This scalding resignation letter from the White House student loan watchdog is a must-read.

Seth Frotman was the watchdog for America’s $1.5 trillion student loan marketplace, an essential role created to protect students and military servicemembers from predatory loans.

The student loan ombudsman at the federal government’s  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau dramatically resigned from his post on Monday, August 27 accusing the Trump White House of systematically weakening protections against predatory loaners.

“You have used the bureau to serve the wishes of the most powerful financial companies in America,” Frotman wrote in a letter to Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney.


“The damage you have done to the bureau betrays these families and sacrifices the financial futures of millions of Americans in communities across the country.”

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

The White House downgraded his ability to protect vulnerable students and families.

In 2017, Mulvaney was given the additional power to oversee CFPB, which many critics said was a direct contradiction to the office set up in 2011 explicitly to protect Americans from financial entities that may not have their best interests in mind.

Then, in May of 2018, Mulvaney announced he was downgrading Frotman’s authority from one with enforcement capabilities to an “educational” section of the CFPB.

Even worse, Frotman accused Mulvaney and the White House of covering up a report from his office that he says revealed how some of these institutions were granting predatory loans to students.

“At every turn, your political appointees have silenced warnings by those of us tasked with standing up for servicemembers and students,” he wrote in his letter.

Frotman's letter was both welcomed by financial watchdogs but also a said testament to where we're at in terms of accountability and decency in our federal government.

His resignation is another huge loss for American institutions. But it also shows people of good faith and governance have their limits.

If you have a student loan, or may need one in the future, there are still helpful resources that can be used to avoid predatory lenders.

With so many of America’s basic institutions under attack, it’s important to have people like Seth Frotman standing up for what’s right.

It’s the only way we’ll get back to having a country where such basic, fundamental functions of our democracy are once again taken for granted instead of being used as tools by the financial and politically elite for personal gain.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.