Summer of Purpose: Richard Ellis

Hebrew Free Loan Association Cleveland Ohio
Michal Marcus, executive director of Hebrew Free Loan Association

Luke 6:34-38 shares that, “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do well, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great.” This scripture highlights the true meaning behind what Hebrew Free Loans Association (HFLA) is doing here in Northeast Ohio to serve people in need.

This organization is one that has lasted over 100 years – 112, to be exact. This blessing to Greater Cleveland is working to better the outcomes of people who aren’t as fortunate in terms of finances. The objective of this organization is to help people in all situations, from those paying loan sharks to others paying college tuition. The phone calls HFLA receives are unique because they are not limited to one specific type of loan. Unlike most, if not all, other lenders, we’re here to hear their story. Even though the organization is still small and growing, HFLA has helped more than 25,000 people in this community over the years, with a less than 1% default rate. If I told someone, “This company started off with a little over $500,” they probably wouldn’t believe HFLA was able to make a difference providing loans without charging interest. However, it’s the recycling of these investments that keeps the company going and able to help the next person.

As an intern at HFLA, I’m focusing on programs in the Mt. Pleasant, Buckeye and Fairfax communities. We’re targeting these areas to sow the seeds that will allow these neighborhoods to grow into communities of beauty again. Specifically, I am researching the community’s high foot traffic to see where our information can be shared to get the word out that HFLA is here to help these neighborhoods. So far, I’ve had a blast attending community events, learning about the demographics of people in these communities, and sharing the HFLA story. Hebrew Free Loans is definitely here to serve all, sowing seeds to help our communities grow and flourish.


Richard Ellis Hebrew Free Loan Association intern Cleveland OhioRichard Ellis, a graduate of Notre Dame College double majoring in Political Science and Criminal Justice with an Entrepreneurship minor, is placed at Hebrew Free Loan Association.  Richard develops and implements community outreach, marketing and tracking strategies for HFLA’s new loan programs in the Mt. Pleasant, Buckeye, and Fairfax neighborhoods of Cleveland.