The Spiritual Growth of Wealth Redistribution

A Millennial's Look at Money and Equality
Feb 13, 2019 10:05 AM ET

by Kate Poole, Investment Advisor, Natural Investments

After studying Buddhist economics, and working at Schumacher Center to learn more about local economics, I got involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement. I was fired up, and I was also a member of the Top 1%I began to feel urgency around understanding my family’s wealth, my own wealth, and shifting my investments into alignment with my values. I wanted to move money off of Wall Street onto Main Street, and I was learning how to do that through my work doing research for local investing visionary Michael Shuman.

Local investing was an important shift for me. I began to build strong, transparent relationships with entrepreneurs. I saw how the structure of the loan shaped the financial reality of the borrower, and had the power to shift the economic reality of marginalized communities and entrepreneurs. I also noticed that when I went to local investing conferences and meetings, I saw mostly white, wealthy investors lending money to white, class-privileged entrepreneurs. I was reaching some entrepreneurs of color in my networks, but it seemed like my lending wasn’t redistributing wealth or power.

Around that time, I attended my first Resource Generation conference. Resource Generation is a powerful organization bringing together young people with wealth to work towards the equitable distribution of land, wealth, and power. I began to understand that my decisions about how to move the money I inherited could be a part of a broader movement, a movement that could build power for marginalized communities, fund grassroots organizing, and resource the emerging solidarity economy.

What Does an Investment Portfolio that Centers on Wealth Redistribution Actually Look Like?

There are so many ways we talk about aligning our investments with our values. I often talk about being in the impact investing space because I believe in the power of moving investments out of public equities and into direct investments. I also am a practitioner of Integrated Capital, an approach developed by Leslie Christian, Joel Solomon, and RSF Social Finance, that includes using diverse forms of capital (including giving and investing) to address injustices and imbalances in our economy. After ten years of researching and experimenting with values-aligned investing, I realized I could do my most powerful work as an investment advisor. Tiffany Brown and I co-founded Chordata Capital, and joined the Natural Investments team. Together we’ve developed a backbone to our investing and advising work that includes an explicit commitment to racial and economic justice, accountability and shared risk-taking, and bringing an embodied, spacious approach.

Tiffany and I build investment portfolios that center on racial and economic justice. We know poor people are the real experts on poverty, black activists are experts on anti-black racism, and any attempt to solve a social problem must be shaped and guided by those affected. Racial and economic justice requires wealth redistribution, including a commitment to both building wealth in black, brown, poor, and immigrant communities and a commitment to ending wealth accumulation and hoarding in white, wealthy communities. Closing the racial wealth divide isn’t simply about lending money to people of color (POC) entrepreneurs. It includes white wealthy people choosing to give more money away and invest it in ways that decrease their total wealth over time. Closing the racial wealth divide requires wealthy people to support the infrastructure that grassroots movements for racial and economic justice were building to set up and run community-controlled loan funds. 

Advice for other Millennials About Money

Thinking about and talking about money has a huge impact on how we understand ourselves, our families and our relationships. My advice to millennials about money is to find spiritual and embodiment practices that support you as you navigate financial conversations and decisions. Those personal practices can serve as a foundation for working in community to do transformational money work. My practices are rooted in community and relationship. 

Read Kate's full article with lots of resources here -  

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