Occupy Wall Street demonstrations Occupy Wall Street demonstrations - photo by Flickr user Jessica Lehrman

Occupy Wall Street demonstrations Occupy Wall Street demonstrations - photo by Flickr user Jessica Lehrman

Why are our schools putting their money on Wall Street instead of where it’s most needed?

Student activists across the country are breaking up with the big banks and bringing community investment to their campuses. By joining this national movement, you have the power to ensure that your university supports and engages with its community in socially positive and environmentally sustainable ways—while simultaneously sending a strong message that your school does not support the practices of the national banks whose irresponsible and exploitative practices contributed to the financial crisis.

When we say “community investment,” we mean moving money out of big banks and putting into community development financial institutions (CDFIs). This isn’t charity, and it’s not a top-down mandate – it’s about economic empowerment in a democratic, transparent way, from the ground up. Big banks can take your money and use it to finance mountaintop removal coal mining, risky investments in derivatives, high fees on credit cards, and predatory loans to low-income people.  But CDFIs have missions to lend capital to local individuals and groups who want to improve their communities in socially positive and environmentally sustainable ways. By focusing on affordable housing, small business creation, development of community facilities, empowerment of women and minorities, and providing financial services to under-served populations, community investment addresses many challenges facing many communities in the U.S.—including urban decay, rural poverty, disenfranchisement, extreme economic disparities, unemployment, and declining public health. When universities engage with CDFIs, they use their massive resources to create positive change in local communities without distorting those communities into gentrified, homogenous enclaves.

Over the past decade, while the big banks have been faltering, defrauding, and getting bailed out, community investment has grown from a $4 billion dollar industry to a $25 billion industry. Some universities have taken notice, but most have not – simply because nobody has yet stood up and demanded that it be so.

We hope that this website can be a resource for you in making bank divestment and/or community investment happen at your school. Take a look around at our different sections:

How To Get Started >>   Frequently Asked Questions >>   Success Stories >>   Connect With Us >>


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