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April 18, 2019, New York, New York – The Adrian Dominican Congregation is among 105 members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) to sign a letter to Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, commending the corporation for no longer financing private prisons and immigrant detention centers. JPMorgan Chase’s decision came after an October 17, 2017, letter expressing the concern of the faith-based investors over the company’s relationship with the private detention industry, along with several dialogues between the corporation and the ICCR.
In the October 2017 letter, the ICCR members “cited risks associated with private detention centers, such as inmate deaths, poor medical care, allegations of physical and sexual abuse of detainees, and violence,” according to the April 8, 2019, letter commending JPMorgan Chase for the move. “We have appreciated the company’s responsiveness and attentions to the issues we raised in our conversations” and “commend JPMorgan Chase for making the decision to stop financing the private prison industry.”
The Adrian Dominican Congregation, through its Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB), has worked for more than 40 years with the ICCR in its mission to foster corporate responsibility among the corporations in which the Congregation invests. In addition, through its Community Investments arm, the PAB offers low-interest loans to “community-based enterprises that demonstrate a commitment to social justice through alternative economic endeavors.”
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April 1, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – In his 2018 book, Democratizing Finance: Origins of the Community Development Financial Institutions Movement, Clifford N. Rosenthal makes references to the key role Adrian Dominican Sisters played in the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) movement – and in bringing the Sisters’ social justice focus to finance.
The author notes the Congregation’s establishment in 1974 of the Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB), which, rooted in Catholic social justice teachings, brings social justice to finance through shareholder advocacy with corporations and community investment (page 73).
He also cites the Congregation’s “leading role among faith-based community investors” when, in 1982, it awarded a $30,000 low-interest loan to the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (CDCU). He notes that, of all community investors, “the Adrian Dominicans were distinguished by their strong engagement: they wanted to see the impact of their investment first-hand, and where needed, to try to help out with workouts when organizations ran into trouble” (pp. 121-122).
Finally, he cites the recent critique of CDFIs by Adrian Dominican Sister Corinne Florek, OP, consultant to the PAB and Director of the Religious Communities Investment Fund and the Mercy Partnership Fund. Sister Corinne has called on CDFIs to remember their original purpose, to grant loans to community organizations seen as too risky for commercial banks, and not to get side-tracked by focusing on the strength of their own financial performance.
For more information on the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ efforts in corporate responsibility and community investment, visit the PAB website.