Now I have five locations, 27 employees, that's the main thing. You can help people doing taxes, but you can help them even more if you can offer them some employment.
—8th Degree borrower Joe Blakk
We invest in self-sufficiency by supporting small businesses that create good jobs. We offer below-market-rate loans, extending credit to local residents who create jobs in their communities. Our 8th Degree microloan program gives anyone who wishes to the opportunity to participate in the highest form of tzedakah — helping to strengthen the hand of another. The name refers to Maimonides’ teaching that the 8th degree or most ethical way of giving is to help strengthen the hand of another.
The need for long-term investment in New Orleans led us to focus our initial 8th Degree loans there, where we are also helping to create new housing to replace what was lost during Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. The small businesses that have received 8th Degree loans include a New Orleans-based record label, a sports bar, a restaurant, a commercial shrimper, a bookkeeper, a cleaning company, and a truck delivery service. With the help of a $15,000 loan, one borrower, Joe Blakk, was able to expand his tax filing and accounting services business and provide good jobs to 27 people in New Orleans.