Through community development, investors designate part of their portfolio for credit unions, non-profit banks, or funds that make loans to start-up enterprises in low-income communities. Such programs provide capital and technical expertise to persons and groups that are often under-served by traditional lenders. Affordable housing and successful minority-owned businesses are other goals of community investing. See a complete detailed list of our community investments.
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is inviting congregations to participate in community investing through its matching program.
Good General and Community Development Information
- Green America—Practical Suggestions for using your consumer and investor power for social change—includes excellent Community Development information
- Social Investment Forum
- SRI World Group, Inc.—Includes suggestions for individual investors, including retail SRI mutual funds
- SRI News
- Opportunity Finance Network—CDFI information
Community Development Match Program
Policy, Definitions & Eligibility Criteria
UUA Policy on Community Investments
In January 2003 the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Board of Trustees passed a policy formally requiring that a portion of UUA funds be invested in Community Investing (CI) Assets, generally recognized as investments in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). The board further created the Community Development Matching Program as an incentive to encourage congregations and districts to adopt a similar policy of Community Investing. Through this program the UUA will match church and district CI investments which meet certain criteria. The criteria for the match have been developed by the UUA Socially Responsible Investing Committee (SRIC) in collaboration with the Treasurer and Financial Advisor. Below are the latest eligibility requirements and application procedures.
Community Investing (CI) is financing that creates resources and opportunities for economically disadvantaged people and communities underserved by traditional financial institutions. CI supports development initiatives in low-income communities both in the United States and in developing countries. CI financing creates access to affordable financial services and financial education, loans for first-time homebuyers and affordable housing development, micro and small business development, community services, and venture capital financing.
Community Investments are offered by community investing institutions and include checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, loan notes, equity investments in community development, and money-market funds.
Community Investing Institutions include community development banks, credit unions, loan funds (including microenterprise lenders), venture capital funds, and other institutions which offer investment products that support community development, e.g., Calvert Foundation Notes. See section below for Community Investing database requirement.
Match Eligibility—Terms and Amounts
The applicant church or district must make a minimum investment of $2,000 for at least one year in an approved Community Investing Institution. The UUA will make a duplicate investment as the applicant up to $10,000 and for a maximum term of three years. The UUA interest rate may be different from the applicant’s interest rate.
Institutions Eligible for the Match
After researching the best data sets and resources within the CI industry, the SRIC has approved the use of the Community Investment Database as the reference source for eligible investments. This is a searchable database of more than 350 CDFIs. All of the institutions included have met minimum thresholds established by the industry’s key associations relating to operating performance, equity ratios, delinquencies and losses. The directory includes a screened selection of U.S.-based CDFIs from the two trade associations formerly used as the matching criteria, as well as international microenterprise funds.