Students across the country are organizing for our universities to Move Our Money: Invest our endowment in community banks and credit unions!
Investing directly in CDFIs (Community Development Financial Institutions – like community banks and credit unions), instead of universities running their own “community investment” programs, avoids problems such as gentrification.
- Prisons: Wells Fargo provides a $785 million credit line to the country’s largest private prison company. Wells Fargo also gives money to lobbyists who lobby for policies that lock up more immigrants in jail.
- Foreclosures: There were 3,920,418 foreclosures in 2011.
- Mountaintop Removal: UBS acted as an advisor on the Massey-Alpha combination deal, which created the largest single mountaintop remover in the country, responsible for a full 25% of coal production from mountaintop removal mines. CitiBank, PNC, and Bank of America also profit from mountaintop removal.
- Divest Now: There have been calls for divestment from big banks involved in the private prison industry, mountaintop coal removal, and home foreclosures.
- Victory: Student-run campaigns at Macalester, Seattle U, Tufts, Wesleyan, and UChicago have resulted in money being moved into community banks and credit unions. At UChicago $1 million was moved!
- Homes: Community banks and credit unions invest in affordable housing. They provide mortgages at fair rates and also teach financial literacy.
- Worker-owners: Community banks and credit unions make fair-rate loans for folks wanting to grow a business – including loans to worker-owned cooperatives and loans for green technology upgrades.
- Local economies: When we invest in community banks and credit unions, money stays in our community…and multiplies! According to CDFI Fund, putting your money in a local bank draws other capital 10:1. For every $1 million your school invests, it leverages $10 million total for housing and job.
- Risk & Return: Community banks and credit unions have the same risk and return as big banks. Up to $250,000 in deposits are insured by the FDIC, and up to $50 million is insured through CDARS.
Our Endowment. Our Responsibility. Our Power.
Yet, we are all part of this. The bad banks are luring young people into credit cards with high interest rates and profiting off of student debt. In organizing for our universities to Move Our Money, students are demanding an economy that guarantees young people a future. By changing the endowment model of investing, we change the world by reshaping how investors invest.
We know you’re probably thinking, “This is awesome. I want in!”
There’s a few things you can do to start a Move Our Money campaign on your campus:
- Get in the loop! Email us to sign up for campaign updates. We can also email or snail mail other resources like our Move Our Money Toolkit.
- Learn from your neighbors. Ask professors and friends if they know of any local community groups doing work around issues like the housing crisis, prisons, or environmental justice. Go to a community meeting and listen to your neighbors. How is your university’s endowment is connected to those issues? What can you and your friends do about it?
- Imagine. Have a visioning session with your closest buddies. On one sheet of paper draw the things you know or believe your school is currently invested in. On the other sheet… draw the world you dream. What should your school invest in?
- Organize! Start a petition asking your university to invest 2% of its endowment in community banks and credit unions.