Gary R. Matthews
I began my career in finance as a tax consultant with an international accounting firm in 1979, became a CPA in 1981, and I was content, for a while. Over time, however, there were things that troubled me:
- Many of my clients were greedy and I didn't really like them.
- Many of my clients were financially successful but unhappy and unfulfilled.
- My expertise was in an increasingly complex and almost incomprehensible tax law.
- I was an integral part of a financial system and economy that works extremely well for some and not well at all for many others.
My early mid-life crisis arose out of two core questions: Is there a better way to do business? Is there a better way for me to do business?
These questions led me to graduate studies in seminary, but instead of being ordained a minister I studied and wrote about economic justice in a field called social ethics, in which I earned a PhD. In the middle of my career, with a background in taxes and financial planning and a newly minted PhD in social ethics, I now asked myself, “What do I really want to be and do in the world?”
- I wanted to stay in business, but in the right kind of business.
- I wanted to work with people who care about others and the planet.
- I wanted to work with people I liked and for whom I had genuine respect.
- I wanted to do something I was passionate about.
- I wanted to do something important and that would contribute to a better world for everyone.
My answer was SRI. I began my practice in 2000, a practice that has now become SRI Investing LLC. It’s a thriving practice filled with clients who care – care about themselves, their families, people they don’t even know, and about the planet. These are the people (and organizations) with whom I want to be associated.
Together, we do something very important. We invest our financial resources in our collective future together in the kind of world in which our children and grandchildren will be able to thrive.
Kenneth S. Silva Ballard
My purpose with SRI and the contribution I make to the world is partly due to my grandmother, Edna Lou C. Ballard, whose request would change my life significantly. It came as she had limited time left here – she asked if I would join the family’s financial planning business prior to her passing in 2014, to assist my grandfather once she was no longer able to. My grandparents had founded their business in 1979.
I was a Chef for a decade before my grandmother made her request. So I listened to my heart, and I listened to her, and that’s how I became a financial advisor. In the following years, working with my grandfather, I learned about financial planning and investing, but also about fostering relationships, integrity, trust, gratitude; traits of service work. I learned it’s the people who make it all worthwhile.
At a certain point I realized and acknowledged the lack of sustainability in the economy as a whole. I was aware of how corporations, governments, and other entities often operated unethically. Traditional investing would have us invest in them anyway and look the other way. I didn’t want to provide that kind of advice – it was simply unacceptable. That’s when I joined SRI Investing. I am grateful to have found and to work with professionals who care enough about humanity and our planet to want to make a positive impact. SRI is all about integrity and compassion – it’s where I want to be.
Karen moved to Ithaca, New York in 2007 from New Hampshire where she was the Executive Vice President of a Massachusetts credit union. In search of a new direction in the financial world she began providing back office services and client service administration for financial advisors. She is now the owner and operator of CSA of Ithaca, LLC, where she assists with coordinating new client paperwork and communicating with clients to answer questions and handle routine requests. When not at work Karen enjoys spending as much time as possible with her family, as well as cooking and traveling.
SRI Investing’s primary third-party portfolio manager is First Affirmative Financial Network. Since 1988, First Affirmative has focused on serving socially conscious, responsible investors. By incorporating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria into the investment process, the firm is able to design portfolios that align investors' values with their financial goals. First Affirmative's Sustainable Investment Solutions™ process places a heavy emphasis on diversification to mitigate market risks, finding the mix of investment assets with the highest probability of meeting each client's unique needs.
First Affirmative has been a leader in the sustainable and responsible investment industry for more than twenty years, and produces the annual SRI Conference, (formerly SRI in the Rockies) the premier annual gathering of investors and investment professionals who work to direct the flow of capital in more positive, healthy, transformative ways.