DHFLA’s second annual Zeroes are Heroes took place on May 3rd. More than 60 guests attended to hear from DHFLA loan recipients and celebrate the hand-up that the agency has provided for 88 years to members of the greater North Texas Jewish community.
Guests heard from several loan recipients representing different loans DHFLA provides. Joseph Atkens, a senior at Mansfield Legacy High School who will attend Texas Tech in the fall, talked about receiving a Jewish Experience loan. Being Jewish can be expensive—summer camp, travel to Israel, koshering a home and Jewish lifecycle events all take time and financial resources.
DHFLA Jewish Experience loans were created to make the experiences that enrich Jewish life and deepen Jewish identity more affordable for all families. Joseph, like his sister Lauren who spoke at our Zeroes Are Heroes event last year, received a Jewish Experience loan which enabled him to spend last summer in Israel. DHFLA loves helping teens and young adults in the greater North Texas Jewish community connect more deeply to their Jewish heritage and experience the magic of Israel.
This year’s event took place during National Small Business Week. It was a perfect time for us to highlight and honor the entrepreneurs in our greater North Texas Jewish community. DHFLA was founded by 14 Jewish businessmen and so it is only fitting that we offer a Small Business loan to help drive Jewish economic growth in our area.
Our Small Business loans help existing Jewish-owned businesses grow and support Jewish entrepreneurs as they pursue their dream of running their own businesses. In celebration of small business week, local entrepreneur and immigration attorney Haim Vasquez shared how he launched his immigration law practice with the help of DHFLA.
The magic of the Hebrew free loan movement is in the recycling of funds. A single gift which makes a loan, is used to make additional loans as the original borrower makes loan payments and subsequent borrowers repay their loans. This means one gift lives on and has value well beyond its original amount. Borrowers who repay their loans help us maintain a loan repayment rate of 100% and enable us to use funds from each loan repayment to support others in the greater North Texas Jewish community in need of financial assistance.
We encourage alumni of the DHFLA loan program to consider “Paying it Forward” by becoming a member of the Full Circle Society, our community of former borrowers who choose to make a gift to help others in need. Dr. Ellis Shwarts, a former Student Loan recipient who was able to pursue his dream of being a dentist with DHFLA’s assistance, spoke to guests. Ellis is not only a member of our Full Circle Society, but he is now a member of the DHFLA board of directors serving the greater North Texas Jewish community.