Victor F. Russell
Founding & Organizing Richardson Plano Guide Right Foundation
and Kappa Alpha Psi Federal Credit Union
In my 1994 arrival into the Dallas / Ft Worth communities, I immediately noticed several social and economic opportunities that could help transform the African America outlook on these cities. The general condition of the business community throughout the Southwest was attempting to regain its status coming out of the United States Savings & Loan collapse. I called upon several creative ideas that I knew could develop through Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. As I relocated from Chicago and reflecting back of several Philanthropic missions that my Fraternity had taught me in my 21 years as a Member and Life Member, provided me with a pretty open mind how to engage and build on my Fraternity’s proven community events and social fundraising strategies.
As of the Spring of 1997, the hunt was on to create a viable entity through my Kappa Alumni Chapter, Richardson Plano Alumni of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. The first on my agenda was to create a 501(c)(3) Private Foundation specializing in the multiple areas as follow:
The Corporation is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, or scientific purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code, including, but not limited to, the following:
To engage in charitable activities and extend financial aid through grants, gifts, contributions, or aid or assistance to qualified individuals.
To acquire or receive from individuals, firms, associations, corporations, trusts, foundations, or any governmental subdivision unit or agency by deed, gifts, purchase, bequest, or otherwise cash securities, and other property, tangible or intangible, real or personal, and to hold for the purpose of which the Richardson / Plano Guide Right Foundation (Corporation) is organized.
To acquire, construct, maintain, and operate rehabilitation projects or redevelopment projects in accordance with the provisions of the State where such activities may occur (i.e. Richardson, Plano, Addison, Carrollton, Garland, Mesquite, or Dallas).
To encourage, promote, and participate in the education, rehabilitation and management of youths and related facilities and services for the benefit of residents of the Metroplex where such activities may occur (i.e. Richardson, Plano, Addison, Carrollton, Garland, Mesquite, or Dallas), in such a way as may appear feasible and appropriate. To transact such other business and do any other things incidental to and connected with said purposes.
To do whatever is deemed necessary, useful, advisable or conductive, directly or indirectly, to carry out any of the purposes of the Richardson / Plano Guide Right Foundation (Corporation) including the exercise of all other power, rights, privileges and authority conferred on and enjoyed by corporations, generally, by virtue of the provisions of the Texas General Not for Profit Corporation Act.
To accept and hold all assets accepted and received under the terms and conditions hereof exclusively for charitable purposes, and unless otherwise requested by the donor and authorized by the Board of Directors, all assets shall be held as unrestricted funds, and net income there be applied for charitable purposes or the assistance of qualified individuals or charitable organizations and public charities (which supported by private donations or public taxation), contributions for which are deductible under the Internal Revenue code 1954 including, but not limited to the promotion of education, social and scientific research, the care of the sick, the aged, infirm and handicapped, the care of children, the improvement of living, working recreational and environmental conditions or facilities and such other charitable education and social purposes that will assist the betterment of the mental, moral, social, and physical conditions of the inhabitants of America, regardless of race, religion, sex, place of national origin, or political persuasion according to the discretion of the Board of Directors.
Upon receiving the State of Texas’s initial approvals in 1998 in preparation for the first ever Foundation event hosting 500 plus persons at the Richardson Plano Guide Right Foundation’s (RPGRF) first ever Black & White Ball in 1999, a new direction and independency were empowered. This exceptional Black & White Ball covered a weekend of events and receptions the second week of June 1999. A host of community dignitaries, business partners, political, press and On-Air Personalities fellowshipped at one of the area’s most prestigious destination Hotels, the Intercontinental Hotel in, Addison, Texas.
As I launched the RPGRF and Chaired the initial 1999 Gala with a team of dedicated members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, all roads opened up and other avenues provided subsequent enterprising opportunities that we as a Board had to evaluate after establishing this footprint in the community. After a second and third Black & White ball, I headed into August 2002. From 2002 / 2003 I directed the focused of RPGRF to look into the empowerment of financial strengths in the African American community through Kappa Alpha Psi and the eight (8) other African American Sororities and Fraternities Nationally.
The initial focus groups for penning a successful financial institutional was tested in the Southwest Provincial (SWP) meeting in March 2003 in Arlington, Texas. In general, the test was at the SWP Board meeting of about 450 to 600 in attendance that weekend to seek the Board support to engaging in purchasing a “bank.” Knowing the challenges and the unlikeliness of successfully raising the capital requirements to launch a bank, the next day I re-stated my case and stipulate to the Board in their second round of meetings that I would lead a team and we form “Kappa Alpha Psi Federal Credit Union.” Having a financial background and working with the Bear Stearns Investment bank, gave me a great deal of latitude to forge ahead with several subsequent meeting through February 2004 with the Texas League of Credit Unions. Seeking their guidance and blessing as one of the nationals largest and most proficient Credit Unions-Trade Associations, not only based in North Dallas, but by setting various meeting to learn and get assistance from the Executives the same hour, same day, afforded me several accelerated relationships and tools to lead the team and file for our Charter in Region IV for all chartered Credit Unions in the Southwest portion of America. This Region IV office was based in Austin, Texas.
After the initial submission of two or three applications, albeit revised for various financial analysis into July of 2004; I personally had to make a trip to Region IV. I meet with the NCUA to discuss and arbitrate our point of view. One of the most vivid discussions was to explain to the NCUA Administrator that Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity is an organization of professional college educated men. Not to be confused with just another collegiate Fraternity that would disband post-college as several (White) Fraternities have done, and he admitted Fraternity membership in his college days but that his Fraternity has no to very little presence for its members post a collage.
Plowing ahead and getting a subsequent notification through the fall of 2004, Kappa Alpha Psi Federal Credit Union was Chartered November 4, 2004, as a national Federal Institution. Our rights to operate and take in deposits included Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. Immediately into Spring 2005, at various Kappa Provincial meetings (12 Provinces), I attended and personally informed the Fraternity and took KAPFCU Board members and Advisors to encourage and build our membership.
Throughout 2004 and into August 2010 we operated the first “VIRTUAL” NCUA charted internet based Credit Union platform that grew from zero dollars to $1M dollars in deposits, procured significant NCUA designations i.e. Low Income Designations to benefit High School and Undergraduate College students (young adults), secured CDFI Certification, CCR Certification with the Federal Government’s GSA division and applied for CDFI Grants, only to receive approval for $100,000 in proceeds from the CDFI Department of Treasury as one of dozens and millions of dollars allocated these dollars to grow Credit Unions. Our allocation would have been awarded on August 19, 2010. The immediate effect of CDFI Grants in regards to all financial institutions increases their balance sheet assets and establishing a stronger investment program into its members and communities and would have been especially beneficial for KAPFCU and the members it served.