Investing in our backyards

In Sunday’s Star-Ledger was an article entitled “Investing in their own backyards” which detailed the important role that New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC) was “was formed 20 years ago to help rebuild blighted neighborhoods and gets most of its capital from big corporations, nonprofits and banks.” The article focuses not only on their important work to revitalize communities but also their increased effort to induce more individual investors to join the corporate supporters of NJCC. We certainly commend them for their success over last score of years. As a matter of full disclosure, NJCC has provided us with a line of credit.

This is a portion of the article. To read the full article click here.

Investing in their own backyards
Individuals eschew stocks to help fund urban renewal

Sunday, December 02, 2007

BY BETH FITZGERALD, Newhouse News Service

When Lori Matheus travels through New Jersey on her way to her job in Trenton, she sees her money at work.

It is not in the Fortune 500 companies that dot the landscape; Matheus’ money is invested in the pockets of renewal: new schools, houses, child-care centers, health clinics.

“I get to watch streets come back to life as neighbors fix up their houses — it’s the ripple effect that follows when a nonprofit builds a new house or a new school,” she said.

Matheus is among dozens of investors in New Jersey Community Capital , a nonprofit community development financial institution. NJCC was formed 20 years ago to help rebuild blighted neighborhoods and gets most of its capital from big corporations, nonprofits and banks. In New Jersey and nationwide, these street-savvy financiers want to attract more socially conscious individual investors like Matheus.

Socially responsible investing, such as mutual funds that steer clear of tobacco companies, or seek out environmentally sustainable, “green” businesses, accounted for $2.3 trillion of American’s invested assets in 2005, the most recent year for available figures. The community-focused portion of that pie — which includes NJCC — was $19.6 billion, up from $4 billion in 1995, according to the Social Investment Forum.

Matheus is one of those investors. She knows some of the tangible evidence of inner city change he sees in her travels is the work of NJCC, whose specialty is crafting amazingly complex public/private financing deals.

By investing in NJCC, Matheus keeps a slice of her wealth at work close to home. She earns interest, and while her money isn’t insured as a bank deposit would be, she’s confident her cash is safe: Matheus happens to be the former chief operating officer of Trenton-based NJCC. She’s still doing community redevelopment work in her current job as a vice president of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

To read the full article click here.