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The Self-Help empire

In 1980, Martin Eakes and his wife, Bonnie Wright, founded the Center for Community Self-Help in Durham to provide legal advice to employees who wanted to take over troubled textile mills and furniture factories.

Self-Help has expanded into a 215-employee organization. Its components:

Center for Community Self-Help (founded in 1980) now provides management, program development, fund-raising and advocacy work for the organization.

Self-Help Credit Union (1984) is a state-chartered, federally insured credit union with branches in Charlotte, Asheville, Durham, Greensboro, Charlotte, Greenville, Wilmington and Washington, D.C. It specializes in home mortgages and small-business loans to the working poor, plus loans to child-care centers and charter schools.

Self-Help Ventures Fund (1984) is a nonprofit loan fund for higher-risk commercial borrowers. It also oversees real estate development, including administering a $40 million loan to the American Tobacco warehouse conversion project in Durham and a secondary mortgage partnership with Fannie Mae.

Self-Help Services Corp. (1994) handles payroll and personnel services for the organization.

Self-Help Community Development Corp. (1996) is a residential real estate development group formed for the Walltown rehabilitation project in Durham underwritten by Duke University.

Center for Responsible Lending (2002) is a research, policy and lobbying group formed to fight predatory lending in North Carolina and nationally. It has offices in Durham and Washington, D.C., and is opening another in California.

CENTER FOR COMMUNITY SELF-HELP (WWW.SELF-HELP.ORG)

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