RSF Social Finance Monthly -- April 2012

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RSF Social Finance Monthly -- April 2012

Alternatives to Wall Street Investing, Growing Health in Hawaii, and More on Social Enterprise
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Creating Alternatives to Wall Street Investing, Growing Health in Hawaii, & Money Moving Faster Than Thinking?


In this month's issue, Don Shaffer writes on creating alternatives to Wall Street investing & expounds on RSF's decision to divest of public equities. Then, read about social enterprises making a splash, including RSF's newest borrower, Hana Health, which provides medical services and healthy foods in remote Hawaii. Finally, in a provoking thought piece, John Bloom asks "What happens when money moves faster than thinking?"

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - 3:00pm

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What's Next for Global Stock Markets?

by Don Shaffer

Once again, we are faced with a “computer glitch” or “technical blip” in the increasingly volatile world of high frequency stock trading.

On Friday, BATS Global Markets, operator of a relatively new stock exchange that has captured 11% of all U.S. trading activity, was forced to withdraw its own IPO and refund all investors because its system crashed in the middle of the first day of trading.

Not only was its own stock offering wiped out, but trading of Apple shares was also halted on its system Friday due to the software problem.


At RSF, we came to the conclusion 18 months ago, with a few thoughtful exceptions, that we could no longer own shares in publicly-traded stocks due to the fact that no one can seem to get a grip on what’s going on with our financial system.  We are in the middle of a strategy to invest all of our assets in a way that is “as direct as possible”.  You can think of it as “off-the-grid” investing. For the full post, click here.

RSF Makes a Loan to Hana Health!

RSF Social Finance (RSF) is proud to announce a new loan to Hana Health (HH), the only healthcare provider in a 233 square mile area of Maui, Hawaii. Hana Health’s mission is to improve the health of its constituents through social, economic, educational, and agricultural programs.

Hana Health provides general, emergency, and preventive medical and dental services, and also operates Hana Fresh Farms, an organic fruit and vegetable business, with after school wellness programs, a lunch program for seniors, and physical fitness classes. On six acres of contiguous land, the farm grows over 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables and sells them directly to the community six days a week. Hana Health’s activities promote a local and sustainable food system that creates jobs, builds community, and prevents illness.

For the full story, please click here.

Social Enterprise Roundup

On the heels of California’s passage of Benefit Corporation legislation, which provides legal status for social enterprises, ‘companies with a conscious’ have been making a splash in the news in recent weeks. Here’s a recap:

Revolution Foods, a new-again RSF borrower, made Fast Company’s list of Rockstars of the New Economy which names six companies that are growing rapidly while doing good. Revolution Foods, which serves healthy school lunches to kids, has dished out over 30 million affordable meals to public school students since 2006. The company was also one of Fast Company‘s 10 Most Innovative Companies in Food for 2012.

Also in Fast Company, Mary Waldner, founder and namesake of gluten-free organic snack company Mary’s Gone Crackers (MGC), expounds on “how hungry our culture is for the kind of integrity and transparency [MGC] has offered.”

In a six-page spread in Boston Magazine, Nicole Bernard Dawes of Late July speaks about her passion for making good chips, the trials of garnering financing while preserving values, and more. She says, “My little part in this whole thing is to try to educate people about organic through their taste buds.”

And, on what the Benefit Corporation Legislation means, “I could see 10 percent of the entire economy of California being benefit corporations and the economic output that comes from those benefit corporations within the next 10 years,” says RSF President & CEO Don Shaffer.  “It would be great to exceed that. I actually think that might be a conservative goal as people’s consciousness and awareness is shifting very rapidly right now.”

It sure seems that way! Read more in this story recently published by our friends at the Social Venture Network.

Growing Gardens, Cultivating Community

By Ellie Lanphier

“We envision inspired people joining together to actively replenish their environment, their community and themselves. We believe in the power of people to co-create harmony between land, water and all living things for generations to come.” – 2011 RSF Seed Fund Grantee, Growing Gardens.

For their Boulder, Colorado community, Growing Gardens provides an incredible array of services. All of their programs are developed with the goal of strengthening connections community members have with plants, land and each other. They operate a neighborhood composting program, a large network of community garden plots, and a horticulture therapy program for seniors and people with disabilities. With a strong focus on the youth community of Boulder, they serve this population through a youth summer camp, classroom visits and educational fieldtrip opportunities for local schools. The Children’s Peace Garden, an educational garden dedicated to 4-10 year olds, teaches the nutritional significance of vegetables, the basics of organic gardening and connects the dots between the food we eat and where it comes from.

To read the full post on our blog, click here.

A Mercurial View of Capital and Spirit

by John Bloom

I breathe the world in and out, and work on and in the world. I depend upon interdependence. In this sense I am connected to the peasant farmer, the Wall Street banker, the public school teacher, the factory worker, and the town clerk. I am part of all those lives because while I do my work, they do theirs. I make others’ work possible as they make mine. This economic rhythm, this systolic-diastolic pulsing, is what creates the currency of capital, sometimes in the form of cash, sometimes in the form of equity, sometimes in the form of debt, sometimes in the form of gift.

To read the full post on our blog, click here.

Upcoming Events

April 11 - Dollars to Deeds, Chicago, IL
April 17 - Transforming Culture, Rudolf Steiner's Vision in Action, New Orleans, LA
April 19-20 - Food Hub Convening, Chicago, IL
April 19-22 - SVN Annual Gathering, Stevenson, WA
April 22-24, Investors' Circle Venture Fair, San Francisco, CA
April 23-25, GIIN Investors' Council Meeting, New York, NY
April 27, (B)enefit Corporations West Coast Forum, San Francisco, CA
May 5-10, PRI Makers + More for Mission, Seattle, WA
May 9-11,  Social Venture Institute, Vancouver, BC
May 15-18, 10th Annual BALLE Conference, Grand Rapids, MI


Keywords: Finance & Socially Responsible Investment | Business & Trade | Ethical Production & Consumption | Hana Health | RSF Social Finance | impact investing

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