On Wednesday, Sept. 21, 200 people gathered in the lobby of ISF Bank in Bronzeville to party with a purpose for Sib’s Breakfast Club’s 8th Anniversary Celebration. Organized in conjunction with Sibyl Holloway, founder of Sib’s Breakfast Club, the “All Black Everything” event showcased and awarded successful African Americans in Chicago and offered steps to support Black owned businesses.
“It is always exciting to have the opportunity to introduce ISF Bank to a new group of customers. Especially a socially conscious group that understands the need for a strong business center like ISF Bank in the community,” said Monica Thomas, Vice President and Community Banking Officer at ISF.
The celebration, hosted by ABC 7’s Val Warner, brought increased awareness to the #BankBlack movement and kept the bank’s doors open well after hours so that guests could gather to open new accounts and network with their community.
“I’ve been in the Englewood community, not even knowing there was an African American bank that we could put our money in and grow. Tonight I opened up a savings account for my son, it’s going to be a surprise for him,” said Laytoya Hollis, one of 59 people who opened a new ISF account during the event.
As a result of these new accounts, more money will circulate locally, helping close the immense wealth gap that AfricanAmericans face today in the United States. Savings from each account will go toward funding local small business loans, homeowners and families within the community.
In addition to welcoming new faces, ISF also paid special tribute to one of its longtime clients, the Flemming family. Thomas took a moment to honor Beatrice Flemming, a 95year-old who opened an ISF account in 1959 and taught her children, Brian and Mary, about the value of saving. “The Flemming family has continued to support us,” she said. “They told us that when African Americans couldn’t get loans anywhere else, they got loans here. We have to remember how important minority banks are.”
Proceeds from the event went to Project Greenwood, a nonprofit that introduces underprivileged children to the stock trading industry. “I think it’s huge having ISF here on the Southside,” said Founder, Bevon Joseph. “And what we do, getting kids at a very young age to teach them about credit reports and the financial industry, I think it’s a natural thing that we are here tonight. I always say I don’t believe talent is the problem I think lack of exposure is the problem. These kids just don’t have the same opportunities as everyone else.”
Since its inception in February, Project Greenwood has taken 60 kids on tours of stock trading companies like CME. They have partnered with Metropolitan Family Services, Christ the King Jesuit Prep High School, which is 100% AfricanAmerican, as well as Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, which is 100% Hispanic. So far, Project Greenwood has placed five students in paid internships, with plans to reach 20 next year.
ISF’s event reached not only Chicagoans, but also members of the international community. “This event is phenomenal. Because I’m in Vancouver and there are not as many Black people it’s a totally different dynamic. It’s a small community and we don’t support each other like this,” visiting artist, Tajah Olson said.
Olson displayed her canvas paintings, which are inspired by the face paint of her ancestors in the African Aswesi tribe. “Here, I feel more connected to my culture, but most importantly, to my people.”
Illinois Service Federal Savings and Loan (ISF Bank):
Illinois Service Federal Savings and Loan (ISF Bank) was established in 1934 during the Great Migration, offering African Americans loans and financial services that other banks denied them. The GhanaianAmerican Nduom family recently acquired ISF Bank and is working to diversify its holdings and introduce new and innovative products that will increase its customer base and generate more profits. For more information:http://www.isfbank.com/
To arrange an interview, contact Ashley Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org or (224) 234-5232.