Green Money: Put Your Money Where Your Values Are

For conscious investors seeking to improve their hometowns... with immediate and even participatory social results, community banking constitutes an important investment option.

| September/October 2005

Community Chest

Q) I’ve been thinking about my bank account lately, and I don’t mean just worrying about how small it is. I’m wondering what my money is doing for my community. My bank has a local branch, but it’s a global corporation that invests in all sorts of things I want nothing to do with. It would be great if whatever savings I have could be used for good purposes closer to home. Is this too risky for me to consider? How can I learn about better banking alternatives?
Susan
Louisville, Kentucky

A) Good news! You can safely put your money to work where you live. In your town, the Louisville Community Dev­elopment Bank (MoreThanABank.com) is “dedicated to revitalizing inner city neighborhoods in Louisville, Kentucky, through targeted home and business loans.” It offers a full range of banking services.



This bank is part of a larger movement commonly called Community Investing. By providing hardworking individuals and organizations with the financing they need to help themselves, community investing offers solutions to many twenty-first century challenges, from inner-city decay to habitat destruction. Anyone who remembers banker George Bailey’s service to his hometown in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life realizes that community banking is hardly a new idea. It boils down to investing money in the people who are making the community a better place to live.

We found out about your local bank by searching CommunityInvest.org. This site provides information about myriad Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), including community banks and credit unions as well as community loan funds and international microcredit programs. These organizations catalyze a lasting sort of self-help that’s built on individuals working together to solve their own problems. Your CDFI investment can help revitalize a community, alleviate poverty, empower individuals and families, and provide access to capital for those traditionally confined to the economic sidelines.Not a bad social return to any natural investor’s portfolio.






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