Just Futures not only seeks to help nonprofits and their workers invest and save in alignment with their values but also model community wealth-building and demonstrate that we can create a better, more just financial system that doesn’t make the rich even richer.
Unfortunately, the financial industry exemplifies the challenges of racial wealth inequality in the United States. The wealthiest decile of the American population is 89% white and owns approximately 77% of all U.S. wealth. Their money constitutes 84% of the capital managed by Wall Street, which is 98.6% controlled by white men who have limited to no connection to the lived experiences of low-income communities and communities of color. As just one example, Black founders represent just 1.2% of the billions raised for all start ups.
How are we different? Just Futures currently has five nonprofit organizations serving as Movement Partners. Through the creation of a legal “Movement Trust,” Ownership by the Movement Partners will help ensure that Just Futures prioritizes societal wellbeing over pure profit. Movement Partners are social justice organizations that are led by Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC), selected for their work organizing and innovating toward a Just Transition to an economy that focuses on the well-being of everyday people and the planet.
Just Futures’ Movement Trust will help ensure that the firm stays true to societal benefit. This is similar to the purpose trust announced by Patagonia in 2022. When the Movement Trust launches in 2024, it will hold a 30% non-dilutable equity stake in Just Futures. As the firm is successful, the trust is structured so that its equity stake will increase to 55%, making the trust the majority owner of Just Futures.
Movement Partners will also be entitled to dividends generated by Just Futures, which these nonprofits can use to reinvest in BIPOC communities that are disproportionately burdened by the racial wealth divide, the climate crisis, and the financial system that profits off of both. As beneficiaries of the Trust, the Movement Partners will receive proportionate representation on Just Futures’ Board of Directors and Investment Committee, electing members to direct and oversee the firm’s investment strategy. At a time when ESG and other forms of sustainable investing are in vogue, this will give community-based, social justice organizations an unprecedented level of control over the behavior of Just Futures as an investment firm.
Rather than rich people getting richer, the Just Futures Movement Trust is a model for building wealth in the communities that have it least.