SosteNica’s investors afford Nicaraguan business owners and producers the opportunity to improve the quality of life for themselves, their families and their communities. Our investors are a diverse community of individuals and organizations, which share a common commitment to doing good while doing well.
CATHOLIC HEALTH INITIATIVES
SOSTENICA (“SN”): What does Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) mean to your organization? CATHOLIC HEALTH INITIATIVES (“CHI”): CHI participates in socially responsible investing through its Direct Community Investment Program (“DCIP”). The DCIP was established to support the mission and vision of Catholic Health Initiatives. As the second largest not-for-profit health care system in the U.S., one focus of our mission is to create new ministries which promote healthy communities, now and into the future. The DCIP is one way CHI fulfills that vision.” SN: Why did CHI choose to invest in SOSTENICA from among the many SRI opportunities available? CHI: CHI chose to invest in SOSTENICA due to its ability to positively impact the lives of people living in Nicaragua. SOSTENICA was selected as an organization that fulfills a very important social need with its ability to loan funds to small businesses and low income families. Through CHI’s investment of $100,000, we were confident that SOSTENICA would efficiently utilize these funds to positively impact the lives of people living in Nicaragua. SN: What have you liked about your experience with SOSTENICA? CHI: We have had a very positive experience with SOSTENICA knowing that over 244 (rural farm) families have benefited from the work of the organization. SOSTENICA’s focus on the poor of Nicaragua by teaching them new skills will have a favorable impact on many future generations. The mission of SOSTENICA assists CHI in attaining its goals of promoting healthy communities.
SN: What do you think of when you hear the term Socially Responsible Investing (“SRI”)? GEORGE LINDSAY (“GL”): Primarily, we think of it as the opportunity to put some of our money to work in ways that we believe will contribute to the overall health of the planet and its peoples. We are looking for win/win/win investments — we gain while contributing to a safer, saner environment and a stronger, healthier society. SN: What led you to invest in SOSTENICA, given the many SRI opportunities available? GL: We were introduced to SOSTENICA by Alan Wright and Paula Kline, and learned first-hand from them about the goals and the work that SOSTENICA supports in Nicaragua. SOSTENICA’s integrated approach to organic agriculture, economic opportunity, environmental development, and a “bottom up” social structure are all ideas that appealed to us. Furthermore, it appears to us that SOSTENICA is successfully making it all work! SN: What do you enjoy about your experience with SOSTENICA? GL: SOSTENICA’s newsletters are the best — every bit as good as the interest checks that arrive regularly, on time. The stories from the field and profiles of staff and clients in Nicaragua help us to understand and feel connected to the work that it supports. It is a gift that keeps on giving. SN: Would you recommend SOSTENICA as an investment for others? GL: I have, and I will continue to do so. From our experience, it is a sound investment from which we reap benefits both financial and intellectual, and which inspires us with confidence that we are participating in a worthwhile, important, and successful venture.
SN: How you understand the concept of Socially Responsible Investment (“SRI”)? SHELLY ALTMAN (“SA”): Money is one aspect of our lives. If we have savings, what should we do with them? I think that SRI is one great way to work cooperatively with people. SN: Why did you choose to invest in SOSTENICA? SA: For me, SOSTENICA has both an investment and an emotional component. Working closely with Nicaragua is like taking a huge dose of truth serum. It helps me to see through the lies that surround us all the time. Investing in SOSTENICA is investing in the truth. It is not just about “supporting Nicaragua”, but it is really bi-directional. They get something from us, and we get something from them. It goes both ways. SN: What do you consider the best aspect of your experience with SOSTENICA? SA: With SOSTENICA we slice right through bureaucracy and get as directly as possible from investor to the people borrowing the money – and it feels terrific! The revolution of 1979 was a long time ago. Why do I still have this bond with Nicaragua? It comes down to this. We’ve been fed lie after lie about Nicaragua since 1979. In fact, what the Nicaraguans did back in the ’70′s was so difficult and so inspiring that no matter how much things have changed or may change in the future, Nicaraguans remain for me a people who have great courage. They identified their values and then acted on them. Theirs is a smart, spirited culture that threw off the yoke of imperialism in a valiant effort to become what they dreamed of becoming. In some sense, they succeeded, despite the chipping away that continues to this day. As far as I’m concerned, I have a lifetime commitment to these people and to their country for having been a model for us all.
REVEREND DR. VICTOR WILSON
SN: What does Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) mean to your church? REVEREND DR. VICTOR WILSON (“VW”): Principally, SRI breaks the dominant economic cycle, which disadvantages the poor. It gives them a far greater sense of well being and hope, enables them to better care for their loved ones and more of the investment remains in the local community. It’s such a win-win situation. I first heard of the concept of SRI in an NPR piece some years ago with the founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. The concept blew me away. It touches the practical (really praxis) essence of our faith so beautifully in that it addresses all three interwoven and inseparable challenges — love of God, love of neighbor, love of self (our best selves). When our Outreach Committee came up with the idea — quite independently — I was delighted. SN: Why did your church choose to invest in SOSTENICA from among the many SRI opportunities available? VW: Beth Kephart Sulit was serving on the committee a few years back. She had written an article for a magazine about Alan Wright, and she brought to the committee the idea of making contact with SOSTENICA. As we already had some mission activity in El Salvador — her husband Bill is from there, and his mother runs a hostel for the elderly — it seemed natural to extend the connection. SN: What have you liked about your experience with SOSTENICA? VW: We feel a real sense of making a difference in people’s lives. Also that fact that any investment we make can be kept rolling back into the community. We also appreciate the sense of personal contact with those we support through SOSTENICA. SN: Would you recommend SOSTENICA as an investment for other congregations? VW: Absolutely. It’s a super experience.