Reimagining Money

RSF believes that inquiry and dialogue are essential tools for transforming the way we work with money. We are committed to creating frequent opportunities for our community to engage in exploring the role of money and finance in our lives.

Throughout our history, we have hosted events focused on exploring the personal and social dimensions of money and financial relationships. For many years, RSF led an informal network for these events called the Transforming Money Collaborative, which held a series of gatherings on Money & Spirit, Money, Race, and Class, Money & Intuition, and other related subjects.

More recently, we have shifted our focus to integrating the principles of inquiry and dialogue into our core business practices and general client offerings. Below you will find a summary of our past and present efforts to bring people together to reimagine money.

Pricing Meetings

Starting in the spring of 2009, RSF began hosting periodic gatherings to create greater transparency and connectedness between investors and borrowers in the RSF Social Investment Fund. The theme of these meetings was the interest rate for the RSF Social Investment Fund, which determines how much investors earn from their investment in the Fund as well as the interest that borrowers must pay on their loans from the Fund. As of October 1, 2009, RSF officially made these meetings part of its process for determining the interest rate by establishing a customized rate termed “RSF Prime”. To read about our first investor/borrower meeting held in March 2009, click here. To read the announcement about the launch of RSF Prime, click here.

Money, Race, and Class Conversations

RSF recognizes and invites the realities of race, class, gender, and religion into conversations of economic life. Our experience has been that financial relationships are one avenue into better understanding how we practice our values and make choices. In 2006, 2007, and 2008, RSF hosted a series of conversations on the subject of Money, Race, and Class. By serving as a host for these conversations, some of the deeper social and cultural issues, for which money is a bellwether,  could be brought to light and made a more conscious part of decisions both financial and social. In the interest of engaging a wider circle in this important dialogue, we have posted PDF transcripts of the conversations below:

Economics of Peace Conference

On October 18-23, 2009, RSF Social Finance and Praxis Peace Institute hosted The  Economics of Peace conference in Sonoma, California. In the midst of global economic collapse, an expanding income gap, accelerating climate change, and exponential growth in global debt, The Economics of Peace was a call for engaged citizens from the U.S. and abroad to help forge a new economic agenda for the 21st century. The conference showcased leading thinkers and practitioners transforming the way the world works with money. To read more about The Economics of Peace conference, click here. For video of all the conference’s major presentations, visit: http://vimeo.com/channels/theeconomicsofpeace.

Transformation Portfolio Group

In 2007, RSF decided to restructure its investment offerings to Donor Advised Fund clients by implementing a more direct and transparent program in order to achieve the deepest possible social impact.   Included in these changes was the creation of three Impact Investing Portfolios based on liquidity, risk, and return factors, which were named Liquidity Impact, and Transformation. The Transformation Portfolio was designed for donor advisors looking to achieve exceptional social impact and a more direct relationship with their investments. In 2009, the Transformation Portfolio was formally launched as a learning community in which participating donor advisors come together to determine how the Portfolio’s funds will be invested. To read about one of the first Transformation Portfolio meetings held in December of 2009, click here.

Shared Gifting Groups

Practiced first as part of RSF’s Mid-States Shared Gifting Program, and launched by RSF in 2011, Shared Gifting is a collaborative model that gives participants ownership and distribution authority over grant funds. The goal of Shared Gifting is to transform the field of philanthropy by bringing some of the ancient and ancestral qualities of gift into the philanthropic stream. By moving control of the funds from the donor to the organizations, trust, accountability, reciprocity, and community are created in a way that isn’t with traditional philanthropic models. It is an effective and engaged way of disbursing grant funds. By having no directed outcomes or objectives for how the grantees use the money, the group is called to use its collaborative wisdom to determine the best use of the funds. It also frees the grantees to create mutually beneficial collaborations and outcomes not possible or likely in older competitive models.

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