Welcome to Make Change
Most of the time, change is good. Except when it isn’t.
Right now, a week after a stunning presidential election, the only thing that seems certain is that the United States is in the midst of change. Many Americans are now deeply worried about the status of the positive changes they’ve seen over several years—painstaking societal progress on the environment, civil rights, women’s rights. Other Americans are energized to change a government that they didn’t feel was working for them.
These changes will affect all of us. That’s why we’re launching “Make Change.” The topics we’re covering couldn’t be more relevant. Our feature stories, columns, interviews, and curated briefs are created for those who want to change their community, their country, and the world through the ways we spend, save, and invest our money.
Make Change is a project of Aspiration, a financial company I first covered as a journalist. I was intrigued by their approach of not only making investing and banking attainable to the middle class, but by its auxiliary mission of explaining complicated financial concepts to everyone. It is no secret that Americans need help building wealth, far too few have emergency savings, much less a retirement plan. To live in a state of financial scarcity is to live in a state of panic, one that Casey Hynes describes poignantly in her column for us about the psychology of money. We will build on Aspiration’s commitment to providing understandable, engaging ways to talk about personal finance and its commitment to bring sustainability and fairness to the financial world. Because a financially secure citizen is a less fearful, more civically engaged citizen.
An economically stable citizen is also a more thoughtful consumer. And to that end, we follow businesses that have values beyond the bottom-line. Long ago, this idea of corporate social responsibility seemed so novel that I wrote my college thesis about it. Now even my corner bodega carries a small selection of fair trade, environmentally friendly, socially conscious ice cream. I speak, of course, about Ben & Jerry’s, a company that led the way in proving that a values-driven business model could not only be successful, it could influence corporate giants like Unilever, too. Jed Oelbaum writes about how the Vermont ice cream enterprise is pushing itself to continue its mission of social involvement in a way that is meaningful to a new generation. Which sometimes means taking powerful stands you might not expect from the makers of Phish Food.
If a business can make money and make a difference at the same time, we individual citizens can, too. At Make Change, we hope to inspire you to do just that.