Playback speed
Share post
Share post at current time

Revitalizing Communities: The Power of Diversified Community Investment Funds

Chris Miller Shares Insights on How Diversified Community Investment Funds Empower Local Economic Growth and Resilience

I’m not a financial advisor; Superpowers for Good should not be considered investment advice. Seek counsel before making investment decisions.

Watch the show on television by downloading the e360tv channel app to your Roku, AppleTV or AmazonFireTV. You can also see it on YouTube.

When you purchase an item, launch a campaign or invest after clicking a link here, we may earn a commission. Engage to support our work.

Join the SuperCrowd!

In today’s episode of "Superpowers for Good," I had the pleasure of hosting Chris Miller, Founding Board Member and Chair of the National Coalition for Community Capital. We delved into an exciting discussion about diversified community investment funds, a vital tool for anyone interested in building vibrant, resilient communities.

Chris eloquently introduced us to the concept and evolution of these funds, explaining their transformation from a theoretical concept to a practical solution energized by investment crowdfunding. As Chris noted, these funds are about harnessing local capital to solve local problems effectively, and he shared how these funds enable regular people to invest in the well-being of their communities.

“The background is that there's been a fleeing of the idea that capital is controlled locally to it now being controlled by a very small number of people who don't live in your community,” Chris explained. He passionately argued for the return of local capital control, which investment crowdfunding facilitates, allowing community members to contribute to local businesses and projects.

Moreover, Chris highlighted the dual focus of these funds on real estate and community businesses, emphasizing that while 60% of investments must be in real estate, the remaining can flexibly support local enterprises. This structure not only addresses urgent needs like housing but also bolsters local businesses, crucial for community vibrancy.

One of the most compelling parts of our conversation was when Chris discussed the potential of these funds to make significant, tangible impacts: “Even a few million dollars here or there, you're talking real money, right?” This statement highlights the practical benefits and real-world applications of community investment funds, highlighting their role in revitalizing and transforming communities.

As we wrapped up, Chris’s enthusiasm was palpable. He shared his excitement about upcoming projects in Detroit and Cincinnati, where these funds are set to make a substantial impact. It's clear from our conversation that diversified community investment funds not only offer a promising avenue for economic development and community resilience but also represent a profound shift towards more equitable and locally-focused investment strategies.

For anyone interested in sustainable community development and economic resilience, this episode is a treasure trove of insights and actionable ideas, all thanks to Chris’s deep expertise and commitment to community capital.

Register for SuperCrowdChicago

AI Episode Summary

1. The episode features Devin Thorpe hosting Chris Miller from the National Coalition for Community Capital, focusing on diversified community investment funds, a key tool for community builders.

2. Chris Miller describes his dual role working for a leading observatory telescope manufacturer and dedicating half his week to advancing community capital with NC3, a movement borne from economic development challenges in Michigan during the Great Recession.

3. Miller discusses the initial logical and philosophical discussions around investment crowdfunding at NC3's inception, highlighting its importance in enabling non-accredited investors to invest locally and contribute to community well-being.

4. The episode explores the limitations of charitable loan funds in community investment, pointing out their restrictions on investment returns and their charitable purpose constraints, which make them unsuitable for broader community wealth-building efforts.

5. Diversified community investment funds are introduced as a solution that allows for pooled resources to be reinvested locally, with a primary focus on real estate investments and the flexibility to support various local businesses and projects.

6. The structure and legal underpinnings of creating such funds are elaborated, with an emphasis on staying compliant with the Investment Company Act of 1940 by primarily investing in real estate while also supporting other community ventures.

7. Chris Miller shares examples of piloted funds in Detroit and Cincinnati, aiming to rejuvenate neighborhoods through coordinated efforts involving local nonprofits, faith-based institutions, and innovative building projects to stimulate economic and community development.

8. The conversation addresses the process of raising capital under regulation crowdfunding for these funds, detailing the strategic use of exemptions under the Investment Company Act that allow for raising money from non-accredited investors.

9. Upcoming engagements and opportunities to learn more about diversified community investment funds are mentioned, including Chris Miller's speaking event at SuperCrowdChicago and other informational resources available through NC3.

10. The episode wraps up with a discussion on the potential impact of these investment funds on community revitalization, wealth building, and the importance of capital recirculation within local economies for sustainable development.

Guest Profile

Chris Miller (he/him):

Founding Board Member and Chair, National Coalition for Community Capital

About National Coalition for Community Capital: NC3 works to advance the Community Capital movement. This engagement of regular (retail) investors into businesses and projects in their own communities empowers citizens while it builds financial resilience and wealth for individuals and communities.



Biographical Information: Chris Miller

Board Chair/Founding Member, National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3)

Chris Miller is chair and one of the founding board members of the National Coalition for Community Capital, a 501c3.  Among NC3’s goals are to empower ordinary citizens and strengthen local economies though community investment and ownership, with particular attention to wealth-building by non-accredited investors and to underserved populations and communities.

Chris has been working on community, economic, and entrepreneur development in Michigan for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles, including as an appointed and elected city official, as a board member and frequent chair of a variety of community and economic development organizations, as a partner with student teams from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University,  as an Innovation Fellow at the Michigan State University EDA Center for Regional and Economic Innovation, and as the City of Adrian’s economic developer. During that time, in addition to securing millions of grant dollars and matching private investments, he also developed a local investor group, led a community business plan competition, and worked with local schools to implement entrepreneurship education. While working his day job in Adrian, he also introduced and championed Michigan’s MILE – an investment crowdfunding exemption that served as a national model, and he currently has introduced legislation that would create a first-in-the-nation investment incentive available to any state resident regardless of wealth.

During 2023, Chris worked extensively on a new program the International Economic Development Council developed called the Economic Recovery Corps. Funded with Cares Act dollars from the Economic Development Administration, 65 ERC Fellows were awarded to 65 hosts from across the county. The Fellows will work full time with their hosts for 2.5 years addressing underserved communities in a variety of economic and community development projects. NC3 was awarded a Fellow to work in Michigan in the start-up and incubator space, adding community investors to capital required by new or expanding businesses.

Over the past decade, Chris has spoken across the country on the promise and future of community capital, while also working on the ground on donation and investment crowdfunding campaigns with communities and entrepreneurs. Chris is the developer and lead for NC3’s Community Capital Accelerator which is now piloting NC3’s Diversified Community Investment Fund in large projects in Detroit, Michigan and Cincinnati, Ohio, and expects to see the launch of funds in Rhode Island and Petoskey, Michigan in 2024.  In addition, the organization is working on projects in nearly a dozen states. 

Today, Chris and his wife Joyce own and live in a 170-year-old downtown Adrian building where they renovated the commercial floor for The Buzz Café and Marketplace.  Joyce and her business partners opened The Buzz during COVID, after an investment crowdfunding campaign that received investment from 45 investors in 7 different states. 

When not working on their building renovation, Chris led the team that brought PlaneWave Instruments from California to Michigan and now serves as their Special Projects Consultant.  In that role, Chris serves as the primary community and education outreach lead, manages campus arts partners, and works with economic development organizations as well as State and Federal governments to secure resources for PlaneWave.  From their headquarters in Michigan, PlaneWave leads the world in the design and manufacture of high-tech observatory-class research telescopes.


Upcoming SuperCrowd Event Calendar

If a location is not noted, the events below are virtual.

SuperCrowd Community Event Calendar

Click here to submit an event for us to share with the 4,500+ members of the SuperCrowd.

We use AI to help us write compelling recaps of each episode.

Join the SuperCrowd!

Superpowers for Good
Superpowers for Good: Empowering Changemakers for Social Impact via Regulated Investment Crowdfunding from the SuperCrowd.
We host changemakers who are using regulated investment crowdfunding for social impact--impact crowdfunding--as impact investors or social entrepreneurs, catalyzing change with leadership skills we call superpowers.