By Sister Marilín Llanes, OP - Director and Portfolio Manager, Portfolio Advisory Board The two featured organizations below are making dreams come true for thousands of people on the move who have fled their countries for an array of exceedingly difficult situations. These individuals land in this country with the pressing need to rebuild their lives. Immigrants, refugees, or climate-displaced people arrive without credit and often with a limited understanding of the complex U.S. financial system. The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) and Enterprising Latinas, Inc. , programs of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), are crafting the needed financial products and equipping clients with marketable skills that promote economic mobility and equity. The Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB) members approved loan requests in June 2023 to Enterprising Latinas and the CEO as new partner borrowers. The CEO , a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-consolidated subsidiary of the IRC, is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). It has been giving loans nationally since 2011 to low-income refugee and immigrant families and offering small-dollar consumer and business financing to assist with their financial challenges. One of the CEO’s programs is the Supporting Access to Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Fund. A client who accessed an auto loan through this program shares his story: “Before this, it used to take a lot of time and money to go to work and to go to doctor’s appointments with my family. I used to go to work in one hour and a half by bus or spend money on Uber/Lyft. Now, I can go to work in 20 minutes, and I can take my four-month-old baby and my wife to the doctor and other appointments on time. This loan gives me two to three hours back every day – time I can spend with family or working extra to support my family. I plan to use my new car to work at Uber as a driver in the future, so it helps me earn more money for my family. I am happier and less stressed.” SAFE participant. Photo courtesy of the CEO. Recently resettled individuals like this SAFE participant typically come to the CEO to refinance high-interest loans from an auto dealership. That was not the case with this SAFE client, as he accessed an affordable rate, a prime rate for a borrower considered “subprime” in the eyes of traditional financial institutions. Clients find it challenging to be resilient when much of their income is extracted for monthly auto loan payments, leaving no breathing room for emergencies. Compared to more extractive options, the savings on a CEO auto loan allow a family to build emergency savings or pay for other necessities. CEO’s mission is well aligned with the Congregation’s 2022 Enactment on Diversity to “ …act to dismantle unjust systems and build the beloved community in which everyone is cared for, absent of poverty, Hunger, and hate." Photo courtesy of the author, from an on-site visit April 18, 2023. Enterprising Latinas, Inc. (ELI), a nonprofit organization led by women of color, was founded in 2009 and has operated since 2014. Its focus is to create pathways to prosperity for women and low- to moderate-income families in the Wimauma, Florida, community and throughout Tampa Bay. Its purpose is to create a place for personal and professional development, workforce skills certification, and training for starting or growing micro-enterprises and networking. Below is the story of Amarilis and her resiliency and entrepreneurship in action. “Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico hard, and like many Puerto Ricans, I migrated to Florida to rebuild my life. I was lucky. I found work and started a successful career in retail but found myself wondering if there was more. I was sure that I wasn’t realizing my potential. A neighbor shared with me a brochure promoting Enterprising Latinas and told me about their business class. My natural curiosity led me to them, and before I knew it, I was completing their eight-week business class and working with my business coach to start a new business venture, Be You 360 Photobooth, Inc., which I incorporated in 2022. Today, I am the founding owner. In my first year, my business is projected to make $30,000 in sales. I know now that for me, the sky is the limit.” Enterprising Latinas’ commitment to empowering women by equipping them with new skills is well aligned with the 2022 Enactment on Women , to “strive to attain gender equality and women’s full and equal participation and decision making in Church and society.” Both the Center for Economic Opportunity and Enterprising Latinas serve as catalytic containers, investing in financial resilience for transformative impact in the lives of persons and communities underserved by traditional sources of capital.