Investing to Reflect Your Values During Giving Season

The impact-investing sector, made up of people who want to invest in companies that align with their personal values, has nearly doubled in the past few years, according to the Global Impact Investing Network. (Adobe Stock)

December 23, 2020

RALEIGH, N.C. – During the holiday season and into the new year, many people make charitable contributions – but there’s another way to help the community recover from COVID-19 without spending a dime.

Groups that work for social justice have said you can make a difference by choosing a financial institution based on the causes they support. Ebony Perkins, national resource manager for investor and community relations with Self-Help Credit Union, said there is power in where you put your money.

“Placing your money with financial institutions that are making a difference in communities that are specifically hurting right now,” she said. “That’s also a form of giving, and that should not be overlooked.”

She said one goal of what are known as community-development credit unions is to provide affordable financial services that help generate economic growth for communities that might otherwise be overlooked by traditional banks. Perkins noted that Self-Help Credit Union makes home and consumer loans where other financial institutions often hesitate, and focuses on low-income, minority and rural communities. It also offers certificates of deposit that support women and other underserved borrowers.

Brady Quirk-Garvan, a business-development associate at the investment group Money With a Mission, said investing in term certificates that help women and children, or in companies that support green initiatives or sustainable food systems, can help align your money with your values. He also pointed to groups such as the North Carolina-based Center for Responsible Lending, with a host of resources around banking and debt.

“And so, I think for people that are looking to invest, or whether it’s around banking decisions,” he said, “clearly looking at companies that are trying to look ahead – more than the next month or the even the next week, in terms of what it’s doing for their stock, but looking ahead months and years – is really something that we see as an important trait.”

He said investing isn’t only for wealthy people. Whether you have $5 or $1 million, Garvan said, where you choose to bank, and where and how you spend in your community, can have a huge impact.

Disclosure: Self-Help Credit Union contributes to our fund for reporting on Environment, Health Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service – NC