Posts Tagged ‘Community Investing’

Spotlight: Seed Commons

Putting Non-Extractive Finance into Practice

When investors hear the word “cooperative” it should immediately convey the idea of working together toward a common goal. Headquartered in New York City and working in communities across the country, Seed Commons is a cooperative, or democratically run financial organization, that is reimagining finance and lending. It uses non-extractive finance vehicles to support communities to repair their local economies by building businesses that meet community needs.

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In the News – Winter 2022

1: DESPITE SPILLS AND AIR POLLUTION, FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES AWARD CEOS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RECORDS
Executive bonus programs at fossil fuel companies, meant to encourage better environmental practices,
evolved to allow firms to award executives full bonuses even in years with major environmental damage or total emission increases.
Washington Post

2:NAVIGATING THE THICKET OF ESG METRICS
With socially responsible investment becoming mainstream, unpacking how environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics are analyzed at different firms becomes an important distinction for investors to understand.
Financial Times

3: COMMUNITY INVESTING: TOOLS FOR THESE TIMES
An important pillar of responsible finance, community investing has evolved over the past several decades. The resurgence of anti-racist discussions in the public narrative has invigorated new efforts to support BIPOC low-income communities.
GreenMoney Journal

4: EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP ON THE RISE
Amidst the pandemic and Great Resignation, employee-owned businesses are increasing in the form of cooperatives and employee stock ownership plans (ESOP).
Shareable

5: MICROSOFT AGREES TO RIGHT TO REPAIR
The movement to reduce electronic waste is picking up steam and corporate giant Microsoft is one of several tech firms bowing to federal pressure, consumer demands, and investor concerns to expand repair options.
As You Sow

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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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Black Economic Self-Determination with Ed Whitfield

Natural Investments hosted a webinar called “Black Economic Self-Determination: To Move Forward We Must Understand The Past” with Ed Whitfield of Seed Commons. Reconstruction, the period that followed the Civil War, was a time when attempts were made to repair our country and our economy from slavery. Reconstruction failed, and set us up for what we are experiencing now–a political, social and economic system based in white supremacy and white nationalist violence. The increasing racial wealth divide exacerbated by COVID, killings of Black people, flagrant racism under Trump, modern day red lining and the January 6th insurrection are all ways that we see and feel the vestiges of failed Reconstruction.

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2020: A Year of Transformation

Crisis and opportunity have an interesting partnership. They don’t always go together, but when they do, they can catalyze powerful change in individuals, countries, and human civilization. Many forces converged in 2020 to create such a dynamic—a global pandemic, heightened attention to racism, extreme weather events and accompanying natural disasters, the disruption of democratic norms by a white supremacist authoritarian president, the proliferation of misinformation and conspiracy theories, and, finally, a historic election.

The year 2020 demanded resilience, and while we surely felt tested on many levels and tried to hold onto our center, many of us found ourselves reflecting on the meaning of life and then acting to change our own lives and work harder to build a just, equitable, and sustainable society.

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2019 Regenerative Investments

When available, a portion of client assets are directed to so-called “regenerative investments” in the private market. Natural Investments seeks funds and companies with an elevated business model that takes into account the public good. The authenticity of the model is usually backed by language in the corporate charter or third-party certifications verifying moral conduct at all levels: people, planet, and prosperity. The objectives foster a regenerative business structure at the outset, that can then be maintained through any economic environment.

2019 Social Impact Report

$89M in regenerative investments are spread across several main categories of impact.

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Spotlight: First Nations Oweesta

First Nations Oweesta (or Oweesta for short) was founded in 1999 to support economic development in Native American communities across the United States by addressing a lack of financial infrastructure and money.

Oweesta, which means money or “item of exchange” in the Mohawk language, is a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)—a federally certified class of banks, credit unions, and loan funds that are committed to making affordable, responsible loans to historically underserved and disadvantaged communities. In their words, Oweesta’s mission is to “provide opportunities for Native people to develop assets and create wealth by assisting in the establishment of strong, permanent institutions and programs, contributing to economic independence and strengthening sovereignty for all Native communities.”

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Impact Profile: Calvert Impact Capital

Every day brings news of human struggle and environmental crisis. Reports of wildfires, dying lakes, children without access to education, and tent cities of the working homeless spur the urge to help—but the problems are complex and often thousands of miles away. This combination can leave us feeling powerless.

Yet for many of the most challenging problems we face, there are proven solutions that we can support in a tangible way.

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Impact Profile: American Homeowner Preservation Fund

American Homeowner Preservation has developed a way to help struggling homeowners by leveraging the power of crowd sourced funding. Since 2008, AHP has helped hundreds of families across the country (and in Puerto Rico) resolve unaffordable mortgage debts and remain in the homes and communities they love.

Like many who have been touched by AHP, Joe Willie Hart had fallen behind on his mortgage due to severe illness. Although he recovered and eventually returned to work, the hefty interest and penalty charges were insurmountable. He started planning for the worst: foreclosure and eviction.

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