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This week on Everything Co-op, co-authors Clifford Rosenthal and Michael McCray discuss community capital and financial empowerment

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From left: Clifford Rosenthal and Michael McCray are the co-authors of Community Capital: Race, Equity, and the Credit Union Movement.

Tune in to WOL 1450 AM, 95.9 FM and WOL Livestream on May 16 at 10:30 am EDT for Everything Co-op, hosted by Vernon Oakes. This week, Vernon interviews Clifford N. Rosenthal and Michael McCray, the co-authors of Community Capital: Race, Equity, and the Credit Union Movement. Vernon and his guests will discuss the book and their contributions to community development and financial empowerment within the credit union movement.

Cliff Rosenthal joined the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (now, Inclusiv) in 1980 and served as CEO until 2012. He drafted the original concept paper calling for a CDFI fund and served in the leadership of the CDFI Coalition for two decades. After leaving the Federation, he launched and managed the Office of Financial Empowerment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), developing initiatives to improve access to financial services for economically vulnerable consumers.

Trained as a historian, in 2018 he published Democratizing Finance: Origins of the Community Development Financial Institutions Movement (FriesenPress). In 2024, with Michael McCray, he published Community Capital: Race, Equity, and the Credit Union Movement. Since 2022 he has served as a consulting producer for the award-winning public television reality series, Opportunity Knocks$, which helps people improve their financial lives by linking them to credit unions, CDFIs, and other nonprofit organizations.

He received the Herb Wegner Award of the National Credit Union Foundation (2005), as well as the highest awards of the Opportunity Finance Network; the Insight Center for Community Economic Development; the Lawyers Alliance of New York City; and in 2011, the Network of Latino Credit Unions and Professionals. In 2019 he was inducted into the African American Credit Union Hall of Fame, and in October 2024 he will be inducted into the national Cooperative Hall of Fame. Cliff holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia University in New York City.

Michael McCray was an advisor and official of the Kappa Alpha Psi Federal Credit Union. A public policy expert on community and economic development finance and grassroots organizing, Michael participated in KAPFCU’s rare, almost unprecedented battle to save the credit union, bringing its case to the second highest court in the land.

Michael is an alumnus of Georgetown Law, Howard University, American University, and Florida A&M University. He began his career in community development finance when he worked for the Federal Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Communities (EZ/EC) Program, a White House Economic Development Initiative of the Clinton administration. Michael also taught community development finance for the Graduate Community Development Program at Prairie View A&M University.

In 2011 he published the breakthrough volume, Race, Power, and Politics: Memoirs of an ACORN Whistleblower. In 2021 McCray received of the Cliff Robertson Sentinel Award for his advocacy with the ACORN 8 from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). His gripping memoir gives an insider’s account of ACORN at a crossroads and the rise and fall of the Rathke family empire. Tom Devine, leader of the Washington-based Government Accountaity Project (GAP), called this story “one of the most important corporate whistleblower stories in twenty-five years.” It is the story of systematic waste, fraud, and abuse at a powerful nonprofit organization.

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