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Bringing ‘Common Good Investors’ Together in New Mexico

Sebastian Beers and Mollie Lewis (owner) of All in the Wrist, participating business in "common-good investors."PHOTO Courtesy: Laureen Lerch
Sebastian Beers and Mollie Lewis (owner) of All in the Wrist, participating business in "common-good investors."
PHOTO Courtesy: Laureen Lerch
June 28, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – What you lose between the couch cushions could make a real difference to financially strapped New Mexicans.

That's one premise behind an upcoming campaign for sharing the wealth.

A newly hatched venture by the community action agency Prosperity Works is inviting local businesses to participate as "common-good investors" and engage their customers in the process.

Ona Porter, head of Prosperity Works, says different businesses will take different approaches, but in the end they will all be working together to end poverty.

"The idea really is, ‘What is the arithmetic of small numbers that can provide a continuous income stream to support our asset-building initiatives?’" she says.

Porter adds Prosperity Works is looking to create long-term relationships with others who believe as she does, that ending poverty is good for business – because it increases the tax base, stabilizes families and communities, improves the skilled-labor pool, and allows for the purchase of more goods and services.

Shom Naik runs B2B Bistronomy, a burgers and beer restaurant in Nob Hill that uses all natural humanely handled New Mexico products. He explains how he will participate in the project.

"First week of next month, we give them 20 percent off our Sunday food sales,” he says. “The second thing we are doing, we are giving the option to people to round it up. So guest check is, let's say, five-50 – to round it up to $6, and 50 cents goes to Prosperity Works."

Naik says he tries to give back to the community one day a week.

Mollie Lewis is the owner and technician at All in the Wrist, an Albuquerque auto repair shop. She says if the project is good for her customers, she will continue it indefinitely.

"I think it's a worthy cause and I'm born and raised in New Mexico,” she adds. “It's where my heart is, and I care about the people that live here. I care about the quality of life. And the better all New Mexicans do, the better local small-business owners like myself, we're going to do."

Renee Blake, Public News Service - NM