Meet some of the Fountain Fund's Client Partners who have changed their lives.
FEATURED STORY: Anthony Hingle
Anthony Hingle was ready for a new beginning. Sentenced for a felony in 1988, he spent 32 years in the Louisiana State Penitentiary (commonly known as Angola). After a vacated conviction and amended charge, he was released in April, 2021 on time already served.
Embracing his second chance, Mr. Hingle found employment at VOTE (Voice of the Experienced), an organization dedicated to advocating and organizing for criminal justice reform. A short commute from his home, the job offered him the promise of reacclimating to society while earning a living wage for his family.
Mr. Hingle and his wife owned two vehicles, but when a minor accident left them without the means to repair his car, they had to make do the best they could with only one.
Commuting to his job became much more difficult, a situation that impacted his entire family.
“We had to share one vehicle, but my wife and I worked on opposite sides of the city,” he explained. “With a car, it would take me 20 minutes to get to work, but on a bus, it took me an hour and a half and it wasn’t always reliable. Once I had to have a coworker pick me up because the bus was late. And I couldn’t drop off my granddaughter at school like I could if I was driving.”
Thinking back on that time, “it was a real strain on the family, being forced to share one car,” Mr. Hingle recalled.
Mr. Hingle had heard about the Fountain Fund from another formerly incarcerated individual, who said the organization may be of help by providing money for a car repair loan.
The Fountain Fund program model provides low-interest loans and financial coaching to formerly incarcerated people, helping them build credit and achieve their self-determined goals.
“It almost sounded too good to be true and I had a lot of questions,” said Mr. Hingle.
The Fountain Fund and CBA Fund: Enabling Life-Changing Opportunities Through Small Dollar Loans
Paul Yates, Director of Economic Empowerment at the Fountain Fund is used to that type of skepticism. “Our clients are used to hearing ‘no’ every time they try to better their situation through things like loans,” he explained. “We don’t tell them ‘no’, we advise them on the specific steps they need to take. Many people tell us that it’s the first time someone has believed in them, the first time someone trusted them. You can see the change in their confidence. They’re so used to people saying no. We try to figure out how to get them to yes.”
After meeting with the Fountain Fund, Mr. Hingle was told he would be able to get a loan to repair his car. They offered him 24-month repayment terms with 3% interest, much lower than the typical 17-18% interest a bank would offer, if he could even qualify for a loan.
“After a 32-year sentence, most places say you need at least two years of credit building and I couldn't qualify,” said Mr. Hingle. “It was the Fountain Fund or nothing.”
Beyond the specific dollar amount of a loan, the Fountain Fund helps loan recipients by reporting their loan payments to the major credit bureaus, helping them build credit. They also offer financial education and, when clients are ready, assistance on setting up saving accounts and opening credit cards.
Originally founded to serve Virginia residents, with assistance from CBA Fund, the Fountain Fund was able to expand their coverage to include new areas such as New Orleans, where Meagan Jordan, the lead Economic Opportunity Facilitator for Fountain Fund’s programs in the city, first met Mr. Hingle.
“Some of our clients have never learned how to do personal finance the right way,” said Ms. Jordan. “Many have maxed out credit cards. Or wrote a bad check. Or were a juvenile when they were incarcerated and now don’t know how to build credit.”
“It was a real strain on the family being forced to share one car.”
- Anthony Hingle
“Many people tell us that it’s the first time someone has believed in them, the first time someone trusted them. You can see the change in their confidence.”
- Paul Yates, Director of Economic Empowerment at the Fountain Fund
“After a 32-year sentence … It was the Fountain Fund or nothing.”
- Anthony Hingle
She continued, “Because we’re non-profit, we’re focused on loan repayment to keep the program going and to pay it forward to help more individuals.”
To date, the Fountain Fund has dispersed more than $1.5 million in small dollar amount loans, with more than $750,000 paid back and supporting additional recipients.
CBA Fund was able to provide grant and loan capital to the Fountain Fund and other non-profit lenders through a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation. The Wells Fargo Foundation grant supported low-cost consumer loans in low-to-moderate income communities and communities of color. This funding ultimately helped consumers like Mr. Hingle access safe and affordable credit to meet their short-term cash needs while helping establish or improve their credit scores.
“CBA Fund allowed us to enlarge our mission and serve new markets,” said Ms. Jordan. “We appreciate the support; without it these critical programs wouldn’t exist.”
“CBA Fund allowed us to enlarge our mission and serve new markets…without it these critical programs wouldn’t exist.”
- Meagan Jordan, Economic Opportunity Facilitator, New Orleans, at the Fountain Fund
For Mr. Hingle, the Fountain Fund helped set up his loan, ensured he had the ability to repay it, and made it seamless to make payments.
“The loan is easy to pay back because it's automatically withdrawn from my account using ACH,” said Mr. Hingle.
With the loan secured, he was able to repair his car, easing his family's daily stress over their commute and giving precious time back for them to be together.
“[The loan] meant a lot,” he explained. “It took away unnecessary strain and worry around whose turn it would be to be late or how we would get our granddaughter to school. Today, I’m able to start off my day well, knowing I can get to work on time. The Fountain Fund put me back in a situation where I can live my life more freely without having to worry about transportation.”
For more information about CBA Fund and how it empowers life-changing organizations like the Fountain Fund, visit: https://www.creditbuildersalliance.org/cba-services/cba-fund/
“[The loan] meant a lot … The Fountain Fund put me back in a situation where I can live my life more freely without having to worry about transportation.”
- Anthony Hingle
After moving to Charlottesville from Detroit, Martize graduated from high school and almost immediately went to prison for 6 years as a 19-year-old. After he returned home, he fell into the common reentry pitfall of what he describes as “doing the same old things.” Without confidence and support, Martize found himself back in prison.
After his second stint in prison, Martize surrounded himself with a strong network of people. “They tried to blossom what was inside of me and I became a better, productive member of society.” Through that process, Martize started a partnership with the Fountain Fund — then a new nonprofit — back in 2017. “It has been awesome ever since.”
His relationship with the Fund went beyond just a check in the mail every month. Through the loan process, Martize says he felt connected, seen and supported. “I don’t consider them a nonprofit; I consider them my second family,” he says. “I was able to look forward to the future because they put me in the position to win.”
Now that relationship is even closer. After serving as a Community Navigator Intern through the Home to Hope Program, Martize was hired as the Fountain Fund’s first Client Partner Navigator, and was recently promoted to Director of Client and Community Engagement. Along with helping others to secure a loan that will elevate them as they return to their communities, he launched and led the Fund's Peer Partner program and is forming partnerships with organizations across Virginia (and beyond).
In 2021, Martize completed the University of Virginia Edge program with straight A’s as a first-generation college student.
Martize Tolbert completed the UVA Program in 2021.
Tricia first got into trouble with the law when she was just 14 years old. She also struggled with drugs and alcohol, and would spend more than a decade of her life in prison. Now 41, Patricia was released from prison in 2013 and has been determined to turn her life around and make up for lost time with her two children, now 22 and 26 years old.
In 2018, support from the Fountain Fund helped Tricia finally pay her court costs, allowing her to get a driver’s license that made it possible for her to work two jobs and be there for her children and grandchildren. Before the loan, she says that she had little hope that anyone would be willing to help.
“The Fountain Fund listened to me and guided me,” says Tricia. “They had enough faith in me to give me a chance.”
A Fountain Fund loan made it possible for Tricia Henshaw to get her driver’s license
Small Business loans have allowed many of our clients to pursue their dreams.
Many of our Client Partners have used their Fountain Fund loans to start their own businesses. Please consider supporting these hard-working individuals, listed below.
EDWIN MELTON – MELTON HUSBANDFORHIRE INC. – “Not Your Typical Handyman"
Edwin Melton came up with the idea for his home concierge service when his father passed away and he began to notice how much help his mother needed around her house. He now helps with outside and inside maintenance, moving and assembling furniture, paint jobs, and much more. Edwin is there to help for just about any assistance you need with your home.
RANDY COLEMAN – Majestic Lawn and Landscaping
Randy came up with his business idea and model while incarcerated. After doing research on how to start a business, he came to the Fountain Fund with his plan. He now oversees the upkeep of more than 20 lawns and his business continues to expand.
JOHNATHAN METCALF – Advanced Concepts
Johnathan has been working on the upkeep and repair of vehicles since he was young. He loves what he does and can operate on and repair just about any vehicle.
CJ CHAMBERS – CJ Trucking LLC
CJ started with an ambition for driving 18-wheelers and turned it into a business. He’s driven big trucks for 18 years, so you can trust that your shipments are in experienced hands. He operates both flatbeds and open trailers.
SHANNON HAYWOOD – DNJ Services
Shannon used to work for bigger, less personalized repair companies before starting his own. He now serves the Richmond and Louisa areas, specializing in washing machines, dryers, microwaves, stoves, dishwashers, and more.
Client Partner Connections
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
Monthly gatherings bring Client Partners and Fountain Fund staff together for conversation, providing opportunities to listen, learn and build community.
These Client Partner Connections meetings are another way the Fund supports its partners and creates opportunities for partners to draw strength from one another.