Grateful Reflections on the Big Easy

I usually start looking forward to the next SRI in the Rockies conference about three days after the last one ends, and I’ve caught up on some sleep. I had to add a little extra recovery time after this year’s event in New Orleans, but my anticipation for 2012 is already building. SRI in the Rockies may have strayed geographically from its mountain roots, but even after 22 years, its soul is firmly grounded.

Each year this event brings together hundreds of friends to celebrate our shared commitment to an economic system that balances the needs of the one with the needs of the many, creating opportunity while pursuing justice. And each year I am thrilled to meet dozens of people new to the conference (and sometime to the industry) who bring with them new energy and fresh perspectives. Most of all I get to spend time with our amazing team.

In one moment SRI in the Rockies provides a great view of the amazing progress we have made in the past two decades, a perspective easily lost in our day-to-day work. The next moment it challenges us to take an unblinking look at where we are - even to get a little ticked off - before sending us back into the arena. Like a true friend, the conference is a forum for asking the tough questions that challenge us to be better, and also a place to share a dance and remember that we are all in this together.

This year, Noelle St. Clair (Investor Relations Associate at Calvert Foundation and an SRI-R first-timer) and I had the further privilege of seeing the real-life results of our investors’ efforts. We visited the Treme neighborhood and met Mr. Brumfeld, a 63-year-old wheelchair-bound man. He spent the night Katrina hit on a bridge with hundreds of others, then five days in the Convention Center, before being relocated to another state for more than three years. My first reaction to stories like his is still disbelief that this can happen in America.

Thanks to the support of our advisors and investors, and the great work of Enterprise, our partner in the field, Mr.Brumfeld is now back in his familiar neighborhood, in a healthy, secure, and fully accessible apartment. His smile tells the story more effectively than any words I can compose, which is why we are excited to be producing a video to share his story along with other great successes from our partners in New Orleans like Hope Enterprise Corporation.