Investing for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In honor of July 4th, I am sharing a few ways we can use our investments to fight for our unalienable rights.
While the founding fathers may not have agreed, I don’t think they could have foreseen the loss of lives that we now experience on a daily basis. As concerned citizens and as investors, we can stop supporting violence by divesting from weapons and firearms. You might not be aware that if you own mutual funds or ETFs, you are likely invested in companies that manufacture or sell guns, firearms, and ammunition. Many of the large fund families have invested billions into weapon stocks. Similarly, many of the large banks finance the gun industry and even make political contributions to NRA-backed lawmakers. To see if you are invested in companies that are profiting from violence and mass shootings you can use As You Sow’s Invest Your Values Tool, which you can find online at weaponfreefunds.org and gunfreefunds.org. To see if your bank might be funding the gun industry you can use the website isyourbankloaded.org.
Freedom is defined as the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. When we invest in funds like the Adasina Social Justice ETF, we are investing in a bridge between financial markets and social justice movements. Adasina mobilizes investors to drive long-term impact through industry campaigns and education. Adasina works with social justice organizations, including American Friends Service Committee, Poor People’s Campaign, Color of Change, Race Forward, and Project on Predatory Student Lending. Together they have developed the Adasina Social Justice Investment Criteria—a data-driven set of standards that guides their investment strategies to reflect social justice values and advance progressive movements for change. The fund excludes companies involved in prisons, immigrant detention, surveillance, and money bail involvement among others.
The Pursuit of Happiness
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “America is another name for opportunity.” It seems that we have forgotten that opportunity is not something that is only available to a select few. Opportunity is a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something-possible for everyone. As investors we can use our money to provide equal access to opportunities. Capital Impact Partners is one example of such an investment. Capital Impact Partners helps people build communities of opportunity that break barriers to success. As a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) they provide strategic financing, social innovation programs, and capacity building that creates social change and delivers financial impact nationwide. They finance projects that help ensure access to high-quality health care and education, healthy foods, inclusive housing, co-op development and innovative aging solutions. Through their partnership development, policy engagement, and capacity building efforts they work to ensure communities are engaged and solutions are sustainable.
We often forget the power that our investments hold. Where we invest and what we choose to invest in is a statement of what we support. How lucky we are to even be in a position to invest, and to be able to use our investments to fight for a country that we are proud of, to protect our rights, and to provide opportunity for all.
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves”-Abraham Lincoln