Revelation Corporation of America, a cutting-edge partnership among corporations, churches, and charities, is anything but short of ambition.

Board members call their plan to harness some of the $400 billion annual buying power of African Americans "the most revolutionary economic-development project ever in the history of our nation."

Five black denominations, representing more than 15 million members in 43,000 churches, have organized a merchandising plan that will not only give a portion of congregants' spending money to their home churches, but also finance a home-ownership program.

Here is how it works: When a church's members purchase Revelation-endorsed products or services, a sales commission is paid to Revelation Corporation. Of that commission, 30 percent goes back to the individual participating church or organization.

The remaining 70 percent is placed into a fund designed to help moderate-income residents buy new homes in their neighborhoods. Already families are living in more than 200 Revelation-sponsored new homes in Memphis. Another 200 are in the works in Philadelphia.

"This is not for the homeless. This is not for the jobless," says John B. Lowery, Revelation's chief operating officer. "This is for working people who want to own their own home but don't have the credit to do it."

Lowery says the plan will create jobs in the black communities, stabilize property values, and increase community pride.

Although the plan is focused on the buying power of black churchgoers, and the five black denominations own 70 percent of the corporation, Revelation has opened admission to any group wanting a commission from goods bought by its members. Thus far, dozens of colleges, universities, corporations, and organizations, ...

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