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CTC Friday Conversation: Justice Climate Fund and the Credit Union Community

CTC Friday Conversation: Justice Climate Fund and the Credit Union Community

Thank you for joining us for August's CTC Friday Conversation as we learned more about the Justice Climate Fund which is led by the Community Builders of Color Coalition and designed to provide capital, leverage resources, and support zero-emission technologies in low-income and disadvantaged communities across the United States. 

Our esteemed panelists included:

  • Lenwood V. Long, Sr., President/CEO, African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs

  • Cathie Mahon, President/CEO, Inclusiv

  • Jonathan Morgenstein, Senior Researcher for Renewable & Resilient Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Michelle Outlaw, Chief Operating Officer for American Spirit Federal Credit Union, moderated the panel. 

Keep reading to learn more about our participants.

Lenwood V. Long, Sr.


African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs

Lenwood V. Long, Sr., is the President, CEO, and Co-Founder of the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs. He is co-founder and visionary rebrander and the former president/CEO of Carolina Small Business Development Fund, a CDFI and statewide nonprofit organization known for programs related to African-American small businesses, women entrepreneurship, veterans, and the Latino/Hispanic community. His work with Historically Black Colleges and Universities within North Carolina has been mentioned as a national model. 

Mr. Long has more than 30 years of experience in community economic development, human resources, and business management. He has held leadership positions in a variety of organizations, including statewide economic and community development agencies, national consulting firms, and nonprofit organizations. He also served as the Chief of Staff for former congresswoman Eva M. Clayton. He is a Senior Pastor Emeritus of New Bethel Baptist Church and a retired Army Vietnam Combat Veteran.


Cathie Mahon



Cathie Mahon has led Inclusiv since 2012, overseeing a period of dramatic growth and expansion of the organization and network. She is committed to the Inclusiv mission of promoting financial inclusion and building more inclusive economies through community-owned and controlled financial institutions. 

Mahon previously served as Deputy Commissioner at the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs where she started and led New York City’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE). NYC’s OFE was the first local government initiative in the nation with a mission aimed expressly at helping to educate, empower and protect low-income residents to help them make the most of their financial resources. Mahon was a co-founder of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Coalition and Fund and remains an active Board member.  Mahon has worked as a consultant on issues of community development, financial empowerment and asset building.  She was the founding coordinator of the Asset Funders Network and served as a lead researcher for the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. She learned about credit unions and CDFIs first as an intern at Self-Help Credit Union and then as a Program Officer and then Director of Policy and Program Development at Inclusiv. She has served on the Boards of the Lower East Side People’s FCU and Transfiguration Parish FCU. Ms. Mahon earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Duke University in Durham, NC, and a Master’s of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 


Jonathan Morgenstein

Senior Researcher for Renewable & Resilient Energy

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Since 2018, Jonathan Morgenstein has worked at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), currently focusing on the confluence of renewable energy finance and energy justice. Mr. Morgenstein leads NREL’s efforts at building collaborative partnerships with state and local governments across the Mid-Atlantic, particularly to address under-resourced communities’ efforts to attain equitable clean energy access.


Michelle Outlaw

Chief Operating Officer

American Spirit Federal Credit Union

Michelle Outlaw is a 1989 North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, Greensboro, NC graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and 2006 graduate from Keller Graduate School of Management with a Master of Accounting and Financial Management, Charlotte, NC. 

Ms. Outlaw currently is the Chief Operating Officer for American Spirit Federal Credit Union. Additionally, she currently consults with a variety of organizations utilizing her prowess in training clients on technological systems and operational platforms. She was the President/Chief Executive Officer for First Legacy Community Credit Union until it was merged. She has over 30 years of experience working with credit unions and banks primarily in credit (consumer, business, and commercial lending), accounting, and risk management (auditing, loan review, and compliance). She is known for her ability to utilize her skills and talents to overhaul departments, identify inefficiencies, to provide solutions for improvement.

Ms. Outlaw owns Charismata 365, which is a global company encompassing Charismata 365 Ministries and Charismata 365 Financial Management. Charismata 365 Financial Management offers audit, regulatory, and compliance management. She also owns CEODoctor Finance where the motto is: Looking at Things Differently!  She discusses how everything is about economics! Offering prudent financial management and financial literacy to help you become the top CEO of your finances by offering assistance in financial literacy and financial counseling for individuals, companies, and organizations.

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