December 10, 2015. Adrian, Michigan – The Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB) is pleased to announce three new loan investments this quarter, recommended by the Community Investment Committee and approved by the Congregation’s General Council.
The PAB has granted a loan to the Disability Opportunity Fund (DOF) to help capitalize the fund, which is invested in projects that provide housing and other opportunities for people with disabilities throughout the United States. Based in Albertson, New York, the DOF loans money to real estate developers, communities, and organizations serving the disabilities market, and to any group that helps to create access to housing, schools, or other projects for people with disabilities. Founded by veteran finance professionals, the DOF provides capital and advisory services to its clients.
The PAB’s latest loan to First Nations Oweesta Corporation will enable the Longmont, Colorado-based organization to invest in Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Oweesta is the only Native CDFI intermediary, offering financial products and development services exclusively to Native CDFIs and Native communities. Oweesta works with indigenous peoples living in some of the most rural locations in the United States, including American Indian Reservations, traditional Native lands, Hawaiian homelands and Alaska Native villages.
“Specifically, Oweesta provides training, technical assistance, investments, research, and policy advocacy, helping Native communities to develop an integrated range of asset-building products and services, including financial education and financial products,” according to the organization’s website.
PeopleFund, based in Austin, Texas, creates economic opportunity and financial stability for underserved people by providing access to capital, education and resources to build healthy small businesses. The Adrian Dominican Sisters’ loan, along with investments from other funders, will be used as lending capital across Texas to support underserved small business startups and nonprofits, specifically those run by women, veterans, minorities, and low-income populations.
“Our goal is to give people the opportunity to turn their talents into a sustainable livelihood and achieve financial stability for themselves and their families,” according to PeopleFund’s website. “We inspire, educate, fund, and elevate clients on the path to prosperity and the American Dream.” PeopleFund offers financial products, business education, and tailored, one-on-one mentoring to entrepreneurs normally left out of the financial mainstream.
Community investments is one aspect of the work of the PAB. The Board, now in its 40th year, also engages in corporate responsibility work. The PAB monitors the Congregation’s investments and, through such means as shareholder resolutions, holds the corporations accountable in such areas as social justice, environmental sustainability, and fair labor practices.
September 15, 2015, Adrian, Michigan – Current and past members of the Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB), Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates, and members of the general public marked the 40th anniversary of the PAB September 10 with a day of education and an evening program and celebration. The event took place at Weber Retreat and Conference Center on the Motherhouse campus.
Highlighting the day was a special celebratory program (see videos below) detailing the history and the 40-year efforts of the PAB to bring about economic justice through work in corporate responsibility, low-interest loan investment in non-profit community organizations around the world. The PAB also works to educate board members and the community about social justice issues of concern to the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
The program included talks by such speakers as Sister Attracta Kelly, OP, Prioress of the Congregation; Sister Kathleen Schanz, OP, General Council liaison to the PAB; and Dee Joyner, an Adrian Dominican Associate and Chair of the PAB. A 20-minute video featured comments of people from other organizations who collaborated with the PAB over the years. The celebration concluded with a reception.
Throughout the day, participants heard from a variety of speakers. In the opening session, Sarah Power spoke of the efforts of Con-way, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based freight transportation corporation, to combat human trafficking through its collaboration with Truckers against Trafficking. Sarah told the moving story of one driver for Con-way who, through his vigilant attitude, helped law enforcement to uncover a trafficking ring and bring freedom to 14 women caught in trafficking.
Pat Zerega, of Mercy Investment Services, explained the science behind climate change and discussed the choices that our society can make to lessen its effects. She also addressed ways that religious congregations can work to decrease climate change through such practices as divesting from fossil-fuel companies or engaging in shareholder resolutions.
The afternoon brought speakers from two of the community organizations in which the PAB has invested through low-interest loans. The speakers in both sessions spoke of the positive impact of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ investment in their organizations had on their work and the community they serve.
Leading off was Charles Hammerman, president and CEO of Disability Opportunity Fund (DOF). He gave the Scriptural foundation for caring for people with disabilities and explained the work of DOF. The organization is the first community investment organization to focus on the needs of people with disabilities.
In the closing session of the Day of Education, James Balmer, President of Dawn Farm, and Charles Coleman, coordinator of Dawn Farm’s Chapin Street housing project, spoke of their work to offer free recovery and transitional housing programs for people suffering from addictions.
Top photo: Associate Dee Joyner (left), Chair of the Portfolio Advisory Board, and Lura Mack, Executive Director, at the 40th anniversary celebration.
Adrian Dominican Sisters Portfolio Advisory Board
September 10, 2015
Session 1: Human Trafficking
Sarah Power, Con-way
Session 2: Climate Change
Pat Zerega, Mercy Investment Services
Session 3: Supportive Housing
Charles Hammerman, Disability Opportunity Fund
Session 4: Supportive Housing / Programs
James Balmer & Charles Coleman, Dawn Farm
Session 5: Celebrating 40 Years of Socially Responsible Investing