“It is extremely important that my money not do things I’m morally unwilling to do myself.”
Before becoming ordained as an Episcopal priest almost 20 years ago, the Reverend Sister Laurian Seeber worked for a company that researched, developed and manufactured high-tech projects. At one point, she was assigned to a project that involved working on bombers. Though she remembers feeling nervous about it, she talked to her supervisor, explaining that as a pacifist, she couldn’t work on projects involving implements of war. Happily, she was assigned to a different project - and kept her job.
That would not be the last time Sister Laurian would take a firm moral stand. Years later, when she became the custodian of her father’s trust, she wanted to invest with the Vermont Community Loan Fund because, she explains, “It is extremely important that my money not do things I’m morally unwilling to do myself.”
When first she mentioned the Loan Fund to the then-manager of her father’s trust (who worked at one of the large investment firms that would ultimately collapse in the current economic upheaval) he was skeptical. He urged her to keep the funds in traditional investment vehicles.
However, Sister Laurian realized that the priority of such large investment firms is profit rather than social impact, and that the morality of the companies in which the funds are invested does not play a role in decision making. By investing with VCLF, Sister Laurian was able to keep her money local as well as have it do the good in the community.
Sister Laurian is most passionate about VCLF’s affordable housing loan program. Besides supporting affordable housing by investing with the Loan Fund, she became personally involved early on in a VCLF-financed housing project. In 1992, as the coordinator of a group from Christ Episcopal Church in Montpelier, she personally raised $40,000 toward Montpelier’s North Street housing project by asking many individuals to donate at least one dollar and to sign a petition indicating that the community welcomed such a development. She is happy that, as she gets older and perhaps less able to take such an active role in the community, the funds she has invested in VCLF will continue to do good on her behalf.
In addition to knowing that funds invested in VCLF are benefiting the community, Sister Laurian also values the security of investing with the Loan Fund, something that has become more important as she plans her retirement and beyond. VCLF is playing a crucial role in Sister Laurian’s estate planning. In her will, she states that she “has faith in two entities, the Episcopal Church and the State of Vermont”. By making arrangements to leave her investment with VCLF after her death, with the interest on these investments benefiting the Diocese, she is able to ensure the continued support of the two things that mean so much to her.