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Stock Market Reaches New High, But More Investing Locally

PHOTO: More and more investors are moving away from global capital markets to put funding into local enterprises, where there's a positive social impact along with a return. CREDIT: Herval
PHOTO: More and more investors are moving away from global capital markets to put funding into local enterprises, where there's a positive social impact along with a return. CREDIT: Herval
May 6, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - With technology meaning an ever-connected world, the options for investing these days are nearly unlimited, but a growing trend in the nation is to consider portfolios that have a positive social impact locally. John Bloom, senior director of organizational culture, RSF Social Finance, said he has seen a record number of clients diversify away from global capital markets to invest in local enterprises working in areas such as food and agriculture, education and the arts, and ecological stewardship.

According to Bloom, investors are taking things personally.

"What we've seen is people saying, 'This doesn't work for me anymore. I want to know where my money is working. I'd like to be able to align my money with the values that I hold dear. I want to know that it's having impact in a world that I feel really good about.'," he explained.

The goal of socially conscious investment is to transform the way the world works with money - lending, investing and giving, Bloom said.

Another proponent of keeping investments close to home is Judy Wicks, co-founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). Wicks pulled all of her money out of the stock market about 15 years ago and focused on her city's reinvestment fund, which came along with a guaranteed rate of return, she noted.

"On top of that, I know exactly what my money is doing," she said. "It's building wind turbines and charter schools and local food enterprises here in my own community. People are starting to wise up and invest locally, because when you invest locally you get what I call 'a living return.'"

On May 3, the Dow closed at a new record, just shy of 15,000.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TN