Community impact investing?
In today’s interconnected world, it’s easy to see how your hard-earned money can end up going toward projects and businesses all around the world. In 2013, British Columbians contributed $4.5 billion of new monies into their RRSPs, much of that disbursed outside the province and Canada. That’s money that ends up supporting the creation of new businesses, building new infrastructure, and generally benefitting communities that always seem to be located “somewhere else.”
Imagine what an impact re-directing, say, 5% of that money back into the communities in which we live would have. That’s $225 million in annual local investments. Happily, there’s a movement afoot to make that happen, through something called community impact investing.
Community impact investing is the process of connecting local investors to local investment opportunities. Sounds simple, but the fact is that while the demand for investing locally is increasing, traditional options available to investors limit where they can invest. The result is that most local investment capital leaves our communities and is invested into stock markets and corporations that have little or nothing with the places we live. An unintended consequence is that while our investments create significant jobs and wealth elsewhere, the places we live, work and play are overlooked.
In an initiative supported by the province’s Rural Dividend program, the BC Rural Centre and Kootenay Employment Services (KES) have partnered to stimulate community impact investing in BC’s Southern Interior. Eden Yesh, Invermere Branch Manager for KES, consultant to the Creston & District Community Investment Co-op, and Chair of the BC Community Impact Investment Coalition, and Gordon Borgstrom, Executive Director, BC Rural Centre, will host community investment sessions in communities throughout the Southern Interior region. These sessions will highlight examples of how local investment vehicles have successfully met community needs across Canada, in areas that include affordable housing, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and food production, locally-owned small business, technology, and community economic development.
The purpose of these sessions is to discuss the local investment movement in British Columbia, and explore the opportunity to establish two new community investment co-ops in in the Southern Interior in 2018.
“Community investment co-ops tend to generate not only employment and economic activity, but also civic pride and new attitudes about local ability to drive positive community change. These co-ops offer mentorship, support, and a connection with local investors and customers who have a vested interest in their success,” – says Yesh.
Each Community Investment session is open to the public. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided and admission is free. There is limited seating in each community so please RSVP right away.
Click here for a handy two-page downloadable handout on Community Investment Co-ops
TO RSVP TO A SESSION NEAR YOU, GO TO:
For further information please contact:
Gordon Borgstrom: Gordon.Borgstrom@telus.net
Eden Yesh: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on community investment, visit our Mobilizing Local Capital page.