Justine Petersen | St. Louis Public Radio

Justine Petersen

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Prosperity Connection, a St. Louis nonprofit financial education provider, has launched an initiative to help people with their credit scores. St. Louis Builds Credit aims to build credit scores and wealth, while also teaching people to become financially resilient.

Paul Woodruff, executive director of the nonprofit, said good credit is often the gateway to more opportunities.

“When you think about opportunities for employment, for housing, for transportation, and for insurance," Woodruff said, "the common denominator in being able to access all of these things that provide quality life is rooted in strong credit history for families.”

Freddie Lee James Jr., owner of Freddie Lee's Gourmet Sauces, prepares a batch of his mild sauce on Dec. 18, 2019 in St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Freddie Lee James Jr. has long been a sauce man. 

His home-whisked Ghetto Sauce made him the king of cookouts. Family and coworkers would clamour for the zesty, sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. After years of their encouragement and five years before he was to retire from his construction job, he decided to take it to the next level.

Provided | EyeSeeMe

Justine Petersen, a leading microlender in the region, hopes a $200,000 investment from JPMorgan Chase will help minority-owned small businesses north of Delmar.

The investment will continue to assist the local nonprofit in its efforts to help those small-business owners with credit-building resources, as well as provide access to safe and affordable loans.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

While St. Louis voters decide among mayoral and aldermanic candidates in the city’s primary election next Tuesday, they’ll also answer a question about short-term lenders.


This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 20, 2012 - When artist Ilene Berman was moving to St. Louis from Madison, Wis., in the early 1990s and looking at apartments, she kept hearing the same advice over and over.

"Don't go north of Delmar," Berman said. "Once you live here a while, you know what that refers to."