In today’s day and age, money talks. Money is the main driver behind the economy and it is needed to fund almost all aspects of life, including community development work. In many communities, money has become the limiting factor for many proposed community development projects. A city’s financial capital is its availability of resources that can be invested in community capacity building, it gives communities the support they need to be able improve themselves. One of the chief ways of building financial capital is through investment—this can be achieved by both public and private investment. Montpelier, Vermont has a large network of private and public institutions that help improve community development efforts through financial support.
Public investment in Montpelier takes a huge role in the city’s downtown revitalization efforts. The municipality’s Department of Planning and Development has set up the Montpelier Business Loan Fund (MBLF) as a way to foster a strong and vibrant downtown area. This fund was created as a way to kick start small businesses that were unable to obtain sufficient funding from commercial lending institutions. This public funding will give the town a good return on its investment by attracting businesses to the area, creating or retaining local jobs and creating jobs for low-income residents.
Private investment is another crucial component of a healthy financial capital stock. Local private investment is a great community development tool because of how it can inspire trust, pride, and local ownership within the community. Two private investment institutions that have improved the lives of Montpelier city residents with financial capital support are the Affordable Homes For a Sustainable Vermont (VHFA) and The Vermont Community Loan Fund. VHFA provides low income Vermonters with financing for affordable housing projects as well as financial support for renting or owning a home. According to the U.S. Census data the per capita income level in Montpelier is $33,082 which means that there are many residents who spend large percentages of their income on housing. One of the VHFA’s main goals is to keep affordable housing options available so that there is an affordable place for everyone to stay. The Vermont Community Loan Fund links local investors to local small businesses to form partnerships that improve the community. When people have ownership in local businesses, they want to see them improve. Partially owning some of the local business gives people incentives to keep money within the community as much as possible, which is great for business and community development.
Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). (n.d.). American FactFinder – Search. Retrieved December 08, 2016, from http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/searchresults.xhtml?refresh=t
Montpelier Business Loan Fund (MBLF) | Montpelier, VT. (n.d.). Retrieved December 08, 2016, from http://www.montpelier-vt.org/285/Montpelier-Business-Loan-Fund-MBLF
VHFA. (2016). Retrieved December 08, 2016, from http://www.vhfa.org/about/vhfa