Our Community Steering Group, pictured above with Cllr Ashraf (centre) and Lara Norris from Curiosity Society (far right) has announced their first investment with Snowball Impact Management.
This is a story of financial firsts. While there are a growing number of impact-first social investors in the UK, we are the first to adopt a 100% community-led investment decision-making process.
The first community-led investment fund
Twelve people make up our Community Steering Group (CSG), which we recruited and organised into a peer learning group. The group are all women; mostly People of Colour; some are mothers; some are local business owners. All are residents of Barking and Dagenham. Read more about the CSG.
They designed an investment policy for their community that balances impact, risk and return in investing. They spent months considering how and where to invest before they selected Snowball for an investment.
“We considered Snowball according to our framework that measures investment proposals against impact, risk, liquidity and return.
We also considered the wider context of the portfolio we are building and Snowball’s approach to investing – putting positive social and environmental impact on the same level as financial return – was something we’d been seeking for months.
Our decision to invest in Snowball is a move towards fixing the broken financial system we’ve come to understand.”
Emma, Community Steering Group Member
Our work is rooted in the principle that the people who are affected by financial decisions should be making those decisions. We have pioneered community-led investing and made our participatory approach to impact investing accessible to other investors.
The first investment
With its first investment into Snowball, our CSG have talked about power, pride, learning together, being a role model for their children, and their ambitions for scaling.
With Snowball they have added a comprehensive diversifier to their portfolio allowing them to target competitive financial returns and measurable impact in every asset class, as well as access the deeper impact offered through private markets.
“As a mission-driven organisation with deep roots in people, places and issues we have a responsibility to make active decisions about the use of the majority of our resources. Our money is out there expressing who we are and we need to know what it is saying. Investment is our superpower.”Danielle Walker Palmour, Board Member, Snowball. Director, Friends Provident Foundation.
First steps towards more democratic finance
While operating in different worlds, we share a vision of a rebalanced financial system with Snowball. One where financial and social returns happen in tandem and are valued equally.
Snowball sets an example for businesses and the financial market to move towards this future while we’re building capacity for communities to define the impact they want to see.
“Every financial investment shapes the world. The question is, what kind of world do we want? Many investors want to invest in line with their values but can’t yet access high-impact investments, or they are limited to status quo options by their advisors. The Community Steering Group has shown leadership, demonstrating that better investing – investing that contributes to a sustainable future for all – is already possible today.”Laura Boyle, Head of Stakeholder Engagement, Snowball.
“Our vision is of a world where local communities are empowered to identify and address the issues that matter most to them. In choosing Snowball for their first investment our community has taken the first step towards a more democratic and sustainable financial system.
We’re excited to have a partner we can learn from and share what we are learning about putting people, place and planet at the heart of investment decisions. ”Géraud de Ville de Goyet, CEO, BD Giving