RSF Social Finance
RSF Social Finance, located in San Francisco, California, is one of very few orgs actively seeking to and investing towards, a transformation of how we view and use money.
RSF is one of the last and most esteemed of the socially responsible investment orgs of the 1990s. RSF is a non-profit financial services organization offering investing, lending, and philanthropic services to individuals and enterprises.
RSF has over one thousand clients and more than $120 million in consolidated assets. RSF Social Finance is the trade name of Rudolf Steiner Foundation, Inc. and its affiliates. It has lent over $100,000,000 and made more than $50,000,000 in grants to non-profit organizations and social enterprises. As of 2006[update], RSF was growing at a 60% annual rate.
Lending as community-building in the 1980s
RSF provides access to capital for organizations committed to fair practices and improving economic conditions. It began by supporting independent Waldorf schools in North America and became very active in this in the 1980s. Commonly, a team from RSF came physically to school communities requesting a loan to build or expand their school. RSF team would meet all stakeholders in open public meetings, encouraging transparency at all levels. It was common for RSF to challenge the local community to raise 40% to 50% of the requested loan amount from its own resources. This seemingly drastic tactic proved catylyzing to many school communities who then overcame their own inertia and despair and rose successfully to this challenge. The process strengthened Waldorf school communities in this way.
Outside of Waldorf school and Anthroposophic enterprises, RSF actively supports a variety of small and medium initiatives, mostly food initiatives. Many of these are biodynamic or sympathetic to BD, melding ethical and spiritual ideas with practical farming and sustainability goals.
RSF was instrumental in introducing microfinance to Citi Private Bank. The company has supported early-stage fair-trade companies unable to access loans from traditional banking sector. The organization upholds transparency in lending: annually, borrowers are sent a list of those who made their loan possible, and lenders are sent the complete list of those to whom loans have been given.
According to Co-op America and the Social Investment Forum Foundation, RSF is one of the top 10 organizations which "best exemplify the building of economic opportunity and hope for individuals through community investing."
Siegfried E. Finser, Money Can Heal: Evolving Our Consciousness. The Story of RSF and Its Innovations in Social Finance, ISBN 0880105739
- Earth Times
- Calvert Foundation
- Mark Albion, True to Yourself: Leading a values-based business, ISBN 1576753786, pp. 104-6
- "Citi Private Bank leading way on microfinance donor fund", Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal, Friday, June 22, 2007
- Nitasha Tiku, "Do-Gooder Finance: How a new crop of investors is helping social entrepreneurs.", Inc.com, February 2008
- Green Money Journal
- San Diego Earth Times