Living the NI Life: Participating in the change we want to see

By Greg Garvan

“Nobody who looks at a shard of flint lying beneath a rock ledge or who finds a splintered log by the side of the road would ever find magic in their solitude. But in the right circumstances, if you bring them together, you can start a fire that consumes the world.”
Jody Picoult, The Storyteller

All of us here at Natural Investments are forever working making connections between our core values and the varied assets of our life: financial, time, relationships, talents. By nurturing these connections, we’re trying to not only start the fire, but help it grow across the world.

Our community—of clients, advisors, local businesses and friends—is full of people committed to social change and acting on that commitment. We see everything from video documentation of ‘Occupy’ chapters across the country to giving away millions to social change to volunteering to grow food in the local soil and distribute it to food banks. We feel gratitude when we see these effects of our Natural Investments community in the world.

While our professional life is largely focused on how financial assets are directed, living the NI life also means using our talents and our time to make a difference. 

For instance, did you know that NI’s three managing partners were working as environmental educators before Natural Investments began? That work continues to this day for each of them, through permaculture site planning for one, helping start a local hops farm for another, and community education for the third. On the company scale, NI provides a portion of its profits to each NI advisor, which they then direct to charitable organizations of their choice. This means many more thousands of dollars directed to organizations such as Green America, Slow Money, and many others. (See this link for some of the organizations we’ve supported). We all have our own local priorities, as well.

I am deeply involved in the low income community here in Charleston, through a community development institution called Metanoia  (which means a change of heart, a transformation).  Metanoia is a national leader in working to develop the most positive assets in the community—the adult and youth leaders, and the institutions that support the community. After 10 years, the education, home building, community gardens, and local services fostered by Metanoia are making a significant difference in my local community.  Serving as both an advocate and on the cross cultural board has been not only a great personal experience, but has helped me look at our impact/ community investing with new eyes.  It is helping me live the NI life to my fullest. 

All of us in the NI orbit use our our full array of personal and community assets to support the core values we live our lives by.  Through this we deepen our commitments to those values, and remind ourselves that it does matter, on an intentional daily basis, how we live our lives.  Are there some examples from your world that you’d be willing to share with others? Drop me a note with a bit of your story!

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Greg Garvan

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