“People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change…It makes no sense to invest in companies that undermine our future.”
—Desmond Tutu, April 2014
Invest Local, a program of the Staunton Creative Community Fund and funded with grants from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, brings to life one of the most important economic questions of our day: what if we actually invested in the world we want to inhabit?
Rejoining the Staunton Fund as an outreach and implementation consultant, I’ve filled some of the following roles within this effort to move local funds from Wall Street to Main Street:
- Writing the Local Investing Toolkit
- Designing and launching the Invest Local website
- Planning Meet and Greets for local investors and entrepreneurs
- Holding educational workshops and training sessions
- Writing grants to launch the program, and
- Creating additional educational tools to support the ongoing growth of the initiative
It’s been a learning process, as the Staunton Creative Community Fund organizers and I have studied other Slow Money, LIONs and local investment models around the county.
Perhaps one of the most rewarding parts, however, has been reclaiming my own investments — including a $6,000 retirement account from my former days at the Urban Institute. Fully forgotten amidst the Wall Street mutual funds that it sat in, I’ve learned a lot in the process of rolling into into a self-directed Individual Retirement Account. I’ve also been privileged to put it to work in my local community. This story, written by Karen Lawrence, is the history of our first small business Invest Local loan in Staunton, which got me out of Wall Street and her out of high interest credit card debt. We were, and are still, excellent friends.
In the words of Woody Tasch, founder of the Slow Money movement:
What would the world be like, if we invested 50% of our assets within 50 miles of where we live?