“The non-dual spirituality of today is necessarily service-oriented. If my neighbor is myself, I cannot just state this in front of my private altar and let it stay there. If spirituality is worth its salt, it will be concerned with some form of active service to the world. Together, we will heal this world or destroy it. There are no more private paradises. I deeply believe we will heal it. For we are not running the ball game.” From a blog by Pierre Pradervand
In 2013, Kate Poole was at a conference for young people who wanted to put their vast wealth to good use. She had opportunities to invest in green technology and local food, but she felt that even well-intentioned investing often extracted interest from communities.
“As a wealthy white person, I don’t need to keep looking to grow my return,” Poole said. “That’s not going to redistribute wealth.”
Instead, Poole joined seven peers to form Regenerative Finance, an organization made up of young people with access to wealth. They wanted to use their unique financial leverage to show what “non-extractive” investing could look like — putting wealth back into places that long experienced exploitation.
Growing up, Poole came to understand that her family’s opulence came from owning and selling stolen land, and from stock in companies with histories of racial and environmental exploitation. Some of these young people felt a dissonance between valuing equity and justice and what they identify as their “settler privilege.” By putting their money into non-extractive projects, they hope to reconcile that disconnect.
Soon after forming, the group was approached by the Renaissance Community Co-op, a fledgling grocery store in Greensboro, North Carolina, that needed funding. At the time, the city’s Northeast neighborhood, which has a large African American population, was considered unprofitable by large grocery stores and had been without one for 18 years.
“A lot of us are from the Northeast [region], mostly White inheritors,” Poole said of the group. “There was this clear connection between this money that our families had amassed and extraction from the Black South.” So they rallied 28 investors to raise $253,000 for a loan to RCC. But rather than pay the interest to wealthy investors, RCC will put that money into the Southern Reparations Loan Fund, a community-operated fund that reinvests in other Southern co-ops, particularly those that benefit African Americans and people in poverty. It can then be reinvested in other ventures.
Source: Yes! Magazine, by Araz Hachadourian