Connecting with small is a big thing
The idea: Asking people and organizations that invest with us to donate too.
Sherri Nixon’s career began in a small department store in Ohio. She knew the customers and it felt like a community.
She then climbed the retail corporate ladder through larger and larger companies that felt less and less like community, finally landing at a multinational chain.
Her three years there “tipped the scale for me,” Sherri says. “I needed to get out of for-profit business and do something nonprofit.”
So she did. She worked for New Hampshire Public Radio until her retirement, gaining an appreciation not only for the importance of donations to nonprofits, but also how hard their people work.
Around the same time, she read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle about author Barbara Kingsolver’s family moving to the country and for a year eating only food sourced within 100 miles of their home. That led to her supporting local farms and food producers, and to volunteer for Seacoast Eat Local and donate to other environmental groups.
After learning about the Community Loan Fund at a fundraising training, another book drew her in. Born on Third Base, by Oscar Mayer heir Chuck Collins, opens with “Have you ever lived in a mobile home?” He then describes how a kitchen table meeting with a group of mobile-home-park residents struggling to buy their community convinced him to give away his inheritance.
“They (the residents) put everything on the line,” Sherri says. “That was really inspiring.”
She told herself, “You better get off your horse and do something.”
She responded by supporting the Community Loan Fund with an investment and a donation.
Sherri held traditional investments for years, but what she wanted her money to accomplish now had little to do with profits and quarterly earnings reports. As she learned more about sustainable investing, she shed some of her mutual funds and sought places her money could serve others.
She also recognized that a donation would make her investment even more impactful. “It takes a lot of money to do good work–you need good people,” she says. “That’s where I think my donations can help.”
“I feel good about helping the smaller organizations in our community, and that’s what the Community Loan Fund is all about,” Sherri says. “It’s connected to small, and that’s a big thing.”
This story was published in the Community Loan Fund’s 2019 annual report.