Stock options for the poor?

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The Brazilian Catholic church has apparently decided the best way to reach rich people is to talk to them in terms they understand. Instead of asking the well-to-do to give to the poor, it’s asking them to invest in them.

According to ADBUSTERS, the church is offering stock in its Banco da Providencia (Bank of Providence), which funds programs for orphans, alcoholics, and ex-convicts in Rio. Shareholders will receive “social dividends”, which are reports telling them in detail about the good works they’re helping to support.

Recent Must Reads

12/1 – Barbara Walters, soup-shill

11/30 – Skiing green

11/29 – Cheney’s ties to Iraq

11/28 – Safe sex for plants

So if “investors” give money and get nothing in return but a nice warm glow, how is it different from a donation? It’s not, really — the church simply hopes the unique packaging will reach a different kind of donor. And, since this is the finance world it’s hitting up here, as opposed to the usual little old ladies, they’re aiming for more than small change — the church is putting $604 million worth of stock up for sale.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend