Although more and more people are investing their money into the markets than ever, most investors still do not feel any connection to the companies that their funding is helping to grow. Fueled by the desire to see their investment create a positive change in the world around them and not just increase the size of their portfolio, many investors are turning to Community Investing as way to reconnect their money with the place and people they value the most.

Community Investing is perhaps the least well-known sector of Socially Responsible Investing, but it is the one that has the most direct impact on disadvantaged communities. Instead of an investor’s capital being channeled-based investment is funding local non-profits to maintain the critical facilities that healthy communities depend on, and financing loans that enable people to work their way out of poverty and into jobs and homes.

What does Community Investment accomplish?

There are three primary sectors of lending that community investing supports: Micro enterprise, Small Business and Non-profits Facilities.

Microenterprise Development

It focuses on assisting low-income people in starting their own businesses by providing small loans, loans can be as small as $50! Some programs lend directly to individuals, while others use a peer-lending model that binds individuals together in a supportive group of borrowers whose access to loan capital is dependent upon the success of all its members. Many programs also offer technical assistance. In some very poor areas of the world, an investment of $1,000 could provide loans to help a dozen families, an their children, transform their lives.

Small Business Development

This type of lending is more traditionally structured and supported than micro loans. This category of lending assists low-income people in disadvantaged communities to start or increase the scope of their own businesses by providing the loans generally below $ 25,000.

Community Development

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Community development lending supports non-profits that are working directly with disadvantaged populations and communities to develop enterprises that provide core social resources, such as health services and daycare centers. Other activities include banking services in targeted communities a critical funding to cooperative and environmental programs.