Lillian Steponaitis

Lillian Steponaitis is a Research Affiliate in the MIT Community Innovators Lab and a Special Projects Manager at the Self-Help Federal Credit Union.

  • Just Money

    Just Money

    Mission-Driven Banks and the Future of Finance

    Katrin Kaufer and Lillian Steponaitis

    How to use finance as a tool to build a more equitable and sustainable society.

    Money defines our present and will shape our future. Every investment decision we make adds a chapter to the story of what our world will look like. Although the idea of mission-based finance has been around for decades, there is a gap between organizations' stated intention to “do good” and meaningful impact. Still, some are succeeding. In Just Money, Katrin Kaufer and Lillian Steponaitis take readers on a global tour of financial institutions that use finance as a force for good.

    Kaufer and Steponaitis visit a bank in Europe that bases its business model on full transparency; a credit union in Canada that designed an alternative to payday lending for its community; and microfinance institutions in El Salvador and Bangladesh that provide financing to small-business clients who do not have access to the mainstream banking system. They discuss what it takes to build and operate a mission-focused business, whether the Just Banking model is scalable in the face of systemic barriers, and how to assess impact effectively. Finally, they introduce the logic of ecosystem finance, in which business decisions align with societal needs. Doing so requires more than adding impact indicators; it requires developing a new business model. With Just Money, Kaufer and Steponaitis remind us that money, if used intentionally and equitably, can be just money—a tool that serves nature, human development, and social justice.

    • Paperback $17.95