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Using financial resources to promote justice

Often, we say that one’s budget reflects one’s values. As the IHM Congregation, we wanted to make sure that the way we used our money reflected not only our needs but our values as well.

In 1979 the IHM congregation formed its Responsible Investment Committee. Together with other faith-based groups, we became pioneers in the use of shareholder advocacy to influence the policies and practices of companies to be more just. 

Like so many of you, the Congregation realized that investing our financial resources to obtain a good return was critical if we were to provide not only for our sisters but to keep our ministries alive. However, profit alone was not sufficient, we wanted to use our resources wisely and in service to our commitment to justice and our responsibility as “share owners” of these companies. 

Over the years, this commitment involved us in dialogue with management, introducing of shareholder resolutions, speaking out at annual meetings, and voting company proxies. It spurred us to develop socially responsible guidelines for our investment managers to use when choosing stocks for us. 

In addition, we developed alternative investment policies, providing low-interest, long-term loans, to those enterprises that promote economic development in depressed communities and are led by women and persons of color. 

What was seen as a ‘risky investment’ at first, socially responsible investing is now an acceptable and profitable practice.

We hope that by sharing what the IHMs are doing you will see how you, too, can use your financial resources in the service of justice. 

Please keep reading and see what we are doing in these areas: