A Different Kind Community Investment at Seattle University Engages Students

Written by Maura Rendes, Northwest Student Organizer

The Seattle University Committee on Responsible Investment has successfully proposed a unique form of Community Investment, which allows for students to be involved in a micro-financing process right here in the Central District of Seattle, where the University is located. The administration has agreed to move $100,000 from the operating budget to a local micro-enterprise firm, called Community Capital Development (CCD), with the understanding that the project will be reevaluated in 5 years minimum and ideally matched with funds from the endowment in the future.

CCD is a consortium of three 501(C)-(3) non-profits one of which is the Seattle Economic Development Fund (SEDF), a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). The CCD provides economic self-sufficiency and job creation through entrepreneurial development and access to capital in the form of micro-loans (greater than or equal to $35,000).

CCD has offered an internship program to be partnered with SU’s Microenterprise Program within the Entrepreneurship Center that will allow students to disperse the $100,000 themselves with the guidance of senior loan officers at CCD, permitting them to later guide and oversee the recipients of the loans and create relationships with the targeted minority and women-owned businesses as well as with the CCD itself.

The project is unique in that the organization itself is not insured by the FDIC, as REC typically recommends for Community Investment projects, however the administration sees the program as a perfect fit for SU and is happy to make the contribution because it so closely parallels our mission, and will have a direct impact on our neighborhood community. Seattle University is happy to share ideas and strategies with anyone interested. Please contact Maura Rendes at maura@endowmentethics.org

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