By Pat Thompson
The Transition Town—All St. Anthony Park group began talking about community investing six years ago asking: Why is our local economy a climate issue?
The answer is because, as TT-ASAP’s motto says, we work for both a smaller footprint and a stronger community. That second part means that an interdependent, resource-sharing community has greater resilience in the face of climate change.
Economic resilience is a major part of that, as we’ve all experienced supply chain shocks in recent years.
Investing in clean energy instead of fossil fuels is an obvious part of climate resilience. But so is investing in local businesses we all need.
It can also mean investing in our food supply: farmers who grow what we eat here; or investing in more equitable ownership of commercial buildings for small business to rent, so real estate wealth is not sent away to faceless investors in other states or countries. We own them here, together.
All of this also requires figuring out how to free up our savings to make those investments, when our country’s financial structures are built to send our money away from here.
How can we do that?
Are you interested in:
• Supporting and even owning part of Main Street rather than Wall Street?
• Investing in renewable energy instead of fossil fuels?
• Keeping your money here to build a more equitable Minnesota?
Find out at a free evening session on Wednesday, Sept. 20, called “Investing for the Next Economy” (see sidebar for details). This introduction is for everyone. No financial background is needed, and nothing specific is being sold. Our panelists will give an overview of:
• A framework for thinking about local and sustainable investing.
• Ways to invest in renewable energy, and recent changes that make it more possible.
• Efforts to foster cooperatively- owned real estate in St. Paul.
About the panelists
Rebecca Blumenshine is the creator of Both/And Finance, which provides education on the intersection of personal and community finance. Through it, she works to support the growing movement to build economies that actually work for people and our ecosystems.
Rebecca has held jobs in corporate finance, grassroots nonprofit fundraising and public policy analysis. She has master’s degrees in public policy and business administration.
Jeremy Kalin is lead attorney in the Impact Counsel practice at Avisen Law. “My life work is mobilizing capital for the public good—from deep sustainability to social enterprise to public investment,” he says.
Kalin brings expertise in leveraging the federal Inflation Reduction Act and was recently involved in passage of the Minnesota Climate Innovation Finance Authority (our state’s version of a Green Bank).
In the past, Kalin chaired a White House task force on clean energy, climate policy and investment. He also founded a clean energy financing business and served in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Nkuli Shongwe is director of community wealth building at Nexus Community Partners and board vice chair for locally-based Taproot Investment Cooperative. At Nexus, she supports creation of cooperatively-owned BIPOC (Black Indigenous and People of Color) businesses.
Through Taproot, she is working with neighbors in and around St. Anthony Park to create community ownership of commercial real estate, replacing out-of-state speculative investors who drive up rents. Taproot focuses on the area of the Creative Enterprise Zone: south St. Anthony Park and the west edge of Midway.
There will be time for questions, and light refreshments will be served. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. with information-sharing from local investing organizations.
Pat Thompson helped found Transition Your Money, part of TT-ASAP, in 2017. She spends a lot of time thinking about plants, land use and sustainable transportation.
Investing for the Next Economy
Wednesday, Sept. 20
6:30 to 8:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:15 p.m.)
St. Anthony Park Library community room
2245 Como Ave., St. Paul