Friday, July 20, 2007

Jews Against Usury

A note (of credit) from Simon

I just finished paying off a $10,000 loan to a bunch of Jews.

Before you leap to any stereotypical conclusions, here's the twist: It was an interest-free loan.

That got your attention, didn't it?

Oh, and you don't have to be Jewish to qualify.

The Jewish Free Loan Association may be a relatively unassuming organization, but what they're doing for people is undeniably hot. Because although I qualified for a business loan for my fledging company a few years ago — and believe you me, that money was crucial in getting us off the ground — most of JFLA's lending is done in the form of emergency loans to low-income residents of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

And while predatory lenders are everywhere, right down to the paycheck-cashing rackets that rip off poor folks who don't have bank accounts, JFLA actually gives moneylending a good name.

So when I wrote my last check to them this week I vowed that I'd mention their good work on the blog.

JFLA began in 1904, and its earliest loans paid for sewing machines and pushcarts. Over the years, when people were dislocated by World War II, the Watts Riots, the Northridge earthquake and countless more prosaic emergencies, the org was there with needed funds.

The organization is attempting to redress California's shortfall in nurses with the Brandman Foundation Loan Fund for Nursing Students, providing interest-free loans to future nurses of up to $5,000.

What JFLA does is humbling and inspiring. If you know of someone in immediate need, let them know about this amazing organization. If you're fortunate enough to be "comfortable," as our people like to say, consider making a donation.

Just don't ask us to lend it to you.

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1 comment:

Alana said...

Simon, thanks for the heads up here, very cool. (I especially like to hear how this organization assists nursing students.) Do you know JFLA makes loans to single moms who run out of $$ for groceries before the next pay day? Actually, if I could just consolidate some debt, interest free, that would . . . wow. Make a savings account feasible sometime in the actual foreseeable future.



P.S. Congrats paying off your own loan. Bet that felt good!