We are excited to feature Tony Smith, CEO of Secure Futures Solar as our guest blogger for September. Learn more about Secure Futures and their capital campaign at October Money Mornings on Tuesday, 10/8. RSVP on our Events page.
Do Good and Do Well: Make change with your investments
One recent morning, I came across a story in The Washington Post entitled “How Should We Talk About What’s Happening To Our Planet?” encouraging the reader to fearlessly speak the truth about what’s happening to our earth. In recent years, climate change has become a taboo topic like religion, money and politics, and it’s time that we normalize this discussion. Our conversations around scientific findings, current trends, and environmental solutions need to inspire more action, and greater urgency, both by individuals and corporations.
Many people feel overwhelmed by the topic of climate change and wonder, “What can I do as an individual?” Our actions can vary from minor changes like wrapping your hot water heater to major decisions like shifting your entire investment strategy. We can also take action with our dollars. We can make transformative change by investing in companies and projects that provide solutions.
The impact investment movement has changed how we view investments, not only as financial engines allowing us to increase our net worth, but as powerful catalysts for aligning our dollars with our values.
In the 1980s, I made a $1,000 investment in the Delaware Valley Reinvestment Fund, a neighborhood housing redevelopment program to assist poverty-stricken neighborhoods in Philadelphia. This was a new initiative that empowered community members to engage with local revitalization efforts. I was passionate about the cause and wanted to help. I could have just made a $1,000 donation and moved on, but instead, I chose to make a five-year loan and continued to re-invest annually, allowing my profits to flow back into the cause every year.
While the fund started out with a few small passionate investors like me, it has since grown to $2.2 billion in financing that continues to be reinvested into the community. The Reinvestment Fund has achieved an inspiring cumulative impact. It started as a way to redevelop housing, and over the years has grown to finance health care centers, schools, clean energy, and commercial real estate and has enabled the communities to thrive.
This experience got me thinking about the power of communities investing in their own well-being. I learned first-hand that small dollars can add up over time to make a significant difference. It inspired me to help write crowdfunding legislation in Virginia in 2015.
As the Founder and CEO of Secure Futures Solar, a Virginia solar development company, I noticed that the primary sources of investment for commercial scale solar projects are banks and Wall Street. These large funders prefer investing in larger solar installations, often leaving smaller businesses and non-profits without an option to move forward. Investment crowdfunding offers an option for all investors to support solar in their own communities, and creates a path forward for more small installations. It allows us to take action with our dollars to support climate solutions.
Secure Futures Solar is a Certified B Corp, meaning that doing good for our employees, our community, and our earth is part of our DNA. We operate as a customer-driven solutions company for local and global economic and environmental challenges.
Every day, we devote our energies to helping businesses and non-profits to add rooftop solar with no upfront capital or operating expense. We help our customers transform their rooftop capital liabilities into operating assets with 35 to 40 year service lives. Secure Futures Solar owns, operates and maintains the solar panels, while our customers pay only for the energy the panels produce. Not only do our customers enjoy the benefits of clean electricity and lower electric bills, but many are also using the solar systems as tools to teach the next generation about science, business, and how to be good stewards of the environment. In effect, this is a solution that keeps giving back to a community for years to come.
Starting in 2019, we will invite communities of individuals and organizations to engage with us as local investors to join the solar transformation. For the first time in Virginia’s history, we will implement a solar investment crowdfunding campaign, giving local investors the opportunity to join our Solar Bond™ program to help fund solar projects for a group of Virginia-based non-profits.
This Solar Bond™ crowdfunding project offers an option for all investors to support solar in their communities and allows a path forward for more small installations.
There’s a poetic beauty to this investment strategy: do good and do well. You can make a difference through your dollars. Small change today contributes to big change tomorrow.
Learn more about our Solar Bonds opportunity at https://localstake.com/businesses/secure-futures-solar/preview
This blog is a publication of Alexis Advisors, LLC. Information presented is for educational purposes only, and should not be considered investment advice. Investment advice may only be rendered after entering into an advisory agreement. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date, but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. Information on this blog is not an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation of any offer to buy or sell the securities mentioned herein. Any reference on this blog to a product or service does not constitute or imply the endorsement, recommendation or favoring of the product or service by Alexis Advisors, LLC. Consult with your advisor prior to making investment selections