Electronic purchases of securities to ease community investing

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A Bethesda-based nonprofit foundation intends to bring socially conscious "community investing" to a broader market by offering securities for direct purchase electronically, making it easier for investors to put their dollars toward affordable housing efforts.

The Calvert Social Investment Foundation's Community Investment Notes have for 10 years been sold by the method employed by all similar securities - investors or brokers must fill out a paper form and mail it in. Many brokerages will handle only electronic purchases, which limit the reach of investment efforts.

The foundation invests in projects to build or rehabilitate affordable housing, create jobs for low-income people and support community services. It has $82 million in notes, purchased by nearly 2,100 individuals and institutions; thoughout its history, the program has pumped $250 million into communities.

Jamie Smith Hopkins

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