Mercy Corps NW -- Community Investment Trust

The Mercy Corps NW Community Investment Trust is a unique model of investing, engaging residents in an opportunity to invest in local business and build financial engagement. Plaza 122 is the first of what Mercy Corps NW hopes will be a series of Community Investment Trusts. Located in outer Southeast Portland, the building is rented to businesses and nonprofits, which then pays dividends to the investors.

Mercy Corps NW calls this “a first-of-its kind financial inclusion tool created to empower residents and strengthen communities.” Through a process of learning investment basics, residents of the surrounding neighborhood invest a lower-dollar amount each month and build toward collective ownership of the commercial retail mall.

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We were asked to provide a wide range of photos and stories from Plaza 122 to help Mercy Corps NW launch the concept and introduce the idea of investing to members of the neighborhood.

Even before the CIT has fully launched, the retail mall is a fascinating mix of nonprofits and small businesses, reflecting some of the beauty of Southeast Portland’s diversity and energy. We interviewed tenants about their work, their experiences in the neighborhood, and what the space means to them.

What an opportunity to be part of something truly new!