SPECTRUM21 – Fran Seegull on Building a More Equitable Economy Through Community Investment

SOCAP Global June 10, 2021

One of the most powerful ways investors can help make the economy more equitable is by investing in communities, especially marginalized ones, across the country — and around the world. Community investments can help people build financial resiliency at the local level and thrive in the places they live.

At SPECTRUM21 Virtual, Fran Seegull, President of the US Impact Investing Alliance, discussed the USIIA’s new report “Impact in Place: Emerging Sources of Community Investment Capital and Strategies to Direct it at Scale.” Commissioned by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as they considered how to rebuild a more equitable economy post-pandemic, the report aims to both provide an overview of the current state of community investing and spark discussion about what it could look like in the future. Download the report from the NY Fed here.

“Impact investors have a key role to play in ensuring that communities are uplifted as valued and essential stakeholders across the economy,” Seegull said in her session.

While this connection between investing in communities and strengthening the roots of the national economy may seem obvious, Seegull says community investments lag behind where they need to be in order to make real, lasting progress.

“Communities need much more from us as investors,” she said. “There’s a dire need for more risk capital in the market, for example, to shore up the capital structure for community lenders. There’s also a need for better understanding by investors and their wealth advisers on how to invest in the economic success of neighborhoods, rural, tribal, and urban alike.”

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to significantly impact vulnerable populations and with the ongoing racial justice movement, Seegull points out that now is the time for members of the impact economy to commit resources to underserved communities.

“We’re at a rare moment in time where there is a clear and renewed focus on supporting underserved communities in a just and equitable recovery,” she said. “… Now is the time to share and build on the knowledge, tools, and experiences to date. Now is the time to flow more investment cpaital, more officially and with deeper impact. Now is the time to uplift communities as valued and engaged stakeholders.” 

Watch her full session above.

Impact Investing / Place-Based investing
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