Spirit of Community Award

Sister Corinne Florek, Sarah Smith, Diane Leavesley, Julie Gould, Sister Lillian Murphy at the CDFI reception
L to R: Sister Corinne Florek, Sarah Smith, Diane Leavesley, Julie Gould, Sister Lillian Murphy

During Opportunity Finance Network’s 30th Annual Conference held in Denver in October,  Mercy Loan Fund and Mile High Community Loan Fund hosted a reception sponsored by US Bank.  The highlight of the reception was the presentation of the Spirit of Community Award to Sister Lillian Murphy and Sister Corinne Florek.  These Sisters have a long history of helping the economically poor create positive change in their lives.

Sister Lillian Murphy recently retired as Mercy Housing’s CEO after 27 years.  Using the values of Respect, Justice and Mercy, she inspires her Mercy Housing family and the industry as a whole to invent new methods, measure impact, go to scale, and envision a more humane world where poverty is alleviated, communities are healthy, and everyone can develop to their full potential.

Sister Corinne Florek has more than 30 years of experience in the community investing field.  She is currently Executive Director of the Religious Communities Investment Fund, a collaborative fund sponsored by seventeen Catholic women’s religious congregations.  Sister Corinne has spent her career finding and creating opportunities for low income people and communities, using Community Development Financial Institutions as the mechanism.  She has raised her voice for religious communities to put their investment capital to work furthering their ministries to the poor.

Mercy Loan Fund was honored to recognize these outstanding women for their unending dedication and supportive leadership over the past 30 plus years.

In addition to honoring these women, Mercy Loan Fund celebrated the kickoff of its 30th anniversary, celebrating with many people who have a long history with Mercy Loan Fund.  In attendance were Mercy Loan Fund’s founding president, Sarah Smith, second president, Diane Leavesley, and current president, Julie Gould. “Thirty years of lending to those in need is represented by this group of Mercy Loan Fund presidents,” said Julie Gould.  “It’s important to recognize that they have collectively built strong teams to carry out Mercy Loan Fund’s mission envisioned by Mercy Housing over these many years.  We will continue to work toward strengthening healthy communities through the provision of quality, affordable housing for individuals and families for many years to come.”