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How to get involved in community investing

The UUA can double many congregations' investments.
By Dorothy May Emerson
Spring 2006 2.15.06

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A wealth of information about community investing is available from www.communityinvest.org, a project of two not-for-profit organizations, Co-op America and the Social Investment Forum Foundation.

Here are approaches the organizations suggest:

  • Invest directly in community development loan funds. These are comparable to bank-issued certificates of deposit but are not FDIC-insured. Nevertheless, the Social Investment Forum reports, no major community loan funds have lost any investment dollars. Investors choose a rate of return from zero to 3 percent on investments of one to three years and up to 4 percent on longer terms.
  • Open checking or savings accounts in a community development bank or credit union. They operate much like traditional banks, but focus on providing capital to rebuild low-income communities.
  • If you invest in mutual funds, you may want to look for funds that have a significant community development component.
  • If you work with a financial advisor, you may want to invest in Calvert Community Investment Notes.
  • Join the “1 Percent or More in Community Campaign,” whose goal is $15 billion in community investing for economic opportunities in disadvantaged areas. Joining requires moving at least 1 percent of your savings and investments into community investments.

Remember: UU congregations that invest in community development financial institutions may double their impact by applying to the UUA to match investments of $2,000 to $10,000.

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