The First "Community Investing Toolkit" for Faith-based Investors Published by the Social Investment Forum
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 29, 2009 — The Social Investment Forum (SIF) today launched a first-of-its-kind guide to encourage religious investors to become more engaged in the practice of “community investing“ --the fastest growing area of socially responsible investing.
Titled “Community Investing Toolkit for the Faith-Community,” the new guide grew out of a roundtable discussion SIF convened in 2007 bringing together 25 experts from various religious institutions. The toolkit provides a range of first-hand experiences from religious investors in the field. It documents the opportunities, challenges and outcomes of their investment decisions.
Over the past decade, community investing has grown over 540 percent, from $4 billion to $25.8 billion in assets. Community investing directs capital from investors and lenders to communities that are underserved by traditional financial services institutions. Community investing provides access to credit, equity, capital, and basic banking products that these communities would otherwise lack. In the US and around the world, community investing makes it possible for local organizations to provide financial services to low-income individuals and to supply capital for small businesses and vital community services, such as affordable housing, child care, and healthcare.
Social Investment Forum CEO Lisa Woll said: “We are pleased to address the growing demand from religious investors for a community investing resource focused on the faith community. Our new guide documents how community investing unites investment goals with philanthropic and theological principles. It features ‘how-to’ sections for new investors and invites them to join SIF’s ‘1% or More in Community Investing Campaign.’”
Kathy Stearns, chair, Community Investing Steering Committee of the Social Investment Forum said: “This toolkit is an invaluable resource for any faith-based investor trying to figure out how to have more community impact with their investment dollars. It’s a practical, hands-on guide that can help faith-based investors contribute to community development while investing safely and wisely. The toolkit recognizes the critical role that faith-based investors have played in the past, provides great examples of how different faith-based investors manage their community investments and their lessons learned, and identifies resources to help new investors to move in this direction.”
Sister Pamela Buganski of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Toledo, who is organizing the Community Investment Conference for faith based investors next month in Cleveland in collaboration with UBS and SIF sees a great deal of potential for the toolkit.
Sister Buganski said: “The concept of community investing is a natural fit for faith-investors. The step-by-step lessons for mission-driven investors to create lasting impact in low-income communities will certainly help to bring in new investors to the field. I look forward to distributing this hands-on tool to faith-based fiduciaries, students, foundation representatives and other conference participants next month.”
The SIF toolkit is available online at http://www.socialinvest.org/resources/pubs/. Print copies can be ordered online in individual and bulk rates for conferences and training sessions. For more information, contact Prianjali Mascarenhas at (202) 872-5335 or Prianjali@socialinvest.org.
The Social Investment Forum is the U.S. national nonprofit membership association for professionals, firms and organizations dedicated to promoting the practice and growth of socially responsible investing (SRI). Critical to responsible investment practice is the consideration of environmental, social and corporate governance criteria in addition to standard financial analysis. Nearly 500 SIF members support SRI through portfolio selection analysis, shareholder advocacy and community investing. www.socialinvest.org.