“Local Dough” on the rise: An investment club with a conscience 

This is one of a series of occasional columns from Transition Town – All St. Anthony Park, the neighborhood-based group working for a local response to climate change: a smaller carbon footprint and a stronger community. You can find out more about Transition Town at www.TransitionASAP.org.

By Mindy Keskinen

Putting their dollars to work for local, sustainable enterprises, a dozen area neighbors are launching an investment club they have named Local Dough. 

They will pool their funds at $100 per member per month and meet quarterly to invest it in co-ops and, very likely, in other local regenerative enterprises, including small businesses, startups, and other projects consistent with the goal of a smaller carbon footprint and a stronger community. Newcomers are welcome at Local Dough’s founding meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 31. (See sidebar)

Local Dough is the first spin-off club from Transition Your Money, a subgroup of Transition Town ASAP. Founded by St. Anthony Park residents Sherman Eagles and Pat Thompson, the Transition Your Money group explores options for people who want to keep their money out of fossil fuels and multinational corporations. 

“Even when we invest in socially responsible funds, that money still goes out of our community,” Eagles said. “Let’s find ways to support our local economy, while still making an adequate return on our investment. It’s called ‘patient capital’—we may not get a quick return, but we know our money is helping build a stronger, more resilient community.” 

Local Dough is modeled on the clubs organized by Cooperative Principal (http://thecp.coop), a Minneapolis-based nonprofit. Cooperative Principal outlines some of the advantages of investing with a club:

  • Risk is spread throughout the group
  • Members help each other stay informed
  • Emotional investing is minimized
  • Investing discipline is maintained

Membership in Local Dough can grow to about 30 people, drawn from the “Bugleland” readership areas of St. Anthony Park, Como Park, Falcon Heights, and Lauderdale, and surrounding communities. SAP resident Mindy Keskinen will serve as president for the first year; Mike Blandford of Falcon Heights will be treasurer. 

Neighborhood resources—talent and money

“Here in St. Anthony Park, we have lots of forward-thinking entrepreneurs in the Creative Enterprise Zone,” Thompson said, referring to the economic development initiative in the south St Anthony Park area. “The artisans, artists, and creative professionals here may well offer projects in need of funding. Local Dough will provide a way for them to thrive, while giving neighbors a way to make it possible. And the return isn’t just financial—we can see the projects benefitting our own neighborhood.”

Thompson and Eagles serve on the boards of the Creative Enterprise Zone and the St. Anthony Park Community Council. They hope that Local Dough’s members will bring their own ideas and networks to the group. Learn more at the Transition Your Money webpage, www.TransitionASAP/TransitionYourMoney. 

Mindy Keskinen is a book editor who also coordinates communications for Transition Town ASAP.

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[SIDEBAR]

“Local Dough” investment club:  Founding meeting

Wednesday, Oct.31, 8-9:30 a.m.: Light breakfast provided

2388 W. University Ave., first floor, St. Paul
(at Raymond Avenue, southwest corner)  

Newcomers: Please RSVP by end-of-day Monday, Oct. 29. The group will provide background so you can be an informed participant. Send an email to mindykeskinen@comcast.net.

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