In 2009, Josh Tauberer went looking for an investment option that aligned with his values and supported his local community.
A chance Google search led him to Reinvestment Fund and its Promissory Note program. The idea intrigued him—here was an organization that accepted small investments and used them to support projects that would positively impact low-income communities. The program offered a way for individuals to be part of a loan fund that supports affordable housing, good jobs, quality education, nutritious food and health care.
“It was easy for me to see how my investment could be helpful to real people,” said Tauberer, then a Ph.D. candidate in Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Also appealing to Tauberer: Reinvestment Fund’s innovative data-driven approach to understanding the issues that effected low-income communities. He recalls first seeing PolicyMap, Reinvestment Fund’s online mapping and data platform.
“No one was really doing this back then—using mapping technology to make data easily accessible.”
That was something Tauberer could really relate to. A renowned advocate of open government data, Tauberer is the man behind the website GovTrack.us, the leading resource for information related to Congressional legislation. Before GovTrack.us, information on the legislative process was fractured and notoriously difficult to find. The site has transformed that dynamic, drawing over 30,000 visitors daily, and Tauberer has advised the White House and various federal agencies on open data policies.
Tauberer currently spearheads a project for Code for DC, which applies technology to civic problems—he is looking at how changes in rent stabilization policies would impact rental properties in the District.
Asked if he would encourage others to invest in Reinvestment Fund, his response echoes what first caught his interest and continues to: “Yes! It’s a socially responsible way to invest with an obvious, tangible benefit to the local community.”