I recently got a job at the only Wisconsin-based statewide loan fund that serves the needs of non-profits within the state. It’s kind of funny, how things work out. Many of my classmates are now working in campus ministry, teaching at a Catholic high school and running retreats, or working at a parish. I wasn’t having much luck in those fields after moving to Madison, so I decided to hone in on working for a non-profit doing fundraising (even though I had almost no experience with that). Anyway, so far it’s been a great fit for me (and hopefully for the organization). And like the best jobs, it’s given me a crash course in a whole new field: investing and lending.
Basically, what we do is acquire investments from individuals, banks, credit unions, religious orders, and labor unions. Individuals might invest as little as $1,000 at as high as a 3% interest rate (although it’s nice when people invest at 0% and we can just use their money to make the loans). Religious orders tend to lend at about the same interest rate range, and banks and credit unions are a little higher. Then what we do is find non-profits throughout the state of Wisconsin that are providing much-needed services to low-income people, such as affordable housing, community centers, and public health centers. The belief is that no matter what peoples’ net worth is, everyone should have access to high-quality facilities. The idea is that you can invest in our organization, and your dollar will go ten times further than a donation – because it’ll get lent to a non-profit serving the needs of low-income people, which will then get paid back and re-lent out to the community.