Executive Director, The Reinvestment Fund
by Lynn Adler and Jim Mayer
Producers of Faith, Hope and Capital
former community organizer, Jeremy Nowak has built The Reinvestment
Fund into one of the largest loan funds in the country. With the motto:
"Organized money for organized people," the Fund has focused on
helping grassroots community organizations build political strength
as well as new housing and new businesses.
Read a portion
below of our interview or go to a printer-friendly page of the full
did The Reinvestment Fund get started?
JN: In the mid 1980's, actually around 1984, there was a lot of interest
in social investment in this area. I think it was spurred in part by
some efforts to rebuild inner-city neighborhoods that needed capital.
But, it was also spurred in part by the politics around anti-apartheid
work. At that time, when people were thinking about getting corporations
to disinvest resources in South Africa, one of the logical questions
was, if you're going to take money out of some place, where are you
going to put money in? So, the effort to create The Reinvestment Fund
came out of interest by three different kinds of constituencies.
One group was potential investors, people who were looking for vehicles
to put their money in places that fit their values. A second group was
people who were working in the inner-city and trying to figure out how
to get accessible and flexible capital to do development projects, housing
and economic development projects. Finally, there were a lot of people
with technical skills in banking and real estate development and accounting
and law, who were looking for an institutional medium in which to both
express their values and use their skills.
Those three constituencies, the investors, the borrowers, and the technicians,
really were the organizing focus around 1984 and 1985. They came together
and got a small grant from a local Philadelphia foundation to hire someone
to put the organization together. That was me. It took off from there.
Prior to that I had been working as a community organizer in a neighborhood
called Logan, which is in the upper part of North Philadelphia. I had
worked for a few years as a block organizer, organizing blocks around
housing and crime and safety issues, things like that.
Full interview for printout
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