LOS ANGELES, February 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — When the former Philadelphia Eagle Ray Ellis and contractor Frank Crump met, they discovered a common goal: to invest deeply in our community, one individual and one small business at a time, with the goal of exponential growth.

Fast forward a decade, when Crump learned his sister had taken four payday loans, which involves money lent at an exceptionally high interest rate that is repaid when the borrower receives their next paycheck. For Crump’s sister, the interest debt actually exceeded her salary. “Interest rates for these products are often 300-400%, which is horribly high. I have seen the need for a compassionate approach to lending, especially within the black community, and I considered equipping my educational non-profit organization, United Progress International (UPI)with lending capacity.”

Recent ACLU Data indicates that predatory lending continues to disproportionately affect communities of color, and Crump was determined to find a way to provide short-term loans with little or no interest. His mission aligned with that of Ellis, who engaged in philanthropy with a purpose. To this end, Ellis and Crump decided to present the UPI Loan Fund program at an NFL alumni networking event during Super Bowl LVI weekend in Los Angeles.

“I strongly believe it is the responsibility of professional athletes to give back to their communities, Ellis said. “I pledge to help my hometown of Canton, Ohioand as a brand ambassador and fundraiser for UPI Loan Fund, I am able to do just that.”

the UPI Loan Fund is modeled on the Jewish Free Loan Program (JFL), which started in Phoenix during the 1940s. “All of my 30 years in financial services told me that UPI’s approach had to fail,” said Kerwin BrownDirector General of UPILF. “But the success of JFL’s business model has proven otherwise. And in the context of the black community, a virtuous circle of lending provides the solution to an ongoing challenge: access to capital.”

Access to capital is expressed, for example, by the sum of $100,000 that Ellis was able to raise and contribute specifically for Canton residents who need and qualify for a low-interest or interest-free loan. And true to its educational roots, UPI aims to create healthy financial habits for its loan recipients by providing financial behavior training and money education. DreamSmart Academy in San DiegoCalifornia.

“Equity begins where inequality ends,” Crump said. “Through education and with the support of role models like Ray EllisUPI is working to close the equity gap and ultimately empower our community to build generational wealth.”

To get involved with UPILF, please visit For press inquiries and more information, please contact Heather Taylor from Mad Hat Mavens: [email protected] Where 323-839-4488.