March 5 – The Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region knows that Millennials want to be investors and philanthropists – there’s just a lot that gets in their way: student loan debt, credit card debt, unemployment, shrinking wages. On March 10, the Community Loan Fund, in partnership with Simmons Capital Group, will present a free workshop, “Financial Planning: 5 Tips for Emerging Investors.” The workshop will be a fun primer for emerging investors to learn about first steps that will set them up for later financial success.
The workshop will also introduce impact investing, a topic that’s proven to be important to Millennials. In fact, studies have consistently shown Millennials are more concerned with social responsibility and philanthropy than previous generations.
According to a study conducted by fundraising firm Blackbaud, a larger percentage of Millennials give to charitable organizations than other generations; 84% of Millennials donate to causes and charities, as opposed to 72% of Baby Boomers or 59% of Generation X. Moreover, even though Millennials don’t always have extra cash, they are still contributing through donated clothes, food, supplies and volunteering their time, demonstrating that their inclination to give is strong. And according to Spectrum Group, Millennials and Gen X investors are more concerned about socially responsible investing than previous generations.
To meet emerging needs and engage this new generation of impact investors, the Community Loan Fund launched the Emerging Investors Network. The Emerging Investors Network allows investors to make monthly installments of $100 to reach the minimum $1000 investment in the Community Loan Fund. Investments, in turn are lent to minority and women-owned businesses and local nonprofits who build affordable housing and support vital community services.
The program also offers financial education, like the upcoming March 10 workshop, plus opportunities to meet Loan Fund borrowers and witness first-hand the difference their investment is making in the local community.
“I choose to invest in the Community Loan Fund Emerging Investors Network because I saw it as a pathway to allow fellow community members to support one another in a way that was accessible and meaningful. Community Loan Fund has provided a way to let local community members support each other. It’s neighbors investing in neighbors,” says Gabriella Cebada Mora. “I was looking for a constructive and impactful way to support and bolster local business, local entrepreneurs, local community and I found that through the Community Loan Fund’s Emerging Investors.”
Cebada Mora says that she appreciates the way that the organization “creates spaces that let local people contribute in the ways they can, be it donation or entrepreneurial endeavors, to ensure equal access and opportunity for all.” That is what it takes to build a strong, resilient and inclusive community, she says.
“The Emerging Investors Network is helping us make impact investing more accessible. This program has not only helped young investors get started, it’s made it possible for church groups and community organizations to band together to make investments in our organization,” says Linda MacFarlane, Executive Director of the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region.
Beloved Community began their investment through the Emerging Investors Network last year with 11 of their members. “We are an anti-racist group and we wanted to support people of color in their entrepreneurial pursuits. When we learned that at least 59% of Community Loan Fund borrowers are people of color, we decided we wanted to help with that effort,” says Fredda Peritz, a member of Beloved Community. They are so pleased with the results of their investment that they are renewing their commitment again this year, and collectively investing another $1,000, Peritz says.
All investments are repaid, with interest. Dividends range from 0.50% to 1.75%, depending on the term of the investment. But the biggest incentive for investors has been the desire to give back to their local community and be part of neighborhood revitalization activities.
“The Community Loan Fund’s growing number of investors – over 300 individuals and community groups – enjoy a 100% repayment rate, but more importantly, they can feel good about the fact that their investments are delivering impressive social returns,” says MacFarlane. “Their money is being reinvested right in the communities where they live.”
“Financial Planning: 5 Tips for Emerging Investors” will take place on March 10 from 6pm-8pm at Bard & Baker Board Game Café on Broadway in Troy, with free games and refreshments provided. This is not a typical financial planning workshop!
“In my work with younger, millennial investors, I am consistently shocked at the confusion around even the most basic aspects of managing money. Confusion regarding how to pay down debt, save for retirement and balance a desire to be generous with being financially responsible are some of the most common questions that I get asked,” says Darren Leader, Director of Research & Financial Planning for Simmons Capital Group in Halfmoon. “That is why I love speaking to young people about these things and providing practical tips and ideas to help them get onto the right path.”