About Us

The 501c3 nonprofit UPI Loan Fund is a division of Unified Progress International (UPI) Education and an American African-led Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). We play an important role in producing economic growth and development within low to moderate-income communities, especially for people of color within the United States.


Our History

UPI Education was incorporated in 2004 after developing a copy-written Life Skills Solutions(TM) curriculum, designed to provide students, parents, teachers and mentors with the tools to navigate life’s challenges and develop a purposeful life. After years of training hundreds of individuals we decided to take it to the next level, helping families, businesses, and communities in gaining access to affordable capital including personal and business loans. We look to transform capitalism into humanism.

Frank Crump


Frank Crump, is an international businessman having lived and worked in Asia for 20+ years, as a corporate Aerospace/Defense Director and Telecoms entrepreneur. He co-founded, as President and Chairman, a manufacturing company, which was named one of the Top 100 Black Businesses in America.  As the Founder of UPI Education and UPI Loan Fund, he maintains a passion for helping people.

Kerwin Brown

Executive Director

Kerwin Brown, brings considerable experience with over thirty years in sales, marketing and business development as the Founder and Managing Principal for K-Vaughn Consulting, LLC.

He has held positions in the insurance, banking and investment industries. Kerwin is the former President and CEO of The Black Chamber of Arizona, and served as Treasurer and Western Regional Director for the United States Black Chambers, Inc.

Wilbert Guilford CPA, CIA, CISA


Wilbert Guilford, based in Phoenix, AZ. is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Information Systems Auditor and Certified Financial Planner™. He has more than 35 years of experience in auditing, accounting, and income taxes. He has experience in government, private industry, and not-for-profit organizations. He is a retiree of the Air Force Reserves and enjoys developing strategies for investing, retirement planning, and income tax savings. He also enjoys physical fitness and good nutrition. 

Board of Advisors

Stanley W. Tucker

Stanley W. Tucker has more than 30 years of diversified business experience with a strong emphasis on lending, venture capital investing, and the development of socially or economically disadvantaged small businesses. Mr. Tucker is President, Chief Executive Officer, and co-founder of Baltimore, Maryland based Meridian Management Company, Inc (MMG).

Dr. Wayne Weiner, D.Ed.

Dr. Weiner brings over 40 years of business consulting, human resource work, product and service development in public, private settings including: Corporations, Foundations, Colleges and Universities, Federal, and State organizations, Foreign countries and Native American groups. His specialties include human resources, talent recruitment, strategic planning, coaching, benefits, marketing, and business development.

Jo-Ná A. Williams  

Jo-Ná A. Williams, Esq. is an award-winning attorney, founder, advisor, and Instructor who founded J.A. Williams Law P.C. in 2011 to provide artists, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders with ways to successfully navigate their careers, secure their companies, and aid with business and intellectual property matters. She is dedicated to issues regarding the rights of entrepreneurs because she believes they are a population highly vulnerable to exploitation without proper knowledge.

Ellen Friedman Sacks

Ellen Friedman Sacks is the Executive Director of Jewish Free Loan in Phoenix, AZ. She has been a part of the free loan community since 2010 – serving on the JFL Board of Directors before joining the staff in 2012 as the organization’s first Director of Programs and PR, and later serving as the Associate Executive Director. With 25+ years of experience working with non-profit organizations, including SOVA Kosher Food Pantry & Resource Center, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, & the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix.

Pastor Warren Stewart Sr.

Pastor Warren is the Senior Pastor of the First Institutional Baptist Church of Phoenix, Arizona and has served there for 40+ years. Dr. Stewart has also been the recipient of numerous awards and commendations from churches, colleges, civic and community organizations, locally, statewide and nationally. Including The Arizona Republic newspaper, The Phoenix Gazette, Arizona Daily Star, City of Phoenix/MLK, Jr. Celebration, Phoenix Business Journal, Phoenix New Times and Arizona Informant.

Dr. Jay Radke

Dr. Jay Radke, is Director of the Scientific Review Program in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health. The program is actively engaged in career outreach to students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) and minority supporting institutions (MSI). Dr. Radke previously served as the Chief Senior Science Advisor in the NIH office of AIDS Research where he helped to coordinate elements guiding the $3B annual investment in national HIV/AIDS research.

Iya Affo

Iya Affo is a Culturalist and Historical Trauma Specialist. She is the founder of Heal Historical Trauma and the International Historical Trauma Association. Iya is an Adjunct Faculty member at the Arizona Trauma Institute, the Trauma Institute International, and was recently appointed to the Gilbert Community Engagement Task Force. Iya has visited more than 30 countries and has lived among and served vulnerable people in Native American, Yoruba, Idaasha, Anii, Buddhist, Hindu and Taoist communities in various countries around the world.

Michael Tucker

Michael Tucker is an International Coaching Federation credentialed executive coach, speaker, facilitator and published author. As the founder of Tucker Coaching & Consulting, Michael coaches and consults executives, leaders and teams around the world. His client base includes top leaders from Twitch, Teradyne, OneWeb, U.S Air and Space Force, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and many other corporate, government and non-profit organizations. In 2021 Michael was ranked among the Top 5 executive coaches in Tucson, Arizona by Influence Digest. 

Dr. Matthew Whitaker

Matthew C. Whitaker, Ph.D. is a Cornell University executive Certified diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) professional. He is the founder and CEO Diamond Strategies, LLC., a full-service justice, equity, diversity, inclusion (JEDI), community relations, leadership, and organizational development firm, and winner of the 2020 Best of Tempe Consultant Award.  He is also the founding director of the Arizona State University Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, winner of the 2014 Arizona DLA Inclusive Workplace Award.

Lesli Pintor

Lesli Pintor is a retired financial and nonprofit executive who spent 32 years in the banking industry, serving in varied roles before taking a detour to teach business communications at the University of Arizona Eller College of Management. She concluded her career as the Executive Director of Growth Partners Arizona (GPAz), a nonprofit community loan fund growing the organization 300% in 3 years.

Dr. Gregory A. Spencer

Dr. Spencer is a literacy evangelist, family impact specialist, best-selling author, entrepreneur, and former superintendent of schools. Dr. Spencer partners with advocates to eliminate illiteracy and increase community impact around the globe. As a former elementary school dropout, gang leader, and Black Panther, Dr. Spencer was able to turn his life around because of people and organizations with a purpose, like UPI, that support family and community.

Carmen West

Proven strategic and courageous Senior Global Human Capital & Change Transformation Professional. Leading corporations, coaching individuals, and consulting with over 25 years of progressive human resources management experience. A servant leader who thrives in the areas of People, Processes/Programs, & Technology and helping others be the best they can be --- to choose greatness. Owner of West Advantage HR Solutions.

Hamza Reed

Hamza has dedicated his knowledge and energy into serving his community by working for more than 10 years in the non-profit sector. He currently is the Director of Operations at The Multicultural Center in Houston, Texas, providing health screenings, medical awareness classes and health services; hunger relief and children’s food assistance; evidence-based tutoring, qualified volunteer attorneys and family counselors and a interest-free loan fund for community members.

Troy Prince

Troy Prince founded Wall Street Bound to bring more diverse talent into the front offices of "Wall Street". Mental flexibility, strategic thinking, the ability to problem solve and self-discipline, are core traits that ultimately determine one’s success as a trader or investor. Unlike these traits, technical knowledge can be taught.

Jeffery Morris

Jeff is the co-founder of DreamSmart Academy the only Black-owned behavioral science firm in the U.S. DreamSmart Academy delivers real-time behavioral-based solutions to decode the behavioral complexities associated with running a business, optimize relationships, and enhances the overall well-being of the business owner, employee and client. A former Marine Sniper, Jeff integrates lessons learned from his military background.

Craig Stover

Craig has over 30 years of sales management and operations expertise. His business experience encompasses automotive, including owning his own, auto brokerage firm, sports management and entertainment company. During his tenure in the automotive sector, Craig lead Nissan’s Western region in total sales 2 months in a row. While managing the BTI Prep basketball program, he guided 6 student athletes to Harvard University and a total of 15 student athletes to the Ivy league.

Ray Ellis

An experienced African-American professional skilled in advertising, entrepreneurship, event management, and editing, Ray Ellis began his career in the National Football League by playing safety with the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles. He currently serves as President of Gaming and Content for Pro Sports Legacy. In addition to providing UPILF with debt capital for originating loans, Mr. Ellis is encouraging other high-net-worth individuals, especially professional athletes to support UPI’s work.  

Kevin Taylor

Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, Kevin a graduate of Hampton University, is the Executive Director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Waterbury, Inc. (NHSW) (which partners with the UPI Loan Fund to provide affordable housing loans for community members). At NHSW Kevin serves as public spokesperson, directs all aspects of the organization, is accountable for strategic planning, human resources, finance management, fundraising, management leadership, and policy-making (in joint effort with NHSW Board of Directors).

Kenyatta Turner

Kenyatta Turner, MM has 25+ years of higher education leadership. She obtained a Master’s degree in Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems. She is s a Behavioral Specialist & Coach, Speaker, Author, Master and Talk Radio/Podcast Show Host. She’s the founder and CEO of Freedom Empire Consulting, LLC, where they provide innovative and transformative solutions to personal/professional development.

Dr. Marva Morris

Marva Morris is the founder and CEO of Zenedge™ Energy Drinks, with a mission to address food deserts and support wellness. Marva has owned/operated several businesses including a plastic blow-molding factory in Detroit, Michigan; which manufactured plastic packaging. Another of her companies placed 25% of the Major League Baseball (MLB) seating into the Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park. For this she received several awards including the Shining Star Award from the State of Pennsylvania.

Robin Roman

Robin has served as Chief Operating Officer and Bottlewasher for MariSol Federal Credit Union, a CDFI in Phoenix, Arizona, for 23 years. She finds pride in working every day on financial empowerment and inclusion for MariSol's members and serve the community needs of metropolitan Phoenix's low-income and disenfranchised markets. Creating unique products and services for members often overlooked in the banking community is what put's a smile on her face.

Dr. Earl Suttle

Dr. Earl Suttle is the CEO and founder of Leadership Success International, LLC, an international consulting and training company that works with businesses and organizations to increase their profits and productivity. Dr. Suttle is also a consultant to the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), Major League Soccer (MLS), World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) where he works directly with the players. Dr. Suttle has also been featured on CNN, Ebony Magazine and In-Style Magazine.