“For a long time, we wanted to align our savings with our values. Now, thanks to VCLF, we’re finally able to.”
For many years, Deborah Messing and her husband Bob were big fans of VCLF, but felt they weren’t yet in a financial position to invest. They’d come to Vermont from New York City’s Lower East Side in the 1960s, to live on the land and off the grid. “Bob, the poet slash logger slash philosopher, and me,” chuckles Deborah.
During her 20-plus years as a buyer for Montpelier’s Hunger Mountain Coop (a VCLF borrower), Deborah successfully lobbied for a 401k plan that offered socially responsible investment options. “It made no sense to me to devote my working days to supporting an alternative to the mainstream economy, and then to invest my savings in companies whose goals conflicted with that very vision,” she says.
As they edged closer to retirement towards the end of the 2000’s, Wall Street “went south” and, with it, mainstream rates of return. “For a long time, we wanted to align our savings with our values. Now, thanks to VCLF, we’re finally able to.” recalls Deborah. The Messings now say that since their very first investment with VCLF, “we’ve always felt that our savings were in good hands, both fiscally AND ethically.”
Today, they’re particularly passionate about the Loan Fund’s support of local alternative energy production. “I’m increasingly concerned about the effects of climate change, and I’ve become interested in the movement to divest from fossil fuel companies and from the banks that lend money to them,” she says.
“I hope that my neighbors who have savings will scrutinize their investments and consider divesting from at least the most egregious fossil fuel companies. I hope they’ll consider re-investing in sustainable alternatives - VCLF being one of the best choices, in my opinion,” she adds.