Author Archive

James Frazier

Welcome to my archive of newsletter articles and blog posts. For more information on my service offerings, please go to my advisor webpage.

Cryptocurrency for Socially Responsible Investors

Cryptocurrency has become quite the hot topic in the investment world over the last few years. What’s less known, however, are socially and environmentally conscious perspectives on this new technology. After many years of observation and reflection, Brady and James got together to weigh in with their thoughts.

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Spotlight: Clean Energy Credit Union

An Interview with
CEO Terri Mickelsen

For those who don’t know Clean Energy Credit Union, can you tell us what kind of loans you make and what makes them unique?

Clean Energy Credit Union is not your traditional credit union in that we are focused solely on providing loans and deposit services that promote clean energy. The loans we offer help people afford clean energy products such as electric vehicles, electric bicycles, solar energy systems, geothermal systems and other green home improvements. Our goal is to make it easier for people to join the clean energy movement, whether it’s getting access to the best possible loan for your clean energy project or hosting your checking and savings account where your deposits will only be used to finance clean energy.

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The Deal with Donor-Advised Funds

After wrapping up another season of end-of- year requests from non-profits, it seems to make sense to take a broader look at philanthropy and charitable giving.

Philanthropy in the U.S. is a massive undertaking. In 2020 Americans gave $471 billion to charitable causes. That is almost the same amount the federal government generally spends every month.

Why people choose to give, and what causes they support, is often a deeply personal matter. Some choose to support scholarships, while some support causes they think the government could or should cover; others to further a cause or ideal.

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A Conversation: Ebony Perkins of Self-Help Credit Union

Brady Quirk-Garvan at Money with a Mission interviewed Ebony Perkins at Self-Help Credit Union.

Brady Quirk-Garvan: Ebony, what is your role at Self-Help Credit Union?

Ebony Perkins: I am the Vice President and Director of Investor Relations. Simply put, I get the opportunity to work with individuals and institutions that want to put their cash to good use. I get to have fun when I go out to people and explain how they can use their money for good and see the light bulb go off. I get really excited about that! It’s an educational opportunity.

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Spotlight: Kachuwa Impact Fund

Kachuwa Impact Fund is an investment cooperative and public benefit corporation focused on owning and operating “impact real estate” and investing in privately held “impact companies.” As a cooperative, Kachuwa is democratically owned and controlled by its members. Brady Quirk- Garvan of Natural Investments recently met with Blake Jones, founder of Kachuwa Impact Fund, to talk about what makes Kachuwa unique.

Brady Quirk-Garvan: What exactly is Kachuwa Impact Fund’s approach to investing?

Blake Jones: By design, at least 60 percent of Kachuwa’s assets are real estate and no more than 40 percent of its assets are investments. Kachuwa is like a real estate investment trust (REIT) combined with a mutual fund. Our diversified holdings have a positive impact on society and the environment. Kachuwa’s goal is not to maximize financial return; instead, it is to create positive impact while earning reasonable returns for its members that may be considered “below-market.”

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Impact Profile: Green Century Capital Management

For over twenty-five years, Green Century Capital Management has been a leader in shareholder advocacy. This year, Green Century focused on two themes: sustainable agriculture and climate change. As part of its climate change advocacy, Green Century has been diligently working to promote plant-based proteins—as well as the preservation of tropical forests, the reduction of food waste, and a renewable energy transformation.

Plant-based proteins have received media attention in recent years due to the growing awareness that meat production is one of the main drivers of deforestation in the tropics. Globally, the production of livestock for human consumption generates 14% of the emissions that cause climate change.

By working with investors and agricultural companies,

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Advocating for Our Collective Future

I was one of several Natural Investments advisers to travel to Washington, D.C., in May to participate in a day of advocacy organized by USSIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.

You may be wondering why a group of financial advisors who are on a mission to transform the world into a more equitable place would venture into the political arena. It’s a good question, and it’s one with an important answer. Right now, strategies for using investing as a tool for social change are under attack. The Security and Exchange Commission is trying to scare pension funds away from socially responsible investments by rolling back rules put in place during the Obama era. In Congress, Republicans are trying to strip

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Trendline Not Headlines

The Long View Provides a Better Outlook

There is no question that the political world is wildly turbulent these days. If you are like me, you may often fall prey to the depressing news coming out of Washington, D.C. Every day it seems like some environmental regulation is being rolled back, the government is oppressing a new group, or that we are on the brink of a budgetary crisis. All of this is before we even talk about global warming. So what is a progressive investor to do?

I was recently reminded of a line that President Bill Clinton likes to use, which is to look at “trendline not headlines.” In today’s world, there couldn’t be better advice. In the age of clickbait headlines, social media frenzy, and scary sound bite news, this can be hard to keep in mind—but the trendline does tell a more accurate story.

So let’s take a dive into some trend lines and see what is actually happening.

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The CHOICE Act is the Wrong Choice

With all of the chaos happening in Washington, DC it can be hard to keep up with everything that is changing. While your advisors here at Natural Investments stay up to date on a wide variety of policy issues, we particularly want to highlight a bill that would have a large impact on our industry and our ability to advocate for social change.

Earlier this year Republicans in the House introduced HR10 The “CHOICE” Act. CHOICE stands for Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs, but in simple terms this bill is a massive give-away to large Wall Street firms. It destroys much of the regulatory framework put into place under the Dodd-Frank reforms. And, most disruptive to socially engaged investors, it puts limits on the shareholder activism work that is so critical to our ability to impact change at the businesses we invest in on your behalf.

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