ABHMS Lifts Up Commitment to Microfinance, Socially Responsible Investing

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ABHMS Lifts Up Commitment to Microfinance, Socially Responsible Investing

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/13/14)—As part of its commitment to  socially responsible investing, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) will participate in Oikocredit’s Annual General Meeting in Piura, Peru, June 16–20.

ABHMS—one of close to 600 members of Oikocredit, a cooperative society that includes churches and church-related institutions—will be represented by Susan Gottshall, associate executive director of Communications and assistant secretary of the Board of Directors of Oikocredit USA.

Gottshall will write a daily blog, “View from Peru,” at http://justice.abhms.org/ about the meeting, attended by 50 cooperative members from 22 countries, ranging from Belgium and Botswana to Colombia and Costa Rica.

Netherlands-based Oikocredit, one of the world’s largest sources of private funding to the microfinance sector, provides credit to small businesses through intermediary microfinance institutions across the developing world. Oikocredit also provides credit directly to trade cooperatives and fair trade organizations. Currently, $818 million is invested in 807 partners in 63 countries.

Oikocredit found roots in a 1968 General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, where politically engaged church members pointed out that churches may have been invested in industries that supported the Vietnam War or apartheid. Subsequently, Oikocredit was established in 1975 to provide churches and others an alternative investment instrument that worked for a just, participatory and sustainable society. The aim was to invest in justice by giving credit to productive enterprises of marginalized people who would otherwise be unable to obtain traditional forms of credit.

ABHMS has held a portion of its mission-directed fund investments in Oikocredit since 1977.

“View from Peru” blog posts will begin Monday, June 16. Visit http://justice.abhms.org/ to follow the blog and receive email reminders when new posts are published.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.