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Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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News Archives » VOICE


Faith-based Investors Help VOICE to Secure Needed Funding from GE April 28th, 2015

200px-General_Electric_logo.svgFaith-based and socially responsible investors enabled leaders from VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement) to use their proxies to attend the GE AGM in Oklahoma City on April 22. VOICE was interested to attend the AGM to press GE to commit to $1 million in funding for the Metro IAF/VOICE Equity Restoration Fund. The faith-based activists had already secured $1 million from J.P. Morgan and $1.5 million from Bank of America.

Their effort was successful, which the faith leaders learned in an email from the company just as they were boarding their flight to Oklahoma. The grant will serve to leverage $10 million+ from religious and other social investors to help finance the rehabilitation of blighted and abandoned properties, construction of new homes, the development of affordable rental housing, and other community restoration activities in Prince William County, VA.

The Oblates, through Fr Seamus Finn, OMI have been working with VOICE for several years on this initiative designed to help those crushed by the mortgage crisis in 2007-08.

Read the letter from GE committing to this grant funding.


Northern Virginia Community Organization Develops $30 Million Redevelopment Fund October 1st, 2013

fd81abd254d7751c4d3d0b1efc49d95fVOICE, the northern Virginia community organization that has been addressing housing blight in the region, was highlighted in a Washington Post article recently. The organization has put together the $30 million “Prince William, VA Restoration Fund” from mortgage lenders responsible for a major foreclosure crisis in the area. The fund is designed to address neighborhood blight caused by the foreclosure & predatory loan crisis in town home communities like Georgetown South in Manassas, VA.  The Oblates have actively supported VOICE’s efforts to develop this community redevelopment fund through our activist shareholder connections.

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Religious Leaders Press JP Morgan Chase to Reinvest in Virginia County Hit Hard by Foreclosures June 20th, 2013

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI calls for justice from JP Morgan Chase

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI calls for investment in mortgage-devastated communities from JP Morgan Chase

Northern Virginia Religious leaders marched this morning to JP Morgan’s DC offices after the Bank refused to invest adequately in Prince William County, VA. The county was hard hit in the mortgage crisis, and the investment is needed to re-build the blighted communities.

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI and the Oblates, as investors in the major banks, have been supportive of the community effort to deal with the mortgage crisis, through VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement). Fr. Finn spoke at the rally, calling on the JP Morgan Chase to make a meaningful investment in the community. Watch a video of the speech on YouTube.

VOICE leaders plan to meet with Federal Regulators in the next month to ask them to sanction the bank for predatory lending practices, and to investigate credit card robo-signings in Northern Virginia.

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VOICE Wins Significant Housing Agreement with Bank of America October 12th, 2012

On the evening of Monday October 1st, VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement) had a remarkably successful action to push forward mortgage relief for affected homeowners in Prince William County, VA. Following all-day, intense negotiations, last minute accommodations, and a lot of fluid politics, 800+ VOICE leaders packed St Paul United Methodist Church in Woodbridge, VA and emerged with some impressive agreements.

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Banks Targeted in Divestment Campaign and by Faith-Based Shareholder Activism April 29th, 2012

Churches and faith-based shareholders alike have been taking action against big banks that have failed to respond to the plight of homeowners and others seriously affected by the financial crisis. The Missionary Oblates have been actively engaging the big banks and financial institutions in an effort to deal with some of the underlying problems that have caused so much pain to so many.

Recently, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) facilitated the participation of VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement) in the Detroit AGM of GE Capital. VOICE is a faith-based community organization representing people who have lost their homes or whose houses are threatened by the on-going foreclosure crisis. GE Capital holds some of these mortgages and has been resistant to negotiation of the mortgage terms.

A recent article in Catholic News Service looks at the growing divestment campaign and some of the other activities of church groups vis a vis the big banks.

See our related post on the demonstrations outside the recent Well Fargo AGM in San Francisco.


Faith Based Community Organizers host Public Gathering on Foreclosure Crisis in Virginia October 6th, 2011

On October 30th VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement) member institutions will hold a public gathering with more than 1,000 people to celebrate progress on their recent campaigns, especially their work to address the foreclosure crisis in Prince William County, Manassas, & Manassas Park. The Oblates have supported VOICE’s work on foreclosures by having given the organization access to company meetings and  connecting them with other faith-based shareholder activists.

The upcoming action will be an opportunity to celebrate successes (in Prince William County and across Northern Virginia) and to announce next steps to address local reinvestment needs.

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and senior bank executives will be in attendance.

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