Brooklyn Cooperative provides educational support tools and banking who have made a profound difference in the financial life of many of our members. We honor them hard work and determination have helped them achieve their financial success.
Below you will find some simple examples of flourishing business and individual members of the community of Brooklyn Cooperative. We look forward to you joining us too!
Francisco Curiel - Make the Road New York
Brooklyn Cooperative has established an innovative partnership with Make the Road New York (MRNY) - an important institution for the city’s immigrant population. MRNY advocates for and offers vital civil rights, housing, employment, and health counseling services to new Americans who might otherwise go underserved.
Francisco Curiel is a MRNY member and he came to the credit union though “Fuerza Cooperativa”/”FuerzaC” (or Cooperative Power), our program implemented in partnership with MRNY. FuerzaC helps area residents pay for their MRNY membership fee by offering them a low interest $100 loan. Now that Francisco is a member of MRNY, he’s taken advantage of many of their services. As a Brooklyn Coop member, he can take advantage of all credit union services, such as credit counseling, free or low cost tax prep, workshops, and more.
Francisco is a MRNY “Youth Leader.” For a young man of high school age, Francisco carries himself with great poise. He’s an extremely confident speaker. In his position at MRNY, Francisco uses his personality to organize and inspire his peers to become civically active – from participating in marches to petitioning their local politicians. Mr. Curiel runs workshops, attends community events, and participates in demonstrations to advance urban quality of life causes. He was considering a future as a math teacher, but now that he’s knee deep in community organizing, he wants to work as an activist full time.
Francisco attended Dream University offered by Reform Immigration for America in Washington DC. The program raises awareness about undocumented youth who desire to attend college by publicizing students at teach-ins and direct action events. Mr. Curiel said the experience of taking in classes just down the street from the White House was “Unbelievable.” In our 25-minute interview, he talked about a wide range of topics, from a Pro Soccer job opportunity to methods of mediating difficult conversations. Who knows what the future holds for this bright young man, but we’d put our money on great things!!
Stephen Haff is first and foremost a compelling person. He's also a teacher, activist, director, and entrepreneur! Stephen has been a member with Brooklyn Coop since 2008. He told me that he's always been wary of banks. "(Money) always made me anxious. The Coop is the first place to make me feel comforatable. I'm glad to know the actual people who handle my money".
After years of teaching public school at Bushwick High School, Stephen decided he needed a change. Still Waters in a Storm is that change. He doesn't call Still Waters a "program" or a "center," he refers to it as simply a Room. The room is set up to give Bushwick's children time to decompress and refocus on their lives outside of the school environment. Still Waters offers the kids books, chess, music, art supplies, and open writing sessions. The kids aren't directed or scheduled to follow any set plan. The space is theirs to use as they like.
Still Waters in a Storm is a non-profit organization and Stephen is running some very cool fundraisers. The first is a really interesting and engaging program he calls "Block by Block". On the wall at SWIAS there is a huge map of Bushwick. For donations of $1 per word the children of the program compose poems and short stories to fill the map's blocks of Bushwick. The donations fund the room and provide the kids with inspiration to create!
Leonardo Molina is an up and coming business member at Brooklyn Cooperative. He owns Guacuco, a Venezuelan restaurant in Bushwick. Leonardo came to BCFCU via a recommendation from the Small Business program at Pace University. Initially he tried to get a loan at a national bank, but because of the start-up nature of his business he was quickly denied. This particular institution had been his personal bank for years, but they offered him little courtesy. Then Mr. Molina came to the Coop.
"My favorite thing about being with you (Brooklyn Coop) is how straight forward you are" says Molina. "There is no beating around the bush, and I love people here." Working with Jahaira Guerrero our Small Enterprise Development Director at the Bedford-Stuyvesant branch, Leonardo was able to obtain the loan he needed to get Guacuco up and running.
When I asked Leonardo if he'd recommend us to a friend, he replied: "I already have!" This was a restaurant owner he previously worked for who was looking to open a local restaurant, but she couldn't find financing. And again the Coop was able to provide great service, offering her the loan she needed.
If you find yourself looking for a great brunch this weekend, try Guacuco at 44 Irving St.