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WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — William J. (Bill) Bynum has been named a recipient of the 2022 Independent Sector John W. Gardner Leadership Award. Bynum receives the prestigious award in recognition of his exceptional leadership as President and CEO of the HOPE family of organizations that strengthen communities, build wealth and improve life in economically troubled areas of the Deep South by providing access to quality financial products and services.

HOPE includes Hope Enterprise Corporation, Hope Credit Union and Hope Policy Institute. Together, they provide financial services, leverage private and public resources, engage in advocacy, and otherwise act as a catalyst to fulfill HOPE’s vision of reducing the extent to which factors such as race, gender, and wealth affect the ability limit a person’s ability to support themselves or their families and contribute to the communities.

Since 1994, HOPE has generated more than $3.6 billion in funding that has benefited more than 2 million people in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee while developing policies and practices that improve conditions in underprivileged communities have improved across the country.

“At a time when civil society seemed at its most fragile, John Gardner showed us the power of a single voice, anchored in wisdom, integrity and courage. These qualities have been and continue to be critical to issues of race, poverty and justice,” Bynum said. “I am honored and humbled to be associated with his legacy and so many inspiring past honorees.”

William J. (Bill) Bynum was born in New York City and moved from East Harlem to his parents’ birthplace in North Carolina at the age of 5. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, starting out as a journalism major and later switching to psychology and political science, where he earned a double degree. Bynum, leader of the university’s Black Student Movement, considered going to law school. He was accepted into law school at the University of North Carolina but began working for a labor organization, which sparked his interest in employment and labor rights.

Bynum began his career in North Carolina helping establish Self-Help, a pioneer in the development finance industry, and later built nationally recognized programs at the NC Rural Economic Development Center. In 1994 he moved to Mississippi to become the founding CEO of Enterprise Corporation of the Delta and in 1995 founded Hope Community Credit Union.

Independent Sector has presented the John W. Gardner Leadership Award annually since 1985 to visionaries who exemplify the leadership and ideals of John W. Gardner (1912-2002), an American statesman, educator, author, and IS founder. The award honors exceptional social sector advocates whose collective work has transformed the nonprofit community, mobilizing and uniting people, institutions or causes to support the ability of all people in America to thrive.

“Bill Bynum’s many years of work truly transforming the lives of families and communities in the Deep South exemplifies the level of transformative work that is a hallmark of our John W. Gardner Prize winners,” said Daniel J. Cardinali , CEO and President of the independent sector. “Through his work as CEO and Founder of Hope Enterprise Corporation, Bill brings bold ideas and strategies to create more equitable and accessible banking services for people who are victims of payday loans and alternative financial services. In his leadership we see the importance of combining practical solutions with long-term policy changes.”

“As our nation struggles to find a way to bridge racial, economic and ideological divides and protect democracy, I have been honored to lead a process that brought leaders from across the country together to evaluate.” what it takes to inspire our sector and honor a leader who exemplifies the highest values ​​and contributions in support of a healthy and just society,” said Sonya Campion, IS Board Member, Chair of the 2022 Gardner Leadership Award Selection Committee and President of the Campion Advocacy Fund, an IS affiliate. “I sincerely hope that Bill’s work in building a new system that will engage people excluded from the banking system, particularly people of color and moderate-income families, will inspire emerging and current industry leaders and advocates to pursue system-changing initiatives that are truly the most difficult.” addressing our nation’s challenges.”

Bynum serves on the boards of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta – New Orleans Branch, Aspen Institute, NAACP Legal & Education Defense Fund, Prosperity Now, Black Vision Fund, Mississippi Today, Churchill Capital IV and V, and advisor to Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and E Pluribus Unum.

A recipient of the Heinz Award, McNulty Prize, and University of North Carolina Distinguished Alumnus Award, Bynum previously served as Chairman of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Consumer Advisory Board, the Treasury Department Community Development Advisory Board, and was a member of the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition Team, and the US Partnership for Mobility Out of Poverty. Bynum is the Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the University of Michigan Gerald Ford School of Public Policy and a recipient of the Henry Crown Fellowship, the Emerson Collective Dial Fellowship, and the Salzburg Global Fellowship.

Bynum will officially accept the Gardner Award and speak about his work during the Upswell Summit on November 15th. The independent sector gathers decision-makers annually during the Upswell Summit to understand progress and take stock of the sector’s potential for a healthier and fairer society where all people can thrive. Learn more at


Independent Sector is the only national membership organization bringing together a diverse community of changemakers at nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs to ensure all people in the United States thrive. Learn more at

HOPE (Hope Enterprise Corporation, Hope Credit Union and Hope Policy Institute) provides financial services, raises resources and works to reduce the extent to which factors such as race, gender, place of birth and wealth limit one’s ability to be successful. Learn more at

Bradley Wong Independent Sector 202-467-6122 [email protected]