Community based organizations (CBO’s) are vital in restoring poor neighborhoods and promoting equal opportunities. Often, classism plays into the opportunities that community members have access to. Discriminatory practices like redlining from the 1930’s have carried out from generation to generation, causing a deep rooted inequality regarding an individual’s finances. Many CBO’s are working to combat this issue and shift the paradigm in which a person’s income determines their access to things like loans and mortgages. CBO’s regarding the financial sector invest in community members and believe they all have something to offer no matter how small.
These institutions are still driven by profits, but with the constraint that they reinvest the financial capital in the places that provided the resources in the first place. In other words, they attempt to create a balance between economic and social objectives of investing (Green & Haines, 2012).
The CBO, Community Capital Fund, located in Bridgeport, Connecticut, is striving to do just that, balancing between the economic and social objectives of investing with the community’s best interest. The Community Capital Fund offers small housing and business loans and facilitates the flow of capital into projects that benefit low and moderate income people. This is an example of how a community can invest in itself. Although these may be smaller loans with smaller returns, in the long run, there is a wider, more constant stream of money, which proves to be more sustainable for the community. Through this asset-based approach, community members invest in each other and cause a circulation of money that benefits all. So far the Community Capital Fund has facilitated 211 loans totaling $35,345,200 since 2005.
Community Capital Fund. (2013). http://www.commcap.org/about/mission.html
Green, G. P., & Haines, A. (2012). Asset building & community development. Los Angeles, Calif.: SAGE.