Capital for Community ... What?


Since Making Waves published its first special edition, "Development Finance," in 1998, the markets where capital is exchanged for a variety of financial, social, and environmental returns have grown or multiplied. Yet the growth of CED and social economy remains stymied.

In part, it's the old "Chicken and Egg" problem. Community capacity needs investment to grow, but the large sums that investors prefer to put up most community-based organizations have not the capacity to manage. Which comes first? The record also indicates that progress awaits the engagement of government and a far greater determination by community sector players to connect with others. Successes to date, inside and outside Canada, have arisen from capacity built over time, fed and expanded by public policy and programs designed in consultation with practitioners and researchers from the community sector. Essential to these successes has also been an articulation and co-ordination of diverse types of capacity, despite differences of location, sector, or organization.

That said, the sector simply may be misled in its efforts to accommodate the needs and desires of large-scale investors. Their mission, in whole or in part, is to maximize financial return to shareholders. Our should be to capitalize the transition of communities to a low carbon, environmentally sustainable future, a task that cannot be reconciled with the growth imperative and its primary mechanism, compound interest.

It's Not Growth Or Revitalization We Have To Capitalize, But Transformation
Lewis, Michael
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