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How to fund good things in an arid capital climate, Zeriscape
Financing; natural water flow
It has four parts
A lending club,
A pooled donor advised fun
A giving circle
A kids community savings bond
A lending club
For deals that don’t make sense to do as convertible
debt, heading to venture equity.
For good deals, but things the community needs, with
an emphasis on nature based businesses
It would adopt the Kiva Zip project, already in place in
town; zero interest loans to micro businesses, like Kiva,
in our town. Borrowers vetted by a local service
Further democratization of funding in an arid capital
Donor advised fund pool
The DAF can do loans or equity (probably mostly
loans) but the individuals make the loan a donation
through a donor advised fund (we’d use Impact Assets)
and get the deduction. Then the money is paid back or
capital returned to the DAF and the group gets to invest
again. Eventually, the money earned is given away at
the group’s decision.
Not all members have to participate in every deal.
Groups that meet regularly and trust each other, from
book clubs to Riverkeepers to Sunday School classes
meet and one member gets to present a cause to give
to each month. The sponsor of each cause keeps the
group up on the progress of the group that got the
donation. There is a software platform to support this
dynamic that is functioning I would propose we would
use to start.
Kids savings bonds
This is the only slightly original idea.
Kids save each week, say $1, take it to school and put it in a
little manila envelope with a red button closed with a string.
Instead of saving $18 and getting a $25 savings bond at
maturity, they invest in a local project, involving kids and/or
their local community and environment (river keeper scouts,
For first graders, it matures in 12 years, but they are
involved in the project they invest in (river restoration in a
poor neighborhood, eg.) during that 12 years.
Together the four elements offer a variety of ways for
churches to get involved, from giving, to donating and
then investing, to outright investing.
And they provide a way for kids to get involved and
learn, and for the adults to learn from the kids; they
would do due diligence, assisted by an adult on
projects each year, as I see it, though ideally some
projects would be 12 year timeline projects with enough
variety to make them interesting.
This model would be replicable in a lot of towns, and I
think might scale downward in Burnsville, with Juanita
Brown of World Café fame leading the way. She wants
to try and she’s great to work with.
It might need a local CDFI or other community
organization to help administer the package.
It would require a full time staffer, a Jane Hatley type,
who would thrive in a more flexible atmosphere
Seven percent is what Kiva gets for tips; seven percent
would be a good local operating budget for this
package of DIY local merchant banking tools.