Wednesday, July 4, 2007

What is Social Finance?

Probably you, like me, have large stacks of newsletters and periodicals full of information and news about the worthy, important causes you track and support. One generally never gets around to studying these, and indeed a lot of them are pretty dull reads.
I picked one up last night from the top of the stack, since someone shuffled the reading pile in the powder room.... Lo and behold, I read a paragraph which sums up the philosophy I am working out with money and investment, social finance. The problem is, no one knows what social finance is without a paragraph-long trailer. It sounds like the budget that pays for the Social Director in charge of cruises or something.

This is taken from the RSF's newsletter. RSF actually stands for the Rudolph Steiner Foundation, but the "SF" has taken on an additional identity as standing for Social Finance. I discovered them when I was looking for an entity through which to invest money in just this manner, through Co-op America's directory.
They define Social Finance as

"an approach to managing money that delivers a social dividend and an economic return. This includes community investing, microlending, sustainable business and social enterprise lending, philanthropic grantmaking and program-related investments."

The implications of this are huge and complicated, and the ideas are way ahead of the realities. It is not as simple as putting your money in an SRI (socially responsible investment.) But it is certainly an ideal to study and strive towards, whether one is contributing, consuming, or investing.


Anonymous said...

A friend of mine actually owns a socially active investment firm. He started it a few years ago. I don't think he'll mind if I post the link . . .

Betsy Teutsch said...

Happy to have your friend add some comments or write a guest post about basic social finance investment.

Anonymous said...

I'll see what I can do. :)