Social Movement Investing


One of CED’s core beliefs is that those “closest to the pain must be the closest to the solutions.” Applied to the world of impact investing, we believe that deep, sustainable change can only occur when oppressed communities themselves can design, own and govern the systemic solutions to their problems.

In partnership with aligned investors, wealth managers, community organizers and others, CED advocates for an evolution from impact investing to social movement investing to accelerate the democratization of wealth from the gated hands of the 1% to the workers and communities who created it.


While the impact investment field has grown considerably in the past decade, most capital stewards seeking social impact remain siloed from the community leaders and social movements that are directly driving structural and transformative change. Social Movement Investing advances the promise and the practices of investing capital in alignment with frontline movements to increase community power building for structural change.

Drawing on frameworks from both social justice organizing and impact investing fields, Social Movement Investing (SMI) explores and proposes movement-aligned capital strategies that help build the power necessary to address our many challenges — from economic and racial injustice to climate, militarization and the migration crises. In addition to offering guidance for transition from impact investing to Social Movement Investing, the framework also includes innovative capital stewardship tools that investors of all types can utilize in the service of a just, equitable and sustainable future.


There’s much work to be done to shift the field of capital stewardship. From where we are today, we might imagine a time when more impact investors, foundations and institutional investors begin to see the potential of investing to build Community Power. With support from aligned social movement investors, we can imagine the field of Solidarity Economy enterprises and funds growing to include a greater diversity of investment vehicles, including infrastructural projects and mature enterprises able to receive larger investments.

If Social Movement Investing and the broader field of Movement Finance were to mature, the implications for the progressive movements could be profound. For grassroots organizers, standing alliances with movement investors would encourage the integration of capital strategies as a new but essential dimension of campaign planning. Asset owners and managers would become visible on a “power map,” not only for the resources they could deploy but for the positional power they also could wield. For social justice enterprises and Solidarity Economy practitioners, the expansion of investors willing to make non-extractive loans could be the difference between succeeding as a “high road business” or failing in a “race to the bottom” economy.

Several years down the road, we can imagine a time when the majority of foundations, and a broad swath of the growing impact investing field are invested in the Solidarity Economy and leveraging their remaining investments to buttress and strengthen campaigns led by grassroots and frontline partners. And perhaps, at the farther reaches of our imaginations, we can see a horizon where we have successfully built the Just Transition we need, and where the capitalist economy is eclipsed by a thriving regenerative economy grounded in the democratic stewardship of our land, labor and capital to meet our needs and dreams.

We look forward to collaborating with you and bringing this vision into reality.