More Than Money
Issue #38

Money and Happiness

Table of Contents

“Bang for the Buck: Measuring Social Impact”

The Social Return On Investment Tool

Copyright © 2004 by More Than Money. All rights reserved. For permission to use or reprint articles, please contact More Than Money at 617-864-8200 or .

"A lot of people like to know that their investments are doing measurable good in the world," says Tim Freundlich, director of strategic development for Calvert Social Investment Foundation, a nonprofit entity established with the goal of ending poverty through investment. That's why Calvert Foundation came up with a userfriendly, online tool that investors can use to quantify the social good their money could produce if invested in various types of community projects in different locations throughout the world.

To use the Social Return on Investment (SROI) Tool, you enter the amount of money you would like to invest, the length of time you want to invest it, the geographic area-for example, Central America, Africa, or Illinois-and the sector you want to invest in, such as microcredit, affordable housing, or community facilities. The tool instantly calculates the social return your investment will produce, in terms of number of jobs or small businesses created, number of homes built, or nonprofits financed.

The calculations are based on actual impact data that Calvert Foundation has collected from numerous organizations in the field. Although the true social returns will likely vary from the calculated results, the tool helps people develop an understanding of social returns from community investment.

As Sam Stegeman, Calvert community investor and More Than Money member, says, "Measuring my community investment in real terms-jobs created, homes built, and nonprofits financed- that's the value of these investments for me. The social return from community investing is so much more tangible than that offered by any other investment options I have seen." .

To use the tool yourself, visit http://calvertfoundation.org/individual/ investment .

Bang with a Book: Spreading the Joy

"One of our goals is to contribute to the happiness of the world," says Steve Viglione, founder of The I AM Foundation,* a nonprofit vehicle through which individuals and organizations can give or receive inspirational books and music that support literacy, a positive self-image, and compassionate communication. We want our products to help people align with their purpose. That's how I found my true path-through reading books."

The I AM Foundation accepts donations of new (not used) books, CDs, and audiotapes that are in alignment with its core values, which include such qualities as integrity, honesty, compassion, generosity, trust, leadership, joy, love, harmony, and play. The books and music, donated by authors, publishers, and musicians, are given by the foundation to nonprofit organizations worldwide for distribution to people who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford them. Recipients include schools, prisons, literacy programs, social service organizations, religious groups, and other nonprofits.

Individuals, too, may receive free books by visiting the foundation's website and donating the cost of shipping and handling.

Since its founding in 1998, The I AM Foundation has gifted more than 250,000 books globally.

Viglione got the idea for the foundation when he first started writing books for children. "I got so much joy from giving them to children. It was so much more fun than selling, though selling is fun, too. When someone receives a gift and there is no expectation of anything in return, there is such a pure energy given back. It made me want to do more of that."

Individuals can support the foundation's mission by donating funds outright or by purchasing books and music directly from The I AM Foundation for themselves and others. .

For more information, contact The I AM Foundation at www.iamfoundation. org or 619-296-2400.

* The foundation is not affiliated with other organizations having similar names.


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