This is a true, reasoned, viable, heartfelt, practical and EMPOWERING suggestion for the city of Detroit: sell yourself to the highest team of Impact Investment companies.
Seriously. It’s worth the gamble. Impact Investors are a new breed of financiers looking for ways to put social responsibility costs and benefits into the ways and means of profiteering. To stay in the club, they actually have to practice what they preach. See for yourself. One of my favorite places is The Global Impact Investment Network.
Which is made all the more fascinating because folks don’t really know what the concept entails. They only know – thanks to passionate advocates like Jed Emerson – that they have to gamble on a better business future and be serious about their convictions. And already they are investing billions because the see the return on their investment in the concept as being helpful and worth trillions.
So let’s say a group of “Too Big To Care About Money” companies (or individuals with obscene wealth) each commit a nearly unnoticeably small share of their absurd profits — $25 billion each, with a commitment of the same amount again and again as needed over a period of about 10 years. Of course, because this is an Impact Investment, there will have to be a few restrictions … subject to collective discussion about how they are enforced. But basically they will require:
- That the investors not rename the city with their monikers or other self-benefiting tags.
- That they turn complete control of the money to a major collection of caring and passionate citizens who represent the major stakeholder groups, with such group being designed by said stakeholder interests in a fair and just way.
- That, say, only about 60% or so of the funds can be used as loans to businesses with green and sustainable ideas, with the proviso that they payback the money in socially responsible returns (or cash).
- That the rest of the money be used to build programs and projects and concept and strategies that empower people and families across many spectrums.
- That all activity done by the oversight body be posted online and made available for discussion in real-time or as damn close as possible – including all decisions about how money is spent.
- That, once engaged, said investors must lock away into another charitable entity sufficient resources or value worth at least $300 billion more to sustain the flow of growth and development until the ideas germinate.
- And that a collaboration of universities be empowered to see, review, study, publish and share their objective takes on all that happens throughout this Impact Investment Experiment.
In return for this, the investors and corporations get … warm and fuzzy feelings of goodwill.
And the people get a city completely dedicated to making and maintaining an empowered and empowering urban place that works like a fair and just nation envisioned.
See? No problem. Sell Detroit.