Baptist Church
    2200 Smith St.
    Fort Wayne, IN 46803
    (260) 456-3421
  • Books

  • Black Economics: Solutions for Economic and Community Empowerment by Jawanza Kunjufu

  • Black Church Credit Union by Perry Henderson

  • The Strategic Development of Credit Unions by Charles Ferguson and Donald McKillop

  • From Holy Power to Holy Profits: The Black Church by Walter Malone, Jr.


    2013 Units