Member Event
Dismantling Racism & Inequality
Faith Based Community Investing Series Part 1

Working Group


This series builds on the presentation given by the Unitarian Universalist Community last August in which over 150 registered. The event was the first step to educating and activating faith-based organizations, foundations, and individuals about Community Investing, CDFIs, Community Land Trusts, and other Main Street Lending options to fight racism and oppression.

The first convening of the series, “Introduction to Faith-Based Community Investing,” will feature dynamic speakers, clergy and congregations to introduce the Faith-Based Community Investing movement, including case studies from different faith communities. In addition, we will provide an overview of the opportunities and how best to take advantage of them based on the unique perspectives and values of the attendees.

October 6th Panelists:
  • John Harris / speaking from an Episcopal perspective
  • Andrew Schneiderman / Impact Investing at the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund
  • Vanessa Lowe / UUA’s Investment Committee + UUCEF
  • Sarah Smith / Mercy Investment Services

We are organizing this series under the theme of Beloved Community. Beloved Community happens when people of diverse racial, ethnic, educational, class, gender, abilities, sexual orientation backgrounds/identities come together in an interdependent relationship of love, mutual respect, and care that seeks to realize justice within the community and in the broader world. We believe developing relationships with and investing in local economies that serve under resourced communities is an action that can help to dismantle racism accountably and other oppressions in ourselves, institutions and the economy.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called for the creation of a “Beloved Community” in his last book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? Written shortly before his assassination in 1968. He wrote: “The goal toward which we must strive is the creation of the beloved community.” This will require a qualitative change in our souls and a quantitative change in our lives. The first stage of the process will be marked by a profound and honest concern for others and opening ourselves to receive them. This requires us to develop a new kind of empathy based on shared commitment which enables us to see the world from the standpoint of the other.

Join us for these critical conversations and interfaith collaboration! It is time to align our money with our faith, values and principles to achieve Beloved Community.


Speaker Bios

John E. Harris Jr, CFP

My wife Alice and I moved to Virginia Beach in 2004. She from Grand Rapids, The Diocese of Western Michigan and I from Cincinnati the Diocese of Southern Ohio.

For me it was to retire on the beach and for Alice to avoid those cold Michigan winters and to advance her Nursing career. For both of us, to continue our work in the Epicopal Church as members and leadership roles in the Union of Black Episcopalians, General Convention, and other Interim Bodies of the Executive Council.

My favorite activity at All Saints is the Early Sunday participation in the Adult Study Forum.

I consider myself an active Lay Professional in the Church having served as past Treasurer of the Diocese of Southern Ohio and the CREDO Faculty of the Church Pension Group. I currently serve as an Advisor to the Finance and Investment committees and a member of the Oversite Committee of the Episcopal Church Foundation in New York as well as a member of the Finance Committee of the Diocese of Southern Ohio.

John is the Managing Partner of LifePlan Partners an Interdisciplinary Network of Professional Advisors an Aggregators of Resources dedicated to helping people experience a Life of Significance and Wellbeing.

Andrew Schneiderman
Director, Impact Investing at the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund

  • Over 10 years of experience in investment management, business development, and public-private partnerships
  • Board Treasurer for Kristin Damrow & Company, a Bay Area modern dance company
  • B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis; M.B.A from University of Southern California
  • “Bringing new tools to our donors’ philanthropic toolkit motivates me every day. My entrepreneurial journey inspires me to create pathways to provide fair and affordable credit to underbanked communities locally and nationally.”

Vanessa Lowe

Vanessa Lowe has been an economic justice advocate and activist for more than 30
years. Ms. Lowe spent 21 years in federal service supporting access to capital for underserved
communities. Ms. Lowe hosts Vanessa’s Money Hour, a weekly talk show on Philadelphia’s G-town
Radio. She has a B.S. in Education from Temple University and an MBA from the
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She’s a recognized resource and
national speaker on faith-based impact investing, with a focus on reparations and racial
justice. She’s currently pursuing the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC©)

Sarah Smith

Sarah B. Smith is the Director of Mercy Partnership Fund, the global community investing
program of Mercy Investment Services, the socially responsible asset management program for
the Sisters of Mercy and its ministries. Smith oversees a portfolio that includes below-market
rate investments to more than 60 mission-driven organizations working around the globe on
projects that provide high social and environmental impact.
Sarah has spent more than 30 years working in the community development field as a
community organizer, affordable housing developer, program administrator, strategic planner,
and impact fund manager. She holds a bachelor’;s degree in political science from Boston
College, a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from George Washington University,
and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Missouri – St. Louis.


Current Partners:

ASBN/American Sustainable Business Network

Calvert Impact Capital

Faith on Mainstreet

First Universalist Church of Denver and Together Colorado.

Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund


Mercy Partnership Fund

Neighborhood Economics

Quaker National

Together Colorado

Unitarian Universalist Association |

Unitarian Universalist Common Endowment Fund

UUA’s Investment Committee + UUCEF