About Us

Our vision is to support low/moderate income communities and provide a helping hand to community members. We look to transform capitalism into humanism. We provide a unique approach in providing loans and behavioral financial wellness services to underserved communities.

UPI Loan Fund Is Building a Stronger Economy

The UPI Loan Fund is paving the way to bring healthy, behavioral financial wellness access to low income communities. If you are interested in applying for a loan or need assistance with your application, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The UPI Loan Fund originated in Arizona and is expanding across America. We seek to help individuals and families to continue their education, pay for travel, medical/dental costs, etc. As an emerging Community Development Loan Fund (CDLF) we seek to help businesses to grow and expand.

Financial Wellness – Communities grow when new business start-ups appear, creating jobs and increasing the community tax base. Since very few, if any of our public schools teach “financial literacy” or entrepreneurship, most students graduate with no comprehension about money or money matters, which is a travesty.

Training is the Key To Our Success – When it comes to providing training in the field of Finance, we believe that we have the opportunity to create a new model for financial wellness – a proactive model based on behavior. The traditional approach to financial literacy focuses on financial tools, techniques, products, and services. It assumes all people are rational with their money. It disconnects the root causes of poor money behavior – human biology and nature, money beliefs, and culture. We have adopted the research-based DreamSmart Academy / Money Behavior System, where data informs that humans are not hardwired to work well with money, that money beliefs are well established by mid-adolescence, and that culture is a key influence of spending behavior.

Knowledge is Power – With our educational partners we utilize a multi-modal approach to teaching behavioral financial wellness. Our methodologies leverage our cloud-based online training platforms, including training sessions via school, church, business and community center settings. Our focus is to help adult community members and our youth to understand that money does matter. Those who attend our classes will learn to:

  1. Identify money values
  2. Discover their money temperament
  3. Survey financial knowledge and learning style
  4. Create a personalized money strategy and,
  5. Build and execute their financial skills

Our History


In the Christian faith we find in Exodus 22:25 (NIV)

“If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest.”

The UPI Loan Fund mandate is simple. It can be traced to biblical times, having roots in the three monotheistic faiths who claim Abraham as their founding patriarch – Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

In Islamic finance, Mudaraba* is a trust-financing contract; a partnership where capital is provided, in cash or assets (no debt is accepted) by one party- the fund provider- and labor is provided by the other party-mudarib*.

* Mudarib definition: in Islamic financing, the entrepreneurial partner in a mudaraba partnership who provides the expertise and management.

Members of the Early Church as documented in Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-37, who had more than enough to survive and thrive shared their excess with those brothers and sisters in Christ who had less than they needed to survive.

In the Jewish faith we find in Parshat Mishpatim, Exodus 22:24:

“Thou shalt not exact interest from the needy among you.”

In the spirit of both Islamic, Christian and Jewish interest free loan finance, UPI Loan Fund has a Charitable Arm. The ability for UPI Loan Fund to fulfill a biblical directive is dependent upon the generosity of donors who support the organization’s efforts and enable UPI to provide a certain number of interest free loans for the very needy. We depend upon your donations. Thank you!


Meet The President, Frank Crump

I was introduced to the Executive Director of Phoenix (Arizona) Jewish Free Loan in 2018. I learned that for more than 68 years, they have provided “interest-free” loans to assist Jewish individuals and families during times of financial need. I thought this was a fantastic idea. The idea was one that could help low-to-moderate income communities around the country as identified by census tracts. It would help especially in communities of color where banks are scarce and predatory payday/title loan lenders are many.

As I conducted my own research, I discovered that on average 1 in 5 low-to-moderate income community members had borrowed from a predatory lender on one or more occasions. Many paid combined fees and interest as high as 300 percent. These interest rates shocked me. when I learned that one of my own family members had three outstanding Payday loans – which consumed all of her monthly salary – I realized it was time for the creation of the UPI Loan Fund (UPILF). The dream was to help people in similar situations achieve independence, freedom, and a better financial way of life.

JPMorgan Chase has committed $30 billion to help close America’s racial wealth gap. “Systemic racism is a tragic part of America’s history,” said Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan. I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Dimon and inasmuch, funding for the UPI Loan Fund (including tax-deductible donations is being sourced from those who have chosen to “do the right thing” in making a positive “long-term” financial commitment to those who have been both systemically marginalized and victimized. Our financial support comes from banks, credit unions, foundations, municipalities, corporations, small businesses, professional sports teams, athletes, entertainers, churches, individuals, and civic organizations. Likewise, we reach out to communities through word-of-mouth and media. We have boots on the ground to connect with places of worship, community centers, companies, city governments, and organizations within identified census-tract areas. These outreach efforts help to ensure that we connect with all people who seek a loan especially the unbanked, under-banked, low-to-moderate income communities as we articulate the UPILF Behavioral Financial-Lending practices and Behavioral financial-Wellness services that are available through our cadre of professional, financial, and behavioral team members.

As the first African American-established and African American-led Community Development Loan Fund (CDLF) and emerging Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) within the state of Arizona, our mission is to provide structural financial education, unparalleled service, and a variety of top quality loan options and products at affordable interest rates and under certain circumstances at “no-interest” rate (similar to the Jewish Free Loan). Our initial focus is to provide consumer and personal loans, as we expand toward providing community business and real estate loans as well. We look to help those with healthcare expenses, criminal justice costs, educational and job-related expenses, including emergency expenses that can sabotage everyday life. We take pride in this endeavor and hope that our path will not only bring comfort and joy to the lives that we help, so they become our biggest supporters, but we also hope that our work will serve as a beacon to attract additional partners, donors, grantors and investors who will enable us to exponentially expand our capabilities and outreach. Thank you in advance for your support! Together we will create positive systemic changes!

UPI Loan Fund Management Team

Kerwin Brown UPI Education

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.

Heather J. Taylor

Heather J. Taylor
Communications Consultant

Heather is an international entrepreneur with over 20 years of PR, marketing, and digital media experience, working with companies like Chevron, Exxon, and Reliant. She helped launch UPI Education in 2004 with Frank Crump and continues to volunteer her time, treasure, and talents to help grow the UPI Loan Fund. She lives in Houston, TX, and is the proud owner of Mad Hat Maven Creative, a full-service communication consulting firm.

Tiffany Louise Ozherelyeva, LLBP
Legal & Technical Operations Manager

Graduated law school in August 2020 in the top 10% of her class and is a Golden Key International Honor Society member. Integrates 25+ years' career experience in Australia and the United States in business, PR, media, branding, social media relations, SEO algorithms, web and graphic design, programming, technology development and implementation, privacy, data, and legal compliance, governance, and research.

Carmen West

Carmen West
Senior Global HR Advisor & Transformation Lead

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.

Del Monte Edwards
Business Development Consultant & Licensed Real Estate Broker in Arizona

Del Monte Edwards is a CCIM with over 35 years of experience in real estate, apartment building and single-family subdivision development. He has created profit/non-profit partnerships for Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects along with asset and property management activities including the refinancing and renovation of HUD senior facilities.

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. His 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 (sometimes).

UPI Loan Review Members

Maxine Hill

Maxine Hill

Accounting background, Former adjunct professor (Business Administration) Chicago State University. Arizona Agua Fria Union High School District #216, Board President 2013, 2015. Accounting background.

Stewart Colgate

Stewart Colgate

Entrepreneur, first class chef, clothing designer and mentor.

Safeer Hopton

Safeer Hopton

Founder/Chairman “Global Village”, a not-for-profit, “member-owned” Co-op creating individual and community wealth.

Raymond Burden

Founder “LinRayLegacy 2001”, a consulting company specializing in areas of healthcare and financial services. Retired U.S. Army in 2000, after 30 years of service.

Jay Ralston

Jay Ralston

Entrepreneur, business-owner and real estate broker.

Michael Tucker

Michael Tucker

Entrepreneur, Founder, Tucker Coaching & Consulting providing (international) personal, relationship and business coaching expertise. US Air Force veteran.

UPI Loan Fund Advisors

See the full list of the UPI Loan Advisors