Renegade Capital

How to Invest for Social Justice, feat. Rachel Robasciotti, Adasina Social Capital

January 23, 2024 Andrea Longton, Ebony Perkins, & Leah Fremouw Season 3 Episode 7
How to Invest for Social Justice, feat. Rachel Robasciotti, Adasina Social Capital
Renegade Capital
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Renegade Capital
How to Invest for Social Justice, feat. Rachel Robasciotti, Adasina Social Capital
Jan 23, 2024 Season 3 Episode 7
Andrea Longton, Ebony Perkins, & Leah Fremouw

S3 Ep7 | What does it really mean to invest in social justice, and how do we know it’s making a difference?  And is it something everyone can do? In this episode, Rachel Robasciotti, Founder & CEO of Adasina Social Capital,  joins us to share how they have answered these questions. We’ll talk about how Rachel and Adasina combine data and financial activism to make social justice investing accessible for everyday investors.

About Rachel.
Rachel J. Robasciotti is the CEO and Founder of Adasina Social Capital, an investment and financial activism firm that serves as a critical bridge between financial markets and social justice movements. Rachel’s passion for social justice investing is rooted in her background as a Black, queer woman and growing up in a community that struggled for safety and financial security within a rural town that was largely segregated. Rachel is a fierce advocate for social justice in the financial industry and is regularly featured in the media as a leader in the field for integrating issues of racial, gender, economic, and climate justice into investment portfolios.

Renegade Capital Tools & Tips.

A renegade not only listens but acts. We've consolidated a few tips from this episode to help you invest  for social justice.

  • Review your investments. The best place to start is to take a look under the hood of your existing investments and accounts. The BRIDGE platform, created by Adasina and social justice partners, is a great place to see how your portfolio stacks up according to social justice criteria. 
  • Stay informed. Follow organizations like Adasina to stay up-to-date on legislation and the economy are impacting social justice issues. 
  • Invest in the Adasina ETF. Adasina’s ETF is easy for anyone to invest in, a one stop shop for social justice investing. You can learn more about the product here. 

Support the Show.

Love the podcast? Subscribe and follow to never miss an episode.
Linkedin | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Join our mailing list

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

S3 Ep7 | What does it really mean to invest in social justice, and how do we know it’s making a difference?  And is it something everyone can do? In this episode, Rachel Robasciotti, Founder & CEO of Adasina Social Capital,  joins us to share how they have answered these questions. We’ll talk about how Rachel and Adasina combine data and financial activism to make social justice investing accessible for everyday investors.

About Rachel.
Rachel J. Robasciotti is the CEO and Founder of Adasina Social Capital, an investment and financial activism firm that serves as a critical bridge between financial markets and social justice movements. Rachel’s passion for social justice investing is rooted in her background as a Black, queer woman and growing up in a community that struggled for safety and financial security within a rural town that was largely segregated. Rachel is a fierce advocate for social justice in the financial industry and is regularly featured in the media as a leader in the field for integrating issues of racial, gender, economic, and climate justice into investment portfolios.

Renegade Capital Tools & Tips.

A renegade not only listens but acts. We've consolidated a few tips from this episode to help you invest  for social justice.

  • Review your investments. The best place to start is to take a look under the hood of your existing investments and accounts. The BRIDGE platform, created by Adasina and social justice partners, is a great place to see how your portfolio stacks up according to social justice criteria. 
  • Stay informed. Follow organizations like Adasina to stay up-to-date on legislation and the economy are impacting social justice issues. 
  • Invest in the Adasina ETF. Adasina’s ETF is easy for anyone to invest in, a one stop shop for social justice investing. You can learn more about the product here. 

Support the Show.

Love the podcast? Subscribe and follow to never miss an episode.
Linkedin | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Join our mailing list

[this is an automatically generated transcript and may contain errors] 

this is Andrea Longton this is Leah frea and this is Evony Perkins and we are

Renegade capital. All Views expressed in this podcast are our own we are not financial

planners investment advisers or tax advisers the views that we have on this show do not necessarily reflect the

views and opinions of the people who sign our paychecks so please keep that in mind and always always consult a

trained Financial professional before you start moving your hard-earned money let's dive

[Music] in gosh it's been a long time since I've

LED this Evan you've LED all of them up until the season so I'm like how do I

get started um but one thing that stuck out to me when Lakota and I were chatting in our pre-c conversation was

um she was talking about macgyvering money and I use that phrase a lot um

about you know how do we mcgyver something into doing what we need to do

and so that's that really stuck out and that's what's what's coming up to me and Ebony when I was talking to you about it

you said okay that sounds great but what exactly does that mean to mcy or something yeah I'm I'm sorry I never

watched that show ever in my life so I don't know mcgyver I don't know his first name so yeah introduce me does he

have a first name he has a mullet I know that I want to say it's

Angus it is it's Angus mcgyver it was on a TV show that ran from 1985 to 1992 by

and it was called mcgyver yeah no I was I've been I was only here for two years in that

period I've never saw the show but just the term MacGyver is part of my daily

life like I still use it all the time um but he was a secret agent relying for he

was known for relying on his brain scientific prowess duct tape and a Swiss army knife to save the day and so it

coined this term to mcgyver something and it's to make or repair an object in

an improvised or inventive way making use of whatever items are conveniently at hand and whenever I Googled it ear

I'm like so what's an example of mcging because of course my brain was totally blank of what an example could be it was

like when you use a log to makeshift car jack and get the tire off the ground I'm

like well that's great that's not really something that I would do um so I was

thinking about like what are everyday macgyvering things that I do um and so

like when we have leftover grease in a pan when I'm cooking I'll use like aluminum foil to make a cup in the sink

and then pour the grease into that so that I could it doesn't go down the sink and you know destroy the drains um and

um because I am really not handy and so duct tape is my best friend um I'm

mcgyver up some um speakers into under my deck this summer with like these old

speakers that were in somebody's attic and I was like I'll take those and got some audio cables and this little device

that I could like um cast my phone's music through it but then it was outside

and it wasn't really meant to be outside and it rains um and so I was like huh

how do I fix this and so I stuck it into um I got like a waterproof

compartment which doesn't work if you leave holes in it um so I'm like huh that's not going to work for me um and

stuck it in a Ziploc bag and then I was still I was still like I'm not sure so I got an umbrella and stuck it over

everything um and it worked it was very good so that is my my guying examples of

using one thing to just make it work um and get it done whenever you don't have the the exact thing there for you uh and

I found it really interesting that Lota was talking about um how she at four bands MacGyver's money to work for

indigenous people living in within her community and the um community that for

band serves and so I'd love to learn more from her about how she's mgy bring money how she's making this work and so

my question for yall is with that context and background um are there

things that you mcgyver financially um in your own lives or physically if you have an umbrella trick

that you have um um are there any examples that youall have of how you

mver money or other things in your own life one thing that I do around my

mortgage is I I never pay my mortgage in full really and I know that sounds weird

I cut my mortgage in half and I pay it over like if I get paid twice a

month um I will pay you know half of it

you know at the beginning of the month and then half of it like when the rest of it is due I don't know what it is I

don't like seeing that large sum come out of my account at once and so I'm like okay I'm put a little something on

it and then to make sure that you know when it when the time has come it's fully paid I mean granted that means I

have to be like at least half of a payement ahead but I just if something

happens and I need that that Su um I'll have it available I never want my

account to get below a certain amount and granted you know there are other ways to go around it but I'm just like

okay how am I going to work it so that truest like they know it's coming they don't have to keep sending me notices

like hey you are you owe whatever but I'm like no I'm going have to rig this

so that it also doesn't affect my credit score I like that I can totally understand the mental things you know

like I do some of the same things whether I pay off my credit card balance in full you know what what it's going to

do to that kind of minimum savings account that line that I like to see

it's not rational it's just I like that number to look a certain

way I can sleep better at night yep I think you you know the the concept of

macgyvering is interesting because I remember that I you know the joke is

like mcgyver would use a a ballpoint pen and some duct tape and be able to like save like a whole school bus of children

and you know put a fire out you know it's kind of like the The Bare Essentials of tools but big problem

solving and I hadn't thought about it in that context where at bridging Virginia

because we're so small and we know I know and my my director of Ops and even our Underwriters we all know each deal

and so as we get feedback from the underwriter you know Michelle and I will sit down and say and the underwriter

said said per policy this would not be approved but here are some things that you can ask about and then it could be a

responsible yes right so we always want to be responsible to the business owner like as far as setting them up for

success and not just like throwing debt at them but like like that kind of like

problem solving so okay so they don't have this in place yet but if we can add

maybe this guarantor or they pay off these three small credit cards and then

you know like that kind of maneuvering within each deal is kind of is kind of

fun and reminds me and in fact I've pulled myself out of the relationship management with the clients because I

need to be able to come in from the the third party if you will and kind of you

know brainstorm around how we get to a yes or how if it's not a right now um

the other thing that I think is is kind of telling and and kind of fits that story is the underwriters that we use

the oia group she helped us develop our credit policy for the small business lending we do and

even as we're developing these policies the underwriter myself as CEO and our

board chair we coined ourselves team policy exception because because as we're going through

like okay we don't want to do this but what if you know the business owner

actually does flip real estate and that's what they did and it was like well policy exception cool like you know

cuz we were always like you know we need structure but we also need the flexibility to you know use these small

tools to kind of solve the problem um because that I don't know so be I'm

really excited to talk to her and and hear more about the the m mying and

maneuvering that they're able to do I think that is really Renegade for you're like okay this is the standard this is

the policy this is what we need to do this is what everybody says is the right thing to do but how can we work around

this um because we want to be responsible to um our borrowers and our communities and

how can we make this work a little bit differently what Provisions can we put into place here what can we think about

as far as creditworthiness what can we think about like repayment and um fixing

those amortization schedules so that it works for the borrower I think that's very Renegade to figure out how to have

a creative problem solving and even like the language that we put in policy

different and like so the some of it's has to be very specific and then some of

it can be you know on a case-by casee basis or this is required as needed per

you know the deal so just having more generic language in some of the policy

areas is helpful to like you know I like to say we have a box but we can like kind of bump around in the Box a little

bit you know yall have good examples I was going to bring $3 Pizza Friday to

the table no wa to go on Pizza hold on Don't

Stop mine is very small where um every Friday at my son's school is pizza

Friday but you have to bring $3 I it's every week it's like how are we going to get $3 bills into George's

backpack the day before CU we don't use cash and so um my macgyvering money was

that we usually go to CVS the night before and um we have like a $20 bill and we buy something for a dollar and

get the um $3 and change back that is my macgyvering money uh creative problem

solving for how do we get $ doll bills into Georgia school the next

day [Laughter]

Tada that is hilarious so established in 2000 for

band's Community Fund is a community lender focused on indigenous individuals families and small businesses this

nonprofit organization is a leading organization on the Cheyenne River Sue reservation specifically and South

Dakota generally in the areas of small business development business lending financial literacy and youth

entrepreneurship today we're talking to Lota Vogal who's the executive director at for bands in this role Lota provides

leadership for the Community Loan Fund establishes new and fosters existing Partnerships and leads and manages

efforts to reach organizational goals before she was the executive director Lakota served as was the assistant

director for 5 years she had graduated from the the University of not Notre Dame I always want to say Notre Dam um

we'll take that back she graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in sociology and at

graduation she joined Teach for America and taught on the rose bud Sue reservation at Todd County High School

she went back and obtained her masters in social work from Washington University in St Louis where she

individualized her course of study to concentrate in economics security and Social Development through the life

course of American Indians we're really excited to have Lakota on today to talk about our experience and expertise this

is Evony Perkins this is Leah Freema this is Andrea lton and we are Renegade Capital today we're talking with Lakota

Vogal about financing opportunities in America's indigenous

communities Renegade Capital podcast is proud to be sponsored by US Bank Corp impact Finance a subsidiary of US Bank

which is an industry leader in providing Financial Solutions that help create positive impact for communities and the

environment for 35 years its tax credit investments in syndications lending and

other Financial Solutions have helped create affordable housing spur economic activity and underserved communities

restore historic buildings develop renewable sources of energy and strengthen community development

financial institutions or cdfis Nationwide learn more at impact

Finance oh Lakota thank you so much for joining us today we are really excited to have you um by way of introduction

can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to lead four bands it's always like a roundabout way

about the story of how I came to lead four bands um have always been attracted

to fields of study interest that challenge me or you know give some sort

of challenge so basically um started out at the University of Notre Dame and then moved um wanting to return home so I I

grew up on the Shiner pursue reservation in North Central South Dakota I am a Shiner pursue Tribal member um went to

the university but when you travel that far away from home I really was looking for a place to go back like and so I

joined the Teach for America Corp and it wasn't my goal to be a teacher at all but I think the way that the presenter

was recruiting he actually had a star in the state of South Dakota at that time and I was very interested to know that a

core at a national level was interested in the state that I came from and a specifically Native American community

so was challenged to go after and learn more and as a teacher while I was there

I was very interested in um special needs students so I actually did special

education and I really enjoy different perspectives of like how they see the world and so then I was noticing rural

communities weren't set up very well for their transition out of high school into the community and was just asked a lot

of questions of why that is and just how unfair that is and unjust and so I wanted to seek my masters in social work

to explore um ways to support students with mental health um uh needs in rural communities and

while I was there um there was a professor that talked about gerontology

and how she just just nobody it takes a special person is what she said to work

in gerontology and I myself like had a lot of strong Elders in my life and really enjoyed learning about older

individuals so the whole issue you know going into to my masters I basically

just individualized and was like look if a rural community can be set up to support the whole Spectrum the whole

life spectrum of young adults with you know needs all the way to older adults I

think a community has set up right to take care of its membership and so kind of just individualized it and as I was

doing that uh interviewed a leader back home and talked to her I was really looking for a mentor at the moment and

she just had amazing grit and I loved her responses her name was Tanya Fiddler

and from there she had a position open at four bands and here I am you

guys we are so lucky that that's your Journey took you there because watching what you've done uh and seeing

everything is just amazing so I got to ask um personally I didn't know what a

cdfi was until I started working for one was that did you know what you were

getting into I did not no you're right I I've heard asset development you know

and was like assets I know that I've heard that a little bit at the social work courses that I took but getting

into I you know I think one of my first days on a job I had to create a presentation about what a cdfi was and I

had so Google it well what does it mean to you to be a

local lender focused on indigenous communities what have you learned since you've started at at four

bands yeah I don't think that it's necessarily it's the perspective so it's

like the lens in which that I work within my community and I think having a broad spectrum of the word Community

First is important um and we lead with that the lender part of it is never what

we lean into so that's what I like about being a community lender is like when a client or a borrower approaches us it's

not about the lending side of it it's really Community focused so that's my first response so if you are thinking

about Community First and you are a loone fund what role do you play in your community how do you see that that role

um as it crystallizes so I I will be clear with the listeners that um only 133% of the Native American population

is actually um reservations in the United States and so it's a very small

uh unique space for my expertise but growing up there and within a reservation based economy um we have

developed an expertise within that space and it took us actually 20 years to even understand what our expertise was and

identify what we're uniquely capable of you know it's kind of like the analogy of um I can run I'm physically able to

run but would I Define that as a strong capability of mine no you know and I

think for bands in 23 years has can do a lot of things because we've got great talent and we've had to Define that so

that I'm not asking my team to go do pumpkin patch giveaways because we can

do that and we have but finding and honing in on what we're uniquely capable

of and just growing that and that strategy has been the hardest because when you're in a rural Town there's a lot of asks of you we can do a lot of

things we're well resourced and you want to go do the pumpkin giveaway at Halloween but um keeping your strategy

focused is is fun um but it's also hard because there's a lot of needs so the

kind of the legal and Sovereign structure of a reservation and you said reservation based economy um just so we

have a I mean I know there's a lot of depth that you can go into but could you set stage around that for my us and our

listeners and how that is unique relative to um the the other states it's

a very complex history with the you know American Indians in the United States history so I'll spare you the details

with that but um I think the way that when I speak about it I think that it's about a boundary setting like a literal

physical boundary setting that has been done um in treaties at the federal level

so it's positioned My Tribe and others in the United States as a uh Federal to-

Federal relationship which allows to you know have different jurisdictions so like during covid for example our tribe

Shu tribe was able to control its boundaries which is the size of Conneticut so my tribal chairman was

able to make uh a ruling about not leaving those boundaries and there physical boundaries on the map and

different things can happen within those boundaries so as a Organization leader I have different levels of government to

respond to and first and foremost is the fed the tribal government and federal

and then state government and local government so it's interesting it's a lot of jurisdictions to understand but I

think growing up here it's something that's been integrated into our lifestyle and that's why for bands is sort of uniquely positioned to

understand all those systems um there is a with lending it's very important with the trust land status so there's not a

clear title usually within reservation B boundaries for clear title to land which

as we know as lenders it's one of the largest assets that any individual can use to leverage to get access to Capital

and it's been locked up in this status of trust land for centuries and so from

A lender standpoint I'm asking clear and pure ownership of property is is gray

and so how how have you all moved your credit boxes or even not had collateral

as part of a credit box for your lending practices it's taken a while to get

there because well first we started off by not not lending on trust land uh just

just like everybody else in the nation just because it was too gray for us to dip into so if we did it we did we just

did uh fee simple land on the reservation which that also exists um so

actually in the past like 10 years we've discovered that it's really a manufactured system which is fair right

in the government so uh it was some system in the 1700s that was manufactured by a group of white men um

and it has stayed that way and has limited the growth and development of our Nations for that long and so for

bands just continued ask and we just upheld curiosity and asked why why like

why can't you collateralize trust land let's look into this and we tried it because as you know as cdfis we can get

Capital that isn't regulated um from the you know sort of federal standpoint as a

bank and so we were able to just take a risk and or a perceived risk and lend on

trust land and go through the same systems and collateralize it in the way that we felt comfortable as a lending institution and

it worked and ever since it worked we've been on this train of advocating

nationally that Banks need to take that out of their narrative completely it's a false narrative it's hurtful and it's

unjust and it's being it's it's being said over and over and it's it's a

difficult thing to do if you imagine you're trying to find not just large Bank institutions or financial institutions you're you're finding the

loan officers because an in ution could take it out of their language but then you've got to find the loan officers

that have been trained that are repeating it over and over so it's untangling a narrative that has been said for centuries that's just false of

those deals that have trust land devolved how many are in you know slow play like in what how many have charged

off or are in kind of a delinquent status we don't categorize our portfolio

that way but out of you know 7 million this year that we've deployed I mean

I'll just give you General numbers in my 80% of it was on trust land or in some way because we're doing mortgage lending

now and our delinquency in that portfolio is like 3% so I don't know

exactly by trust land but the delinquency of just lending to Native Americans within this setting is not

risky at all and we've been screaming that as well yeah again back to your like it's perceived risk it's not real

risk yeah yeah can we dig in on that a little bit more uh because Lakota one

thing that I've heard you um speak about a couple times is a regression analysis that you ran on your portfolio of you

know what what are the right um indicators of credit worthiness can you tell us a little bit about that so once

again not a l Not A lender by training and every one of us adopted an a lending framework right that when you start or

work at a cdfi somebody hands you a risk rating sheets and says here's how you should judge risk in your community and

I think it's fine it's just a framework for analyzing it but we really reflected on it after a lot just wanting to know

are we accurately predicting risk in our portfolio um we were noticing like when

you fill out an application it was people would struggle to fill out collateral in equity those were always

the largest ones to that that was a heavy lift for our borrowers and understandably but we couldn't ever

justify to ourselves in our sort of majority mindset training that it was

okay to remove those from the risk rating so we just did a quick study I mean it was a regression analysis on 101 of our small business loans and we did a

look back and said well of those five credit factors that we were looking at which ones were predicting risk and so

big reveal um the things that predicted risk in the way that we judged them was

not owner's equity was not um debt coverage ratio was not collat collateral

coverage ratio it was actually the borrower commitment to business uh their credit score and their character score

so I want to just belabor the point a bit because commitment to business and character score are kind of um Quality

indicators that my loan officers are making subjective judgments about there

there those in any industry are difficult to be quantitative but we are getting there so for bands after

realizing that character score and commitment to business was our biggest predictors of risk and how we're judging

them um all I can is we're doing it accurately because they're accurately

predicting the risk and what we look for in those instances are are things like

if the borrower has a narrative of saying um I am going to get into business and when you ask them the

questions like what would happen if things didn't go in the way the market didn't pick up on your idea and they

have an end to their story you know they reach a trajectory and if they can say

in words to you like how their story ends usually their score will go up right because we know they've thought about it they've got a way out Etc so

it's not perfect but I feel good about the team that I've assembled the culture of my organization that we've worked on

over the years to have the right people in the right seats to be judging those

indicators but we are going to get better at defining them well the proofs in the pudding too right whenever you

have a 3% delinquency rate talk to me about you know when you are training your staff and your and your team on how

do you look at a character-based lending or how do you look at commitment to business I know you said you're getting

closer to it what are those conversations look like how do you explain that or train that just it's

hard to say because I've had a really strong lender lead um in my director of lending and she's been the one training

but you know how it is at small rural organizations we luckily haven't had a lot of turnover but this is why we're

analyzing it now and trying to hone in on it so really it is about not giving

somebody a framework and saying here's your orientation package to being a lender in our community instead it's

more let's sit down side by side and look at this deal talk to the borrower together work on the relationship um and

ask the right questions and so it it's a slow uptake which is a criticism of of

the work and hard to hire because it does take six to 12 months to train in but it it's worth it basically can you

say more about the the credit score I'm part of a Loan Fund that um our credit policy is character-based and we don't

have a minimum credit score um but we do pull credit and it has influenced our

business coaching you know and kind of getting them ready or not for loans but

I've personally always kind of wondered about the blackbox of credit and how like it's systemically I mean it's built

on racist kind of paradigms and like but it still measures stuff that's quantitative so four bands in our

community this is uh our financial institutions do not report to the credit bureaus so you know jumping into this

work did not know that uh they had a choice right they don't have a choice they can't report up to the credit burea

they just don't oh oh okay okay yeah I I didn't know institutions didn't have a choice and so basically the the reason

is it's we're an a based community and so they're annual payments generally like many of the local banks were based

on a lending and so annual payments don't you know it's just harder to report so they still aren't though it's

202 3 and our community is needing to report so the only reason I'm leaning

into credit score is for bands has built um an entire programming around credit as an asset for 10 years so if we hadn't

done that previous work of building the financial acumine in our community and this momentum around credit as an asset

and the importance of building that and ourselves reporting to the credit bureau and watching the scores grow and talking

to our community I wouldn't I wouldn't get behind that credit score you know indicator but but that that's why I feel

good about it is some because it was a part of our strategy for the past 10 to 12 years of developing it within our

community and talking to our borrowers about it and that's why I believe it was such a high indicator for us is because

of that history but I wouldn't I would caution just like you're saying to everybody listening please Analyze That

Factor because if your community hasn't had that support system around it talking about credit as an asset working

on developing it it is absolutely not fair to judge people just by that one indic

we started the conversation talking about you know what four bands is is working on on um really sharpening its

strategy and focusing on that strategy what is your vision for the future you

know we're in it's octob we're recording this it's October 2023 a lot lot's been happening uh what what is your your

vision for the future where would know if everything else was set as parabus to

to borrow an economic phrase where would would you like to to go you know it's

it's still on shine River so it's a so shine River itself is like the state of Connecticut in land mass but there's 10

10 to 12,000 people within that space but it has a lot of potential and I

there's still so much untapped potential in the years that I've been there we have expanded just so everybody knows to

the state of South Dakota to serve other borrowers in the state of South Dakota just for there's only so many entrepreneurs within a 10,000 to 12,000

population so we had we went beyond and have been serving Native Americans in the state of South Dakota and that's been great but I think what I would love

to do and see for bands do is become more of a developer of developing either home sites for borrowers for mortgages

like individual Residential Mortgages or um build buildings we need new things like recently we built a business

incubator in 2019 and it was it was difficult to get Capital to build something but I believe

and we believe in our community that we deserve new new and nice things and we need to build new things in our

communities and the hope and what that's done for our community to watch somebody build something new and say wow they're

investing in us there's this is a place to build things I mean we want to continue that narrative and watch that repeat itself and not us be the only

Builders but others so we have purchased like 4.65 acres of land adjacent to our current building and want to continue to

grow this incubation mindset where we give people an opportunity to test an idea in their market and then uh it's a

safe space where it's not a huge risk for them to start a restaurant and then fail right but allow them to test the

market um that's what that's my future uh

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[Music] all lota can you describe the shine

River um area like who what are the people like what is it like to live

there paint a picture for me because I've never I've never been it's it's like knowing your neighbor everywhere

you go except your neighbor literally lives five to 10 miles away from you but

you still call them neighbor when you run into them and you drive down the roads and you wave high just because

you're pretty sure that could be a auntie or uncle and if you didn't wave you might hear about it later that he didn't wave at them um you know and it's

got it doesn't have a lot of so our anchor institutions are school systems

Hospital systems and when I mean anchor there those are our highest employment opportunities so if you haven't made it

into those if you don't want to be a doctor or a nurse or if you don't want to be a teacher or one of those Services

supporting teaching or work in a political like the tribal government there aren't a lot of other

opportunities for you to jump into so we have you know a high unemployment rate of 47% um but we have a lot of people

wanting to stay our population pyramid is like upside down so when we studied

the population and did a household survey the mode like the most repeated age was one like families are growing

there's a very young population um 45% of the population is under the age of 18

so we've got a lot of potential yeah that we don't have the brain drain of people exiting we've just got everybody

wanting to stay to live to contribute and now we need to build those systems so they can do that work um and it's

slow goinging like doing small business lending is you know we create 2.6 jobs per small business created which is

average Across America but it doesn't make that high impact change that is needed in areas that have been

underinvested in like mine so I've heard you speak about money as a tool

that sometimes traditional financial institutions see through a lens of functional fixedness so what does that

mean and can you talk a little bit about um how for bands uses money differently

Nations like mine so I'll speak about the Lota nation which is the tribe that I'm a part of and the people you know

colonization impacted us but we actually didn't have a way we didn't have a word for money so in the lot language there

wasn't a word for money and it actually had to get created and so you know colonization stunted the growth of my

culture for a long time and I think the exciting part about things now is we're reclaiming a lot of that we're defining

things differently you know we saw money as a circulation of wealth versus

accumulation of holding tight onto and so that's what I I love about the idea

that I'm working at an institution that sees money as a tool but we don't have

predefined Dogma around it there's not a lot of principled thoughts about how money should be used

and it's exciting so we know what the world says like I can read books I know how the world believes money should work

and so in general something that exists in Psychology is something called functional fixedness it's like you see a

tool like a pen or money and you've been using it and capitalizing on it for you

know decades centuries months years whatever your experiences with that tool you begin to Only You See It for the one

function it's designed for but eventually if you're just exposed to this tool you can you know like we said

mcgyver it right you can be like a magyer and you see the the pen as a tool to take two of them and stab them into

the wall and it becomes a holder for a shelf you know like that's a simple example but that's how I I believe we

view money as a way to and to we don't have these principles around it so it's

not necessarily that I can take money and color it purple and it becomes something different think it's more about the transaction of How It's

exchanged um we don't see it as like black and red in those or you know you

have some and you don't have some we know at four bands that borrowers come to us without collateral for example um

so they've got a fill a gap and usually that's a cash Gap in the rest of the world we don't care if that cash Gap

comes from the individual like the there is a principle around it where everybody says this kind of I don't know skin in

the game right and that's sort of derogatory but it's vulgar if you think about it but um we don't care if the

borrower actually puts their cash in it so for band is like well we can get cash for the borrower to put in for the loan

to be you know have the right LTV so loan to value um so we do that we

fundrais for it we see it as sort of like reparations of saying this person

was stripped of their assets you know decades ago because of colonization I

can get them a grant buy them the equipment that'll close that Gap and

their loan will be approved so I think when I speak about it we don't have a

yeah that's that's the way that we mcgyver money in the simplest way yeah what is your favorite example of how

four bands has macgyvered money in the past well some fun ones are just about

the different the types of collateral that we've we've accepted um we had somebody that felt pretty passionately

about like a geode like some type of um rock that it it does have value um but

it was the way the customer talked about it and wanted to put it up as collateral and so we accepted it was I can't

remember the type of quartz it was but it was an important quartz and it was a big rock and we actually had to find um

a safe for it to put it in there but it was the way that the customer valued it that we knew that that's what we were

looking for was the to mitigate the risk is the value of that that geed this

individual valued right so that one kind of funny but it was funny more more funny was to my loan officer looking at

me like what how am I supposed to Value this and where are we going to store this I like that I'm never going to be

able to talk about macgyvering something or um functional fixedness without thinking about a very large geode

sitting in a safe somewhere um but it's so true because we all value something so much differently um so that one thing

that has incredible value to me could mean nothing to you well one thing I like the vision the visual I like and I

don't know if you guys watched but it's it's parkour like you Remember The Office episode where you you can like

parkour all the things and that's what I think we do sometimes when we're lenders working in communities uh we see a

different path to the and we parkour everything right and it's fun and we're like jumping over things and so if it's

easier I like to view ourselves as like parkour artists in the lending world if you had a magic wand Lota like

I know we all do hanging around somewhere um what would you change about the movement of money within or around

indigenous communities well first I think that there's something that needs to be acknowledged of just like uh

demystifying you know the the culture a little bit but I heard somebody mention that there's like this the the white man

rides in a cab disease you know where somebody experiences the reservation and then has

this idea but they just ride around in a car and witness what they their perceptions and we sort of have that

that disease it's you know white man travel to the reservation disease and stays in their car but then applies all

these solutions that come in and don't work so I think if I was going to to change the movement of money I would

first ask the person I'm speaking to or the institution to sort of remove the centrality that they carry

about their way being the right way um you know it's we you can you can feel it

when somebody carries that centrality of like this is the way that I expect it to and then all we're viewed as is like a a

Divergence of from the norm and so we're trying to break down that perception of like actually the way that we're moving

money is supported by the community it's the way to do good lending in your

community and support it this is the point that you need to start from and then talk about ways to fit so that's

the first thing is sort of breaking down the perceptions that they have um before they begin moving money and I think a

magic wand would be that that replicates without me having to say it constantly

that other other people feel empowered to say those things and that it changes and it's just like this ripple effect

that happens and Whispers that carry across the nation so that's my magic one that's a

good magic one are you noticing a shift in that um in that Community Centric and

that um we need to listen to communities to find the solutions to the problems that we're that we're working on I am

noticing are you guys noticing it I am I was at a um a workshop this morning and

it was on green Finance um and I heard for they had six different speakers in

every single one said we need to listen to the communities in which we're working and they weren't your typical

Community Development um Financial groups they were focused on the environmental justice and climate

Justice and so to hear that um was really powerful for me I went oh wow

lakota's magic wand is working like it's really it's trickling out there um and people are recognizing that it's

important and it's important if we want sustainable um sustainable

economies Lota um I feel like there has been a lot of attention which

I'm I think is good um but given towards indigenous communities especially like

in the last few years um just in in so many different ways

whether it's from a pop culture standpoint and like TV shows on Hulu or

if it's like I've seen models um who are indigenous starting to get a lot of

recognition and even like in the impact investing space right and

having a lot more conversations at national conferences around it do you

find that this attention has been helpful or has it been a bit more

harmful you know speaking to what you said about the white man in the cab I

personally find it helpful I think like I mentioned early on I think as modern

native peoples were trying to Define and decide what that looks like and I'm looking for

my peers in the space to continue this dialogue and engage with because I need different voices in order to be woken up

to the range of solutions that are out there so to me I find it helpful um

others might have different opinions but that that's my experience and I'm excited to see where it you know where

it goes and what other leaders emerge with new thoughts but just the idea that young you know kids can watch Hulu now

and watch like reservation dogs or any of the other ones and see themselves is really powerful I've I mean just

watching the youth and the response of seeing themselves in media has been important it's not the only thing but it's been it's been really helpful

um I I just think you know this whole idea of others wanting to come to reservation areas and

witness that is I think will always continue to happen but we're just learning to engage with it in different

ways and be more empowered with how I respond to that type of request what can our audience do like if how can we

support um indigenous communities just in general yeah I think a lot of it is just self-awareness um Googling it just

getting educated as much as can understanding there are 574 is tribal nations in the United

States so everyone is different but if you live in a state um most likely

there's a tribal Nation nearby you at least within the state boundaries and it's great to engage and understand the

history so I I would just encourage everybody to to BR brush up on America

American history uh through the lens of you know indigenous perspectives which there's a lot of information out there

so just do some do some browsing and then after that um reach out because oftentimes cdfis do

play that Ro if we're operating within a reservation we are sort of that um goete

and we're happy to play that role we think it's a valuable role so if if there is a native cdfi in your area I would just say reach out and ask what

you can do uh there's volunteering opportunities there's being on a board we always need board members um or even

just advisory committees if you have a special talent like accounting or marketing and digital media we're always

looking for support in those systems so if that helps do you accept

Investments um either from Individual or institutional what what does that look like it looks

like a relationship um I want to get to know you because sometimes um you just have

to reach out we have a form it's great but I do want to make sure that the product that you want to support and

what your goals are you know of supporting home ownership to business lending it matches what you want to put your money into but then it also matches

the need that I have at my organization and sometimes it's a not yet and that's okay it's um instead supporting like I

said in different ways of me reaching out to you and using some expertise that you have but I do think that the relationship usually comes first with

any type of individual investment or even um institutional investment and at the end of every

episode makota we encourage our audience to join the moment and the movement and

become Renegade so how do you define a renegade that's I love it because I was

working on my introduction probably four or five years ago and actually defined myself as a renegade social worker and I

think that I when I I love that I think when I said it I was just thinking of

myself writing a Harley no I'm kidding but I think that uh I I think that it's just about

systems change and making sure that um we do it boldly and and that even if our

voice shakes like um RGB said right like we still speak loudly and it's important

uh so I I feel that in the social work space and to always Flex my courage so I just never hide from things just

continue to build that courage muscle and that's what being a renegade is fantastic thank you very much yeah thank


guys I think she's incredible um I just I've

talked to her a few times over the years and seeing how she thinks about just fundamental credit um and how she views

Community as always first in her mind and building out an organization and their credit policies around Community

First I she's a role model of mine I'm so glad that she was on Renegade Capital

everything you said Andrea she just amazing I love the the non like the

non-banking non-finance background the social work background coming into the finance and Community Development space

and kind of the fresh eyes and perspective that has been able to be so

additive and Innovative and U mcgyver is you know I think um I really appreciate

it and I I need to sit on it some more but really understanding like viewing

Finance from a cultural perspective and realizing and recognizing that what may not be you

know a value to you may be everything to someone else and how do we tailor our um

our practices in a way that you know this can still be very successful even

if it's not done in a traditional way and it's successful because you know our

our borrowers said that you know that geod and that rock is really important and this is why um and I I really

respected that story because to me it spoke really it spoke to the cultural

importance and not trying to put everybody in one box and I recognize you

know everybody may not be able to do that or let me be clear may not want to do that but that has proven to be very

successful and every Community is different and they have shown us how to

how to tailor your work in order to to have the impact that you want to see

yeah and to quote her uphold your curiosity you know that that those two

words they upheld their curiosity is how they figured out some of those things

around their risk tolerance and so that message of stay curious stay open you

know Flex flex your courage you I mean so so many little sound bites in there but really just a simple way to kind of

of like internalize a practice and a way of being I agree I think all of our our

eyes are open a little bit further tonight after we recorded this I liked your word Leah that we've reset and

thinking about that again and chance our producer wants every we to know the to keep listening

to Renegade Capital too we'll keep giving you the tools and resources to keep opening your your eyes and have

that reset

thank you for listening to this episode of renegade Capital if you like what you heard you can listen to previous

episodes on your favorite podcast platform and be sure to follow us on social media at Renegade capital or

check out our website www. Renegade Capital to never miss a new

release our show is hosted by Andrea Longton Ebony Perkins and Leah freemount

publicized by Elizabeth Gilbert ketzel of narrator Studios and produced by Yours Truly cha

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