When it comes to my money, I often feel like I have to choose between "doing good" -- that is, using it to improve the world by, say, donating to charity -- and "doing well" -- deploying it to earn me more money, say, by buying stock. But that's not necessarily true. More and more, we have options to achieve both simultaneously, and I don't just mean by buying low-energy light bulbs -- though that's good too, of course!

According to Amy Cortese, author of Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From It, we can put our dollars to good use not simply by shopping at locally-owned businesses, but also by actually helping to finance them. As Cortese explains in her book, when you invest in a small business, your money strengthens the community in all sorts of way beyond that initial investment. Specifically, locally-owned businesses usually create local job, whereas larger corporations often outsource jobs over seas. And while big companies routinely use armies of high-priced accountants and lawyers to wiggle their way out of paying taxes, small businesses just have to fork over the funds. (According to the Government Accountability Office, in 2005, for example, 25% of the largest American companies didn't pay one red cent in federal income taxes on more than $1 trillion -- yes, with a "T" -- in revenue).

With that in mind, small-time entrepreneurs and small-time investors are joining forces to finance these local businesses. In Michigan, nine police officers banded together to buy a 111-year old bakery that was on the verge of closing, not only saving the institution but also helping to revitalize its neighborhood. In Wisconsin, the Organic Valley dairy cooperative raised funds from individuals who receive a 6% annual return.

To learn more about this growing trend, we spoke with Cortese, and also visited Brooklyn-based cafe Egg, where owner George Weld is successfully employing community financing, and the Greenlight Bookstore, which secured $70,000 from dozens of neighborhood investors, turned a profit in its first year, and now offers a competitive return to its backers.



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americandoo

"TIME FOR BIG INVESTORS TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE LEAD AMERICA BY
INVESTING IN AMERICA" "WHEN YOU INVEST IN AMERICA YOU INVEST IN YOUR CHILDREN'S
FUTURE"

"INVEST IN A LARGE PROJECT THAT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR THE FUTURE"
Similar to this idea; In past history when the USA needed a Moral Boost to our
Country we built such things as; The Largest Bridges, Dams, Statue Of Liberty,
Worlds Largest Futuristic Fair, Landed on the Moon etc.

It is overdue for us and time for us to build the Largest & Best Futuristic
CITY IN THE WORLD, using ALL OF OUR CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY­.

Countries CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY and BEYOND ALL OTHERS ! !

Find a location in the USA somewhere that has the space for our "FUTURE CITY
PROJECT"

Where Our Future City will Utilize all of the Newest and Cutting edge combined
technology in the world to build our City using entirely GREEN energy with ZERO
POLLUTION ! ! !

Our City Could Have A NEW VERSION OF THE STATUE OF LIBERTY, Holding
the torch in one hand and our GREEN PLANET EARTH in her other hand, her head
raised high looking Up at the sky.

This would make a GREAT FILM based
on a True Story with the help of A TEAM OF BIG MONEY INVESTORS ! ! !

Use your Imaginatio­n think how; GREAT THIS WOULD BE FOR AMERICA & OUR
ECONOMY ! ! ! !

"DREAM BIG...DO BIG"

Thank You, Respectful­ly, Michael V. Caldwell

August 05 2011 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
davandsher

If we could replace Illegal workers with American workers, that would solve a lot of problemsand help communities.

July 27 2011 at 8:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alfredschrader

How to double your money ? Fold it in two and put it back into your wallet...Al-

July 27 2011 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bshum3

Keep your money in the community and spend locally . Stay out of the chain stores and restaurants and support the little guys . This includes banks and credit unions .

July 27 2011 at 3:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Master of my fate..

Investing directly into a small business is a pretty hard thing and risky for most Americans to do, but I always try to
use smaller businesses first, when I can. Ussually thier prices are higher, but it is certainly worth it as far as service and helping the neiborhood community. Also many franchises are locally owned as well.

July 25 2011 at 12:22 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Phil Gioja

Love this, I think it's a great idea. I think with any investment you have to be careful of the stock you buy or company you invest in, but as a business owner, it would be a huge confirmation and encouragement if local people were interested in investing in our business. Obviously when money's involved things can get awkward, and if you fail or struggle it raises the risk of bad feelings. I would like to see rural examples of this concept working as we're in a small farming community.

July 25 2011 at 10:54 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
LEE Resolution

I couldn't think of a better way to 'donate' money locally than to invest into a small, local enterprise.

One thing is certain; don't expect any return on your investment, and expect the new startup to fail within 5 years. The majority of them do.

In short, the author of this article (Ms Berlin), doesn't know what she's writing about.

July 25 2011 at 9:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
grknapp

25% of largest corporations not paying income taxes on revenue? Income taxes are not paid on revenues--they are paid on net taxable income. It is that sort of careless statement that fogs the debate over taxes, deficit, etc.

July 25 2011 at 8:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
marine1942

Very true--look how well Chris Dodd did after his loan from Countrywide (Bank of America).

July 25 2011 at 8:31 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply