An “investment” always concerns the outlay of some asset today (time, money, effort, etc.) in hopes of a greater payoff in the future than what was originally put in. Where you choose to invest your time and money matters. Shopping locally is an important way we can all support (invest in) the businesses and organizations that we love (every time you purchase from an online retailer, 100% of that money immediately leaves our economy). But, shopping at a locally owned store is only one way of “investing” in our future. Investing your time by volunteering at a nonprofit, serving on a town committee, or coaching a youth team- is also a critical component to strengthening our community and economy. Another often overlooked opportunity investing in our community is through economic investments like retirement accounts, investment club, or community loan funds. Consider investing in the local businesses you love that will be desperate for cash in the coming months. Invest in great local projects your town will initiate—perhaps in energy efficiency or local food systems—that will increase our local resilience. Invest in the entrepreneurs that are creating the innovations and industries of the future- right here in the Upper Valley!
Find a collection of inspirations and resources to build awareness and action about how we can all be part of reclaiming our economy to be more resilient, fair, and green.
Easiest Way to Invest in Your Community: Bank Locally
Financial Institutions that are rooted in the Upper Valley invest in our communities!
Local Focus: Unlike larger banks that may take deposits in one state and lend in others, community banks channel their loans to the neighborhoods where their depositors live and work, which helps local businesses and communities thrive.
Relationship Banking: Community bank officers know their customers and may consider family history and discretionary spending in making loans. Megabank loan officers apply impersonal qualification criteria, such as credit scoring, without regard to individual circumstances.
Innovation: As high-tech, high-touch local financial institutions, community banks work with their customers to ensure they have access to innovative products and services while partnering with and investing in financial technology providers. A prime example of community bank innovation is showcased through ICBA’s ThinkTECH Accelerator.
Lending Leadership to Small Business: According to the Federal Reserve’s Small Business Credit Survey: Report on Employer Firms, community banks are the small business lender of choice. (79 percent of independent businesses that used community banks report they were satisfied with their overall experience, compared with 67 percent for large banks and just 49 percent for online lenders.)
Timely Decision-Making: Community banks offer nimble decision-making on business loans because decisions are made locally. Megabanks must often convene loan-approval committees located in another state, far away from their customers.
Community Engagement and Accessibility: Community bank officers are typically deeply involved in their local communities, while megabank officers are often detached from the communities where their branches are located.
As local small businesses themselves, community banks only thrive when their customers and communities flourish. They answer to Main Street. Megabanks are driven by shareholder value and answer to Wall Street.
Learn About Local Economic Investing
Community Economist Michael Shuman Presents:
Rebooting Your Economy After COVID
Introductory Webinar: Rebooting Your Community After COVID – How to Invest Locally Using Self-Directed IRAs and Solo 401ks
Vital Communities and The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock hosted an online introductory webinar with community economist and author Michael H. Shuman called “Rebooting Your Community After COVID – How to Invest Locally Using Self-Directed IRAs and Solo 401ks” on Thursday, October 15, 2020, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Watch the recording here.
Michael Shuman has been studying and writing about local economies for decades. Interesting blog posts about re-booting the economy include Why Local Economies Matter, 7 Ways to Grow Your Economy Now, 27 New Year Resolutions for Community Revival Part 1 & Part 2.
Comparative Resilience: 8 Principles for Post-COVID Reconstruction by Michael Shuman, April 2020
“We need a different way forward, what we might call the Theory of Comparative Resilience. My basic proposition is simple: Those communities that are best able to withstand future crises – whether pandemics, climate disruptions, or financial meltdowns – will be the ones that thrive economically. They will be the best places for investors to park their money. They will attract the best and the brightest people. They will be the places where residents feel secure enough to innovate. As your community begins the long road of rebuilding, here are eight criteria by which you might measure your community’s comparative resilience:
Social Performance of Business”
Community Investment Funds: A How-To Guide for Building Local Wealth, Equity, and Justice
Ce(See)ding power through local investing: A handbook showing a wide range of approaches you might apply to your own community.
Local Investing Resource Center: : a resource area for community organizers — nonprofit leaders, economic development professionals, and government officials — and those looking to create aggregated pools of capital for local investing. Here, you will find a series of how-to guides and other resources that support you in catalyzing citizen-led investments into local small businesses.
Building Resilient Rural Places: Strategies from Local Leaders to Strengthen Rural Assets, Diversity, and Dynamism by Hanna Love, Mike Powe – Brookings, December 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic tests the resilience of rural economies in real time, this research series argues that our attention should not be focused on an outdated, inaccurate image of rural America, but rather on understanding, sustaining, and investing in the hyperlocal strategies already working to bring growth and equity to increasingly diverse and dynamic rural areas. Using in-depth, on-the-ground research in three rural communities across the U.S., the following briefs highlight these place-based strategies as well as the policy and capacity-building supports needed to sustain and scale them in the years to come.
Local Investment Opportunities:
NST’s Community Impact Group allows local investors to own community solar projects that expand participation to low-income residents, small non-profits, and start-up businesses while allowing investors to use their tax liability to make positive economic and environmental returns.
The Group will link mission-minded investors with high-impact projects. Projects that can generate broad benefits to the community such as economic development and greenhouse gas reduction will additionally guide project selection. The Group has a 2019 target to finance $2.5M of nontraditional ventures, primarily focused on solar projects that can significantly lower electric bills of these underserved communities.
Building a Better Future Through Local Investment – Established in 2015, the White River Investment Club (WRIC) is a group of local residents dedicated to creating a better future through local investing. Our mission is to enable its members to make local investments which help themselves and their communities – and improve the overall quality of life in the White River watershed. WRIC Facebook page
Impact, Sustainability, Justice…OPPORTUNITY. The Vermont Community Loan Fund creates opportunities that lead to healthy communities and financial stability for all Vermonters. The Vermont Community Loan Fund is a mission-driven, community-focused alternative lender. We provide loans and other resources to local businesses, community organizations & nonprofits, early care & learning providers and developers of affordable housing who don’t qualify for a loan from a traditional lender. We develop and promote innovative capital-based solutions to issues of poverty and opportunity. We’re invested in a stronger, healthier, happier Vermont.
The money we lend is loaned to us by impact investors who want to do more with their money. VCLF investors want a safe, sensible way to invest in Vermont, doing good for Vermonters today and saving for their own tomorrow. In over thirty years, with over $110 million loaned, we’ve never failed to repay an investor. Individuals & families, institutions, communities of faith, community organizations: EVERYONE can invest in Vermont through the Vermont Community Loan Fund.
Opportunity. Investment. Impact.
One of the barriers that keeps people with low incomes from achieving greater self-sufficiency is a lack of access to credit.
People and organizations that have or manage financial resources are willing to help their neighbors when they have a trusted mechanism to do so.
Serve as a catalyst, leveraging financial, human, and civic resources to enable traditionally underserved people to participate more fully in New Hampshire’s economy. We do this by:
Providing loans, capital and technical assistance;
Complementing and extending the reach of conventional lenders and public institutions;
Bringing people and institutions together to solve problems.
The Local Crowd: Community. Connection. Capital. Through crowdfunding we envision strong, resilient local economies where neighbors know each other and support each other’s businesses. Started in 2012, The Local Crowd® works with rural communities to create local crowdfunding ecosystems that support growth and sustainability of local businesses and organizations.” In Vermont and New Hampshire there are two TLC communities – TLC Monadnock and The Local Crowd Upper Valley.