STUDY: LOANS TO LOW-INCOME INDIVIDUALS, GROUPS
PERFORM AS WELL AS TRADITIONAL BANK LOANS
to the October 9th news briefing on the safety of CDFIs (You will
need the Real Player to listen to this. You can download the free
version of their player here)
Read the press release
(or as a pdf)
the report (pdf)
Go to National Community Capital Association's Web
site for further statistics on CDFI's www.communitycapital.org
to the June 5th news briefing on childcare and community investing.
(You will need the Real Player to listen to
this. You can download the free version of their player here)
Americans Banking on More Affordable Childcare as 'Community Investing'
Resources Nearly Tripple" June 5, 2002
Investing in Action: childcare" - a white paper from the
June 5, 2002 news event. (you will need the
free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this report. It can be downloaded
for free right
MMA Praxis Offers
New Option for Religious Investors: Way to Directly Aid Communities
in Need," January 24, 2002.
Stephanie Kendall or Joy Mileham, 703/276-3254, or [email protected]
MMA PRAXIS OFFERS NEW
OPTION FOR RELIGIOUS INVESTORS: WAY TO DIRECTLY AID COMMUNITIES IN
MMA Praxis is 1st Church-Owned
Mutual Fund Family to Achieve "1 Percent" Mark; Recognition
Part of Social Investment Forum Campaign to Boost Community Investing.
WASHINGTON, D.C. and GOSHEN, IN.//January
24, 2002//MMA Praxis Mutual Funds
and the Social Investment Forum announced today that MMA Praxis is
the first church-affiliated mutual fund family in the United States
to earn recognition from the Forum for placing 1 percent of its assets
in community investments (CI).
The expansion of community investing options into
faith-based mutual funds gives religious investors important new choices.
Traditionally, mutual funds with a religious focus have concentrated
on ethical screening of their investments, as opposed to the more
direct leveraging of their assets in communities in need.
"Community development investing within MMA
Praxis gives people a unique opportunity to help others through their
investments in addition to making charitable donations," says
Howard L. Brenneman, MMA president and chair of MMA Praxis. "MMA
Praxis is delighted to have reached the 1 percent level. Our shareholders
can now be involved in helping these communities in the U.S. and around
the globe meet their own goals, including affordable housing, a more
stable local economy of small businesses, a healthier environment,
or neighborhood revitalization."
Social Investment Forum Vice Chair Alisa Gravitz
said: "The Social Investment Forum and Co-op America applaud
MMA for its commitment to the goal of devoting 1 percent of its assets
to community investing. The Forum and Co-op America look forward to
making additional announcements such as these on a regular basis,
as more and more of our members reach this important goal. If you
think that 1 percent doesn't sound like much of a target, consider
this fact: If all socially screened portfolios reached the goal of
having 1 percent of their assets in CI the result would be a tripling
of current community investing dollars."
WHY COMMUNITY INVESTING FOR THE FAITHFUL?
For more than two decades, an institutional version
of CI has existed among religious groups with assets, such as pension
funds for Catholic nuns and priests. But as community investing moves
into mutual funds, it allows individual shareholders to play a direct
role in these community-changing activities. This is particularly
important to people of faith who regularly - and as a matter of principle
-- open up their pocketbooks for charitable causes.
Brenneman continued: "Now that's all changing
with community investing. Community development investing offers average
Christian investors, as stewards with the privilege of having assets,
to also follow Christ's call to care for the poor."
Only one other religiously oriented mutual fund
has achieved the Social Investment Forum's "1 percent" mark.
However, the Aquinas Funds are not owned by the Catholic Church. By
contrast, MMA Praxis Mutual Funds are part of Mennonite Mutual Aid,
which is owned by the Mennonite Church USA.
ABOUT THE MMA INVESTMENTS
The total so far of $6 million in MMA Community
Development Investment assets are going to several worthy organizations,
Illinois Facilities Fund. IFF is a state-wide,
nonprofit corporation providing real estate loans, facilities planning
and facilities development to human service and community development
nonprofits in Illinois. Since its inception, the IFF has made more
than 200 loans totaling $39 million to more than 100 Illinois nonprofits
to finance their childcare centers, health clinics, homeless shelters,
and other community facilities.
Women's World Banking. WWB-Cali, of Cali, Colombia,
is a microfinance institution (MFI) founded in 1982 to provide
low-income microentrepreneurs in the Valle del Cauca state of
Colombia access to credit on a permanent basis. WWB currently
works with 37,000 borrowers throughout Colombia. Many of those
borrowers are repeat customers (60 percent), a testament to the
success of the program. WWB-Cali is a founding member of the worldwide
Women's World Banking network.
Shorebank Enterprise Pacific. The Shorebank
Enterprise Pacific's mission is to develop and advance a long-term
regional environmental development strategy for the West coastal
temperate rainforests of North America. Shorebank Enterprise Pacific
provides nonbank credit, business support and marketing assistance
to emerging and small businesses that are seeking to participate
in the conservation economy. Since 1995, Shorebank Enterprise
Pacific has delivered 75 loans for a total of more than $7.2 million.
Mercy Loan Fund. Denver-based MLF lends to nonprofit
developers of affordable housing. The loan fund is a division
of Mercy Housing, Inc., a nonprofit organization sponsored by
congregations of Catholic women to create and strengthen healthy
communities through the provision of quality, affordable, service-enriched
housing for individuals and families who are economically poor.
Since its inception in 1984, MLF has helped finance over 8,000
units, providing homes to over 26,000 residents whose average
annual income is less than $18,000 per year.
For more information about community investing at
MMA or its other CI projects, go to www.mma-online.org.
MMA's goal is to place investments with carefully
chosen community development organizations that have met rigorous
standards for financial stability and social impact. Most of these
investments are made at full- or near-market rates. In some instances,
organizations receive below-market rates. However, the organizations
are required to clearly demonstrate the additional margin of value
that these rates provide.
MMA Equity Investment Manager Chad Horning compares
CI's financial returns to cash investments, while not having the same
liquidity. Cash investments already often represent 2 to 5 percent
of diversified mutual funds.
ABOUT MMA AND MMA PRAXIS
As a stewardship solutions organization, Mennonite
Mutual Aid helps Anabaptists and others practice biblical stewardship
through its expertise in insurance, financial services, charitable-giving
programs and educational resources. For more information, visit www.mma-online.org.
MMA Praxis Mutual Funds, a division of MMA, exists
to help individuals meet their financial goals in a way that supports
their beliefs. MMA Praxis practices stewardship investing, a philosophy
that balances a need for productive use of financial resources with
a deep-seated concern for others. For more information, visit www.mmapraxis.com.
ABOUT THE 1 PERCENT CAMPAIGN
In 2001, the Social Investment Forum launched a
campaign to help move more than $10 billion in assets in socially
responsible investments into communities in need over the next five
years. The Forum is honoring members with at least 1 percent of their
managed assets in community investing, and highlights them as role
models for all investors. Community investing is financing that generates
resources and opportunities - including capital for small businesses,
job creation, affordable housing, childcare and other needed community
services - for economically disadvantaged people in U.S. and overseas
communities that are underserved by traditional financial institutions.
The 1 percent campaign to promote CI is a joint
partnership of the Social Investment Forum and Co-op America. The
Social Investment Forum is a national nonprofit trade association
dedicated to promoting the concept, practice and growth of socially
responsible investing. Co-op America is a national nonprofit organization
founded in 1982 that provides the economic strategies, organizing
power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to address
today's social and environmental problems. The campaign's Web site
Stephanie Kendall or Joy Mileham, 703/276-3254, or [email protected]
Previous press releases...
FOCUS IN SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTING:
"COMMUNITY INVESTING" UP 41 PERCENT IN TWO YEARS
New Impetus in the Wake of September 11th, SRI Moves into Banking/Finance;
12 Groups Honored for Creating Housing, childcare, New Jobs for Disadvantaged.
the release and listen to the press conference here
WASHINGTON, D.C.///December 5, 2001///More
and more Americans are finding new ways -- including where they keep
their banking and checking accounts -- to be “hands on” as socially
responsible investors. A new study from the Social Investment Forum
shows that the phenomenon known as "community investing" is now the
fastest-growing category of socially responsible investing in the United
States. The Forum reported that individual and institutional assets
in flowing into community investing organizations grew by a hefty 41
percent between 1999 and 2001, increasing from $5.4 billion to $7.6
Today, the Community Investing Campaign, a project
of the Social Investment Forum and Co-op
America, singled out 12 organizations that "best exemplify the
building of economic
opportunity and hope for individuals through community investing."
Community investing is
financing that generates resources and opportunities for economically
disadvantaged people in
U.S. and overseas communities that are under served by traditional financial
Community investors make it possible for local organizations
in urban and rural areas to create affordable housing, jobs, provide
financial services to low-income individuals, supply capital for small
businesses, and make possible such vital community services as childcare.
Community Investing is carried out today by hundreds of community development
banks, credit unions, loan funds and venture capital organizations across
Why is community investing now enjoying so much popularity
among more and more socially concerned investors? For socially aware
individuals and institutions, the powerful attraction of community investing
is the opportunity it represents to connect in a direct way with the
lives of people in order to make a concrete difference in them.
Consider the work of Boston Community Capital, which
is one of the 12 organizations honored today by the Community Investing
Campaign. Today, in the Four Corners section of Boston's economically
distressed Dorchester neighborhood, brothers Glynn and Sheldon Lloyd
are gearing up City Fresh Foods, their ethnic food catering business,
to deliver 2000 daily meals. Not far away in the Roxbury neighborhood,
plans are underway for Nuestra Comunidad, a local community development
corporation that will bring the long-vacant Dartmouth Hotel back to
life as affordable housing and renovated commercial space for long-time
merchants in the heart of Dudley Square, the center of Boston's African
American community. Both City Fresh Foods, a profitable minority-owned
business with 35 inner city employees, and the Dartmouth Hotel, with
60 new units of housing for low-income and formerly homeless individuals
and families, are realities thanks to community investments from socially
Self-Help Credit Union Vice President Deborah Momsen-Hudson
said: "We are honoring these 12 groups today because they are
outstanding examples of how community investing dollars can transform
the lives of hundreds and even thousands of people in the U.S. and around
the globe. In the wake of the events of September 11 th , Americans
who want to make a change in the lives of others need to understand
that community investing is a powerful and personal way to get the job
done. The organizations singled out for praised today are among hundreds
in the U.S. that turn community investing dollars into better lives
for people who most need the help."
The 12 community investing organizations singled out
today by the Community Investing Campaign are as follows: ACCION International
(Boston, MA); Boston Community Capital (Boston, MA); Calvert
Foundation (Bethesda, MD); Cascadia Revolving Fund (Seattle,
WA); Community Bank of the Bay (Oakland, CA); Leviticus 25:23
Alternative Fund, Inc. (Yonkers, NY); Manna, Inc. (Washington,
DC); Mercy Loan Fund (Denver, CO); Self-Help Credit Union
(Durham, NC); Shared Interest (New York, NY); ShoreBank
(Chicago, IL); and Southern Development Bancorporation (Arkadelphia,
(See available fact sheet containing information on
each of the 12 organizations.)
STUDY: THE RISE OF COMMUNITY INVESTING
According to the new report from the Social Investment
Forum, assets held and invested locally by community development financial
institutions (CDFIs) based in the United States totaled $7.6 billion
in 2001, up from $5.4 billion in 1999. The key components behind this
41 percent increase include:
Assets in Community Development Credit Unions
tripled from $601 million in 1999 to $1.8 billion in 2001.
The assets in Community Development Venture
Capital Funds doubled from $150 million in 1999 to $300 million
Total financing by Community Development
Loan Funds rose from $1.3 billion in 1999 to $2.1 billion in 2001.
Cumulative financing by Community Development Loan Funds in 1990
totaled just $88 million.
Shorebank and Self-Help, both of which are community
investing members of the Social Investment Forum, passed the $1
billion mark in cumulative financing.
According to the Social Investment Forum, the 41 percent
growth rate for community investing now exceeds that of socially responsible
mutual funds, all types of screened portfolios and socially concerned
shareholder advocacy. The Forum’s report indicated that the rate of
growth during 1999-2001 for all socially screened assets (including
community investing) was 36 percent. All categories of socially responsible
investing (including unscreened assets used in shareholder advocacy)
rose 8 percent from 1999-2001, the Forum concluded.
ShoreBank Corporation Vice Chairman Bob Nash said:
"This is all about socially responsible investing for people
who want to be able to see the changes they have helped to make in the
world. Community-based financial institutions work with low-income individuals
earning the minimum wage in North Carolina to purchase homes, assist
impoverished battered women in Texas in opening a community-based shelter,
and provide displaced timber workers in the Pacific Northwest with loans
to start successful and environment-friendly businesses. In addition
to supplying urgently needed capital in under-served neighborhoods,
community investment groups make available key services, such as education,
mentoring and technical support."
HOW TO BECOME A COMMUNITY INVESTOR
Any individual or institution can become a community
investor. Community investing dollars often come in the form of savings
accounts, checking accounts, mutual funds and even direct "high
Many community investors use community development
banks and credit unions for their basic banking needs. These institutions
are committed to strengthening low-income communities across the country.
Everything from checking and savings accounts, to CD's and IRAs, to
loans, can be
provided through a community bank or credit union. If there is no such
organization in your community, you can use ATMs, the mail and online
Other individuals become community investors by focusing
on mutual funds with a community-investing component. Still another
approach is to invest directly in what are often called "high impact"
investments that go directly into community investment programs.
Community Investing Campaign Coordinator Fran Teplitz
said: Americans are looking for ways they can be a part of
the solution since the tragedies of September 11. Community investing
provides a great way that people can be part of the solution -- investing
in communities here and abroad. Communities that are secure make a world
that is safe. And the great news about community investing is that everyone
can do it. If you have a checking or savings account, you can be a community
investor by opening your checking and savings accounts in a community
development bank or credit union.
For a comprehensive list of community investing alternatives,
go to www.communityinvest.org.
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY INVESTING CAMPAIGN
The Community Investing Campaign is a joint partnership
of the Social Investment Forum and Co-op
America. The Social Investment Forum is a national non-profit trade
association dedicated to
promoting the concept, practice and growth of socially responsible investing.
Co-op America is a
national nonprofit organization founded in 1982 that provides the economic
power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to address
today's social and
environmental problems. The campaign's Web site is www.communityinvest.org.
CONTACT: Joy Mileham, 703/276-3258 or [email protected],
and Stephanie Kendall, 703/276-3254 or [email protected].
SAVINGS SAFE FROM PREDATORS!
Renowned Consumer Expert Outlines “Predatory Lending”
How “Community Investing” Alternative Makes a Real
The United States experienced unprecedented
prosperity in recent years, but many communities were left behind in
the process.These communities – including many women, older Americans,
and people of color – are in dire need of small business development,
affordable housing, job development, childcare, and other vital social
Unfortunately, predatory lenders are robbing
America’s distressed communities of what little wealth they have, leaving
families devastated. These predators use abusive marketing practices
to push unscrupulous loans with high fees, exorbitant costs, and other
unscrupulous lending practices on unsuspecting consumers.The result:
Homes of targeted groups - often the elderly, women and people of color
in low-income communities – are stripped of equity.
Recognized consumer expert Alisa Gravitz
is executive director of the nonprofit Co-op America and vice chair
of the nonprofit Social Investment Forum. She also is a veteran of numerous
radio and TV interviews and can speak about the new, free consumer pocket
guide “Building Communities,” a joint publication of Co-op America and
“Building Communities” outlines the dangers
of predatory lending and how Americans can use community investing to
rebuild the same neighborhoods targeted by predatory lenders.Some of
the topics covered in the pocket guide include:
Spotting and avoiding the predatory lenders who can hurt you, your
family and your community.
Signs that tell if you are already in the grips of a predatory
“community investing” alternatives that are available to everyone.
Alisa Gravitz also co-authored Co-op
America’s popular guide to social investing, which has helped more than
400,000 people invest their money according to their values and she
writes regular columns and articles on sustainable living. She earned
her MBA at Harvard University and her BA in Economics and Environmental
Sciences at Brandeis University.
AVAILABILITY: Via telephone nationwide during April-May 2001 by arrangement.
CONTACT: Paul Lopez (703) 276-1116, ext. 256.
For information about community investing,
predatory lending, or the 1% in Communities Campaign contact Todd Larsen,
managing director of Co-op America at 202-872-5310, or [email protected].