Meet our members!  AFN’s greatest asset is our members—a diverse network of national, regional, and community-based foundations, financial institutions, and grantmakers—investing in advancing economic opportunity and prosperity.  Check back each month and meet your peers!   

1: What’s your main interest/focus on asset building in 2020?

SBCP’s work is informed by research showing that net worth is a key driver of economic mobility and that assets like affordable homeownership, good jobs and business ownership, and savings are key drivers of increased net worth. In addition to lending and financial development services, we have a public policy program that focuses on federal, state, and municipal savings policy, particularly tax-time savings, asset limit reform on public benefits, and employment-related savings issues.


2: What’s the most “ah-ha” provoking new book or research that you’ve read in the past year?

Historic Partition Law Reform: A Game Changer for Heirs’ Property Owners by Thomas Mitchell – I have a longstanding personal interest in heirs property and methods of promoting land retention, relevant here since asset retention and prevention of wealth extraction are key parts of asset building.


3: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from a grantee or a colleague?

I commend Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp Inc., for reminding us of the critical role CDFIs and all of us have in “financing the change we want to see in the world.”


4: What’s your favorite binge-worthy show, series, or podcast?

I’m a big fan of LeVar Burton Reads.  I loved him in Roots, Star Trek TNG, and Reading Rainbow and his taste in the short stories he reads on the podcast is excellent.


About Karama Neal, President, Southern Bancorp Community Partners

I am president of Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a CDFI loan fund and financial development organization promoting economic mobility in Arkansas and Mississippi, with a focus on underserved people and places.  At Southern, we understand that wealth building isn’t just for the wealthy, so we help people reach their financial goals though commercial and consumer lending, financial development services, and public policy research and advocacy.