In 2014, Mercy Corps Northwest, an antipoverty nonprofit, purchased a strip mall on SE 122nd Avenue. They plan to sell shares to residents of nearby affordable housing complexes, with all equity eventually going to those investors. This will help low-income residents of East Portland build wealth through an opportunity usually reserved for the very wealthy.
John Haines, Executive Director of MCN, explained the appeal as more than just a financial boost- it’s a way to empower residents and connect them with their community. “They can walk to the building and say, that’s my building. It’s the tangibility, it’s the access…It’s the visceral nature of it that really works for people.”
MCN has worked out a risk mitigation system, which will include financial training sessions for those involved, plus a guarantee that investors can pull out at any time and get their capital back.