“Shifting Power through Place-Based, Community-Governed Investments”


Online March 23, 2022 10:55 am - 11:40 am

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Andrea Armeni
Aditi Vaidya
Aaron Tanaka

Redefining who controls investment decisions is a core component of shifting power – one that mission-aligned investors and philanthropic actors are poised to support.

Decades of past efforts to achieve economic self-determination have led to new approaches to building power that center organizing and grassroots voices in the initiation, design, and governance of community investment. These approaches seek to counter the top-down decision making models that remain prevalent, tapping into the current reckoning with power and the roles of philanthropy, which has developed in response to current economic and public health crises and racial injustice.

In this session, presenters Andrea Armeni, executive director of Transform Finance, Aditi Vaidya, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Aaron Tanaka, executive director of Center for Economic Democracy will showcase community engaged approaches – ranging from direct democratic voting over investments to having community representatives on boards – and their potential to create social change. They will highlight concrete examples of collaborations between communities, philanthropic institutions, and other investors, and touch on research and action that is informing innovative thinking among grassroots leaders, funders, and investors.