Accustomed to thinking about our responsibility to give a portion of what we have to those in need, we often give to our congregation, charities and other programs which benefit our communities. Seldom do we think about ways to invest our resources to help those in need.
Our economy is fueled by investment. As individuals, our investments—in a home, education or business—affect our ability to develop long-term security. To make these initially important investments in our future, we need credit.
Lack of credit to develop and maintain communities can create a cycle of disinvestment and perpetuate poverty. Without opportunities for ownership, the flow of money through a community cannot create local economic assets or help move individuals out of poverty.
For many people and communities, access may be blocked by institutional barriers such as:
- Race or class
- Cost of borrowing
- Exclusive traditional credit standards
- Financial institutions may no longer even be present
Traditionally, religious institutions responded to community needs through gifts and donations. Often individuals and religious community members control resources which cannot be given away, but could be invested. As stewards we must consider the impact the use of all of our resources can have on those in need. Investing in our communities multiplies the impact of our efforts, and fosters social and economic justice.