Stella Tai, Manager of Stewardship Investing Impact and Analysis for Praxis Mutual Funds® and Everence Financial®, was featured recently in Green Money Journal for her article Loving our neighbor in a time of crisis, bringing a lens of faith to the reality of low-to-moderate income (LMI) communities in the age of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter.
As we take on new restrictions and adjust to the challenges and distractions of our work-from-home lifestyles, we find new meaning in “loving our neighbor” through our actions of self-accountability as we work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Tai shares in her article.
The global pandemic has been an added hurdle for members of LMI communities, described as communities where more than half of households within the region make 50% or less of the Average Median Income (AMI).
“According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “65% of households living in poverty in America are Black, Hispanic, or Native American,” writes Tai.
Emerging research has revealed racial and ethnic minorities as communities most affected by the pandemic, experiencing higher exposure risk, hospitalization, and death rates. The reality of living with low or unreliable wages means that routine expenses like healthcare and repairs can prove financially devastating. Such fragile economic conditions can perpetuate, stifling opportunity across generations.
The pandemic has shed new light on the experiences of LMI households and given us tangible ways to love our neighbor in the age of COVID. Tai urges people of Christian faith to broaden their understanding of the amplified hardship and economic vulnerability experienced in LMI communities and fulfill their duty to love and care for the poor, marginalized, and sick.
Inspired by the Apostle John, Tai calls on investors to integrate impact-and-values-driven investments in their portfolios. The article explores strategies that meet human needs and promote equity and opportunity, such as Catalytic Community Development Investments, Positive Impact Bonds, and LMI-focused shareholder advocacy.