It is too easy to do the proscribed action and think we are done: to write to our senators, to buy a different brand, to shift our investments as we are advised. We need leaders who don’t simply do what they are told but actively work to rewrite the rules of finance, the rules of investments, to change what matters.
In order to build momentum and engage new partners, Criterion conducts research and does design work to demonstrate, at increasingly sophisticated levels, what is possible in using finance as a tool for social change on both issues churches care about and on gender-based issues. We do this by directly engaging financial institutions to shape what matters in their financial decision making. Some of our current research cover the topics of ed-tech, gender lens metrics in public equities, and new valuation techniques for municipal bonds.
Another current example of this is TOOLKIT, which engages leaders in learning to use the components of finance and investing to build new solutions for their community, their institution, their cause. The workshop provides a space where they can reimage what matters in their professional decision making, including criteria and valuation.
Our theory of change contains six foundational elements: cultural reframes, invitations to simple action, a base of leaders equipped for this work, design and demonstration of new possibilities, institutional structures to sustain leadership, and amplification of the work.