In our 20 years of lending, we have funded projects ranging from craft co-ops in the developing world to a dozen new businesses in an impoverished city near our office. We have invested in amazing successes and some failures. We are very involved with whom and what we fund.
Our bottom line is finding long-term solutions to poverty. We look for businesses that offer ripple effects and strengthen those around them. We are about building community and communities.
Our lending has evolved with our knowledge of climate change. We now look for businesses designed with the earth as a major stakeholder. We especially like businesses that engage climate change directly, such as the Intertribal COUP that partners with NativeEnergy and others to build wind farms on Indian reservations.
Fair Trade is a favorite model because of its holistic approach to development. The guaranteed price of goods to producers is but one of many factors. We like that children go to school, animal habitats are rebuilt, land is farmed sustainably, women are part of decision making, and the list goes on.
Since we are small and have a limited budget, we can afford to be choosy. Therefore, to get the most for our money, we look for trailblazers (who make trails thoughtfully)!