Wesleyan Leads the way with $500,000 investment in local communities!

From the Wesleyan University Committee on Investor Responsibility 

MIDDLETOWN, CT - Wesleyan University has transferred $500,000 into banks in Middletown and Bridgeport, CT, becoming one of the first universities in the nation to adopt investment practices designed to support underserved communities.

The university has moved $250,000 into both Liberty Bank (Middletown, CT) and the Community’s Bank (Bridgeport, CT), which were chosen by the Wesleyan Committee for Investor Responsibility (CIR) as the two banks near Wesleyan most committed to serving disadvantaged communities. Wesleyan’s initial investment is one of the largest among the very small group of universities nationwide that have made similar investments. The CIR, in coordination with the Wesleyan Finance Office, hopes to expand upon these initial investments in the future.

Community investment is the fastest growing area of socially responsible investment in the United States. Over the past three years, community investment has grown from $25 billion to $41.7 billion in assets.

Liberty Bank was chosen based on its consistent and strong support for organizations in the surrounding community where many Wesleyan students volunteer. Since 1997 the Liberty Bank Foundation has provided nearly $6 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, such as the Green Street Arts Center, in its service area. In 2011 it won the Robert Haller Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service. This is awarded annually by the Connecticut Commission on Children to an individual or organization that distinguishes itself through its support for the education and well-being of children in the state.

An investment was made in the Community’s Bank based upon its social mission. It is the only bank in Connecticut that is minority owned and is certified by the U.S. Treasury Department as a Community Development Financial Institution. The Community Bank earned perfect scores on both metrics used by the National Community Investment Fund Social Performance Metrics Database, giving it by far the highest ratings in Connecticut.[1]

The CIR hopes that Wesleyan’s initial investment in Liberty Bank and the Community’s Bank will be the start of an ongoing relationship that will continue into the coming years and possibly expand in the future.

[1] http://www.ncif.org/index.php/CDBIindustry/CDFIs/

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