There’s a refrain we’ve been hearing recently at gatherings of community organizers: “Nothing about us without us is for us.”
While these words echo a centuries-old Latin slogan (“nihil de nobis, sine nobis”), they reflect a profound truth as relevant today as it has ever been. Their meaning is something like this: “Don’t try to solve our community’s problems for us. We understand our problems and their solutions better than anyone. We simply lack the resources and tools to solve our problems. You can help us by providing those resources and tools.”
The distinction is subtle, yet critically important. It’s about community empowerment.
In the world of impact investing, wealthy (yet conscientious) investors and institutions seek to invest in ways that help to improve the plight of others, typically while still making a good return on their investment.
And while this type of impact investment is certainly a good thing, the “impact” too often addresses the effects of underlying systemic problems without addressing the underlying problems in any meaningful way. By continuing to concentrate wealth (and reinforce the class distinctions between the haves and the have-nots), this type of impact investing could even exacerbate the very problems they seek to remedy. […]
The full and original article can be viewed on Locavesting.com
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