Written by Roger Bairstow, Executive Director of Jubilee Foundation
How much money do you have? How are you spending and investing it?
An awkward silence often enters the room when either of these questions are asked. Money and what we do with it has been a long-defined, private affair. But in our society, where we invest and spend our money often defines what we truly support — more than even our participation in the annual vote-by-mail system. Where are the signs on front lawns advertising this as opposed to our candidate of choice?
Talking about money is important. It can become a tool of connection or disconnection, of love or exploitation. Here at the Trust, if how we spend and invest our money runs contrary to all the good work we try to do, at best we are inconsistent with our values, and at worst we undo any good we may have done.
With the sale of Broetje Orchards in 2018, Broetje Family Trust has embarked on a new path to address a lack of transparency and inconsistencies with our endowment and company values. In doing so, we have established screens to weed out investments that run contrary to our core beliefs (e.g. arms manufacturing, private prisons, and others). This divestment process has also led to our re-investing in areas like gender-equity initiatives, small farmer loans, BIPOC communities, and environmentally friendly strategies that are consistent with our organization’s mission.
We are excited to see where this mission-minded approach to investments will take us – leading us to move investments to funds like Owl Ventures. However, this is not light work and it does require time – time to think consciously and act intentionally in an area where we, frankly, were happy to leave such work to professionals in the past. While this is a process that will take years to fully transform, we look forward to sharing our journey with you.