What We Believe
At the heart, we are an activist think tank. Our work focuses on three primary areas: our groundbreaking research, our ability to influence and change institutions, and innovative approaches to hands-on training. Whether we’re spearheading an interdisciplinary research project, training finance professionals to understand gender lens investing, or collaborating with a seminary president to publish a book about God’s economy, we spend time in great conversations. We listen. We keep track of it all. We follow up. Great conversations create the ideas, the connections, and the human relationships required for action.
Our mission is to broaden what matters in our economic decisions by expanding who has power and influence in the work of reinventing the economy. Criterion focuses on finance because it is one of the most powerful systems in the economy. We will only create an economy that works for all when people believe that they can influence our practices of finance. To accomplish this, we rely on the six pillars of our Theory of Change. These focus our attention on making connections visible so that individuals see finance and on reinventing the economy as a place where they can act, engage, and have influence.
By addressing inequities within systems of gender, we create a world that works for all. Women and girls’ organizations have advanced human rights and created equitable progress on issues ranging from health care to climate change. Criterion played a critical role in building the field of gender lens investing, a field that works to integrate gender analysis into financial analysis to get to better decisions.
Separate from our work in gender, for fifteen years, Criterion has been working at the intersection of the Christian church and the economy. We also know that churches are a significant force shaping what individuals see as possible.
We do our work by building bridges to and shaping the institutions where people work. The work requires the sensitivity to bridge and translate and the ability to create contexts which push new thinking. Criterion’s values of grace, hospitality, and the power of invitation have defined our work for the past fourteen years. We know how to invite and welcome strangers with such radical hospitality that all can participate in imagining and creating new possibilities.