Friday, January 19, 2007

Social investing as religion

Phil Cubeta over at GiftHub has deemed me the "high priestess of [the social investing] jihad." This is quite an honor for a somewhat-observant Jew who learned everything I know on this topic from Jed Emerson.

As I commented to Phil, the issue of foundation investing and grantmaking is, to me, all about values. A foundation's grants are value-laden. Their investments are also value-laden. The issue behind the issue of social investing is values alignment - using your investment dollars in ways that reflect the same values as the grants. Consistency - or at least, considered hypocrisy - strikes me as a basic step.

Here's the irony. Conservatives tag social investing as a progressive thing. It isn't - its a values and consistency thing.

How do I know this? Bill Schambra at The Bradley Center of The Hudson Institute just asked me (and Allison Fine) to be on a panel about social investing, to which he also will be inviting (his words) "some conservative free market type who doesn't believe in social investing." (February 12, 12 - 2, Washington, DC)

The thing is, free market investing is RIGHT IN LINE with the values of "conservative, free market types." They invest in line with their values which are in line with their grants. For progressives, middle-of-the-roaders, Christians, Arabs, non-smokers, smokers, whoever - the issue is about recognizing the values behind your decisions and making them as consistent as possible - across your organization.

More of my response to Phil is here.

And don't forget - tell the world what you think about social investing and foundations - Take the Poll - Philanthropy 2173

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