Don Shaffer, President and CEO of RSF.
Since 1984 RSF Social Finance has sought to build a new financial paradigm. With an emphasis on three areas: Food and Agriculture, Education and the Arts, Ecological Stewardship, RSF pursues localization of lending, community reinvestment and social responsibility, striving to build a solid societal connection between investors and entrepreneurs.
RSF wants to redirect the flow of capital from global financial markets to more local and regional ones. There is a disconnect in today's global investment markets. Investors and the businesses they invest in are often only connected by the profit and loss (P&L) statement. Business decisions may not be reflective of the values of the investors. Profitability and return on investment (ROI) are often the guiding principles and sometimes the sense of responsibility to the investors gets lost. Out of this dynamic also comes a resistance to investing in entrepreneurs who pursue developing technologies or alternative business models. Establishing a conduit for capital that looks beyond just the P&L and ROI helps open the doors for these new economy entrepreneurs.
RSF has over one thousand clients who have chosen to move their money from the vast world capital markets to a smaller and more targeted one. RSF has made over $165 million in loans and over $70 million in grants to socially conscious enterprises in their three focus areas. Due to their thorough risk management assessment, RSF has an exceedingly low default rate and a low leverage ratio. Beginning in 2009 they are including Social Covenants as part of all of their loans to insure the social relationship parameters for the duration of their partnership.
RSF has been a strong partner and supporter of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). Together they are redrawing the business market schematics. Local investment supporting local business supporting local economies supporting local societal values. In a rapidly changing world the importance of our local community is increasing. It provides the root system to keep us all strong. Through their commitment to local economies, RSF Social Finance and BALLE seek to strengthen and support the growth of local communities.