Cooperative Economics | "Impact-First" Investing | Transformative Leadership

When will we start asking the right questions towards faithful and livable future investing?

Being a person of faith and investing has been largely reduced to screening out bad things in your portfolio (ie producers of weapons, assault rifles, and others).

Some of the more creative and thoughtful faith-based investors have pushed for more positive screening. I’m two years into learning the landscape and I’m struck by how few have moved toward right relationship, livable future investments.

The dominant conversation in faith based investing doesn’t really grapple with the systemic nature of how all of our investments maintain capital supremacy (investor interests above all else) and don’t really wrestle more thoughtfully with ecological limits and the core basics of transitioning with justice & equality to something that is long-term sustainable and livable for our children.

The UN released another report last month about how urgent climate and ecological action is if we are going to have a Livable future.

We need to ask the question: how do we become good ancestors with our investing?

My son at Sunrise on the Georgia Coast / April 2023

We need to be able to see everything that gets excluded (all that we chose not to look at and consider) when we accept the conventional wisdom that public equities and index-like funds should be the largest portion of our asset allocation.

Do we think the past 50 years are the best predictor of the next 50 years in terms of markets and returns?

At what level of irreparable damage to ecosystems, livability for our brothers and sisters, children, and grandchildren? 

Conventional wisdom choses to refocus our gaze on the low cost and historical strong performance of passive index funds.

Over the past two years, we have convened five cohorts of our online, month-long Livable Future Investing workshop.

“The Livable Future Investing Workshop gave me the language of another way of living our mission, utilizing one of the assets we have to disrupt the current system. This experience transformed how I view the potential we have to witness our faith and make it relevant in our times. I am grateful beyond words for the experience of discussing with like minded individuals how to share the goodness.”

Sr. Sue Ernster, President (former Treasurer and CFO), Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration

More than 80 investors from nuns to leaders health care systems to major philanthropies to the largest investment advisors are among recent participants.

We are selecting a special cohort for summer 2023 (sign up by June 6) and then going to begin opening up to individuals (and not just larger investors) in 2024.

“It introduced me to a broad landscape of new investment opportunities that I knew little about before.”

Laurel Cornell, Diocesan treasurer

We put forth a different integration of faith and investing that seeks to defect from the “structures of sin” that continue to isolate us and keep us individualized and focused on our own very near term. We offer frameworks, investment alternatives and case studies that tend toward right relationship and a livable future investing praxis.

Workshops participants leave with a sense that they’re not alone. In fact there are so many of us wrestling with these same deeper questions. The learning groups that start during the workshop month become powerful catalysts for ongoing community and transformative action.

In this season of Passover, Easter, Ramadan, spring, we think about renewal, we call to mind our ancestors from many generations ago, and we looked at the future to think about how we can release ourselves and each other from bondage, and be delivered to the sacred place we hope we might hold in the eyes of our children.

“The workshop was outside my comfort zone but definitely worth the leap. Elizabeth, Felipe, Kelli and Paul create a space of grace and curiosity for all levels no matter where you are on your journey. You don’t see prayer and reflection as components of a financial workshop but they were an integral piece of what made the workshop so transformative for me.”

~Theresa Robinson, Executive Director, Raskob Foundation

We think we can ask better questions, more grounded in our wisdom, lineages, and develop Sabbath and other practices that ground us in what we know from our faith traditions, our spiritual practices, and incorporate that into better questions we ask as we steward our money.

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