Golden 1 CU announced it has committed $10 million to Sacramento’s Del Paso Heights neighborhood, a long-neglected, high-poverty area with a predominantly minority population. The credit union’s five-year targeted investment will support key community organizations and projects, in addition to opening a new Financial Resource Center in the heart of the neighborhood this year.
“Golden 1 is committed to creating a more equitable and financially inclusive California and, through this targeted investment, we want to help break the cycles of multigenerational poverty and trauma, build trust, and create brighter futures for our neighbors in Del Paso Heights,” said Donna Bland, president and CEO of Golden 1. “After researching disparities in access to high-quality education, health care, healthy food, and financial institutions between low-income areas, where most residents are people of color, and others throughout the state, we chose to start working to close racial equity gaps locally, focusing on a neighborhood that has been underserved for decades.”
Del Paso Heights — a historically African American neighborhood just north of downtown Sacramento — was once an area where families thrived, but the effects of economic isolation, drug addiction, and crime that began in the 1970s are still felt today. Educational attainment, median household income, and homeownership rates in the neighborhood are among the lowest in the city, while the crime rate is among the highest.
“Credit unions were founded on the values of equality, equity, and helping one another — and Del Paso Heights is a part of our community,” Bland said. “These are our neighbors, our friends, and the children here are our future. Businesses and leaders have a responsibility to help the most vulnerable members of their community live a life where they can contribute and thrive in a meaningful way.”
Golden 1’s investment in Del Paso Heights is the result of years of research and collaboration with community leaders, residents, elected officials, business groups, and others to increase financial inclusion, generate equitable opportunities, and create pathways to generational wealth for historically marginalized people and communities.
“Golden 1 shares our vision to continue building a healthy community for all Del Paso Heights neighbors, and we’re thankful for their support,” said Gina Warren, co-founder and executive director of Neighborhood Wellness Foundation. “Like all Sacramento residents, we deserve to live and thrive in our own neighborhoods with optimal resources that improve public safety, mental health, education, and economic stability as well as break the cycle of intergenerational trauma and poverty.”
Working with a Community Advisory Committee made up of local leaders and residents, Golden 1 asked for assistance in designing a plan to invest in Del Paso Heights. The group created a holistic agenda that included community, economic, and opportunity pathways to improvement. That agenda now serves as the blueprint for Golden 1’s investment.
“We commend Golden 1 for their long-term and intentional investment in Del Paso Heights and North Sacramento,” said Danielle Lawrence, executive director of Mutual Assistance Network. “Golden 1 has taken time to discuss with neighborhood leaders about the needs of the community, and how to build trust and breakdown institutional barriers to banking. Together, we are working to promote economic stability and growth for residents.”
“Directly engaging with members of the Del Paso Heights community helped us identify the largest neighborhood needs and how our investment could make the biggest impact,” added Bland.
The Community Advisory Committee’s goals include making the Del Paso Heights neighborhood attractive, expanding support services, ensuring financial stability and generational wealth building, economic revitalization, and creating greater educational and workforce opportunities for youth.
The blueprint included working with trusted organizations already embedded in Del Paso Heights, to grow their reach and impact in the community. To start, Golden 1 allocated part of the $10 million investment to:
In addition, Golden 1’s new Financial Resource Center, opening later this year in Del Paso Heights near the corner of Marysville Boulevard and Grand Avenue, will serve as a resource for residents’ personal financial empowerment, providing education, products, and services unique to their needs.
“Golden 1 understands its responsibility to be a present and accessible financial partner to our neighbors, and we look forward to being part of the Del Paso Heights community for years to come,” said Bland. “We genuinely believe that ‘Stronger Together’ is more than a tagline and invite others in the business community to join us in investing in this vision. By embracing this community, we can make meaningful and lasting positive changes for not only Del Paso Heights, but for everyone who calls this region home.”
Additionally, “Golden 1 is making a significant investment in the Del Paso Heights community that we do not take lightly,” said Dwayne Crenshaw, president and CEO of Greater Sacramento Urban League. “Their new location opening in our Empowerment Center will bring access to financial resources that our community members need, and we hope it will be the start of a larger economic revitalization along the Marysville Boulevard corridor.”
Beyond financial support, Golden 1 is actively involved with Del Paso Heights neighborhood organizations, engaging in volunteer activities, and facilitating free, tailored financial education classes and workshops.
“Golden 1’s investment has been a game changer as it has given our organization the opportunity to plan long term support for our Grant Union High School students and those attending feeder schools,” said Derrell Roberts, CEO of Roberts Family Development Center. “We have also expanded our soft skills employment training sessions and now offer additional family support services for finances and homeownership.”
Golden 1 is also working to host job fairs in the community as well as an intern and mentorship program later this fall. Also, two Grant Union High School students recently received Golden 1 college scholarships, which are awarded based on a student’s academic achievements, community involvement, extracurricular activities, education, and career goals.
“Golden 1 is devoted to expanding our social and community impact programs to uplift communities throughout California and our work with the Del Paso Heights community is just the start,” said Erica Taylor, vice president of communications and community relations for Golden 1. “We are grateful for the partnership and dedication of the organizations and individuals who’ve helped us thus far with this project and cannot wait to see what’s to come.”