Imagine three individuals concerned about the state of finance meeting for lunch in the middle of Manhattan to consider what it would take to transform the financial system. They all worked in big banks or large corporations. It was the late 1970s. They were studying Rudolf Steiner’s World Economy lectures to gather insights into new approaches to financing that would build rather than dismantle community—an approach beyond a market economy that Steiner called associative economics.
In 1983, one of them received a phone call from Pine Hill Waldorf School which had just burned down. They were asking if Rudolf Steiner Foundation could help them with financing to rebuild the school building. With urgency, the founders created systems and wrote letters asking friends to lend RSF money so that it could lend it to the school. Loan repayments would repay the lender/investors. This was the core inspiration for what is RSF Social Finance today, though the fields of activity in lending and giving are much broader—including for-profit social enterprises