As part of our work to build a bridge between the worlds of finance and social justice, we provide a variety of trainings that support social change agents seeking to engage with finance, from holding capital accountable to starting their own community-controlled capital funds.
Trainings have ranged from an introduction to the world of finance and how it can be used as a tool for movements, to workshops on specific topics, such as the intersection of finance and climate justice. We have also led place-based trainings for groups that have a direct opportunity to propose or influence capital flows in their communities and workshops for groups seeking to aggregate, invest, and govern capital for real, transformative social change.
Our flagship training, the Institute for Social Justice Leaders, is a radical re-imagining of the relationship between communities and the financial system. The Institute is an onboarding learning experience aimed at practitioners less familiar with the world of finance and curious about the possibility to shape it. A multi-day in-person training, the Institute is combined with hands-on engagement and materials before and after. Participants learn how capital works, explore its relationship with communities, and imagine what it could do instead if grassroots leaders and activists were at the helm. The Institute is relevant for everyone working towards social change – irrespective of their field – with participants coming from a myriad of different backgrounds. Over the last four years, the Institute has brought together over 130 leaders – 70% of which have been people of color.
Open Call: Bring the Institute to Your Community
Based on growing demand for inclusive, community-centered approaches to capital, we are taking our Institute to six cities across the country. We are looking for local champions to partner with who have convening power in their communities and/or resources to help us bring the Institute to their community.
Place-Based Impact Investing
OAKLAND - In 2016 and 2018, we led workshops for Democratizing Capital East Bay (DCEB), a grassroots collaborative in Oakland, California. DCEB was formed to support communities in the East Bay help govern a professionally managed community capital fund, which will provide local enterprises patient and flexible capital that meet social justice standards. Through the trainings, participants learned about the East Bay’s capital gap, the structure of a capital fund, and how a fund could support their movement work.
BOSTON - In 2017, in partnership with BALLE, the Boston Ujima Project, and Solidago Foundation, we convened more than 30 practitioners in the Boston area to teach them how investors build portfolios using traditional methods of debt and equity, why underserved communities aren’t benefiting from the status quo, and what investors, fund managers, and social justice leaders can do to help align capital with the needs of a community.
CLIMATE JUSTICE - In 2016, we created an original curriculum for grantees of the Kresge Foundation’s climate justice program, focusing on finance’s influence on climate justice. Topics included an overview of main financial actors with power over climate injustice, financial mechanisms that foster community voice and ownership over climate solutions, and ways in which non-profits can hold investing institutions accountable for a just transition.
HAITI - In 2016, we worked with local partners in Haiti to develop a curriculum for a group of non-profit social entrepreneurs. Highlighting the failures of development aid and efforts to promote businesses through private capital, the training explored alternative financing mechanisms, how organizations could absorb capital, and how to navigate the impact investing world given their local context and specific strategies.
BRAZIL – In May 2018, we traveled to Sao Paulo to administer an abbreviated version of our flagship Institute. Adapting to the Brazilian context, the workshop introduced participants to transformative finance and how they can use it to fuel their social justice work.
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For inquiries, please email Eric Horvath, Program Manager for Community & Social Justice Partnerships, at firstname.lastname@example.org.