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Chuck Matthei

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

Chuck Matthei, an activist with roots in the Catholic Worker movement and the peace movement, helped found the community land trust and community loan fund movements. He served as Executive Director of the Institute for Community Economics (ICE), then based in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Later, he founded Equity Trust.

Beginning as a teenager active in the Civil Rights movement, Chuck developed an approach to poverty and inequality that linked activism, economics and property issues as a political message. His work has influenced several movements, including community economic development, efforts to preserve family-run farmlands, the community loan fund network that ultimately became the basis of the Community Development Financial Institutions, and permanent affordability housing policies in Vermont, Massachusetts and several other states.

As Founder and Director of Equity Trust, Inc. (founded in 1991 and based in Voluntown, Connecticut), Chuck provided leadership and support to various domestic and international projects. In particular, he focused on alternative models of land tenure and economic development. Equity Trust has provided technical and financial assistance to projects in the US, Central America and Kenya. Examples include: helping the last Gullah/Geechee community on Sapelo Island, Georgia acquire and protect land on their island in order to support their community and culture; acquiring 140 acres (0.57 km2) of land in the Hudson Valley to be preserved as agricultural land and used by Roxbury Farm to provide food to its community supported agriculture members; assisting students at Williams College to persuade the school to create a community investment program as part of its endowment; and a series of conferences and publications on "Property and Values: Striking an Equitable Balance of Public and Private Interests", undertaken in cooperation with the American Bar Association's Commission on Homelessness and Poverty. Chuck consulted extensively with community groups, religious organizations, governmental bodies, universities, financial institutions, and foundations on topics including socially responsible investment, land stewardship, affordable housing and other economic issues.

From 1980-90. Chuck served as Executive Director of ICE, now located in Springfield, MA. ICE pioneered the modern community land trust and community loan fund models. With the help of his colleagues, Chuck guided the development of 25 regional loan funds and organized the National Association of Community Development Loan Funds, now known as the National Community Capital Association. From 1985-90, Chuck served as a founding Chairman of the Association and from 1983-88 he served as a founding board member of the Social Investment Forum, the national professional association in the field of socially responsible investment.

Chuck Matthei was a practitioner of the philosophies and writings of Gandhi. He was an activist who emphasized non-violence as a way of life, participating in the Peacemakers organization and taking strong measures to oppose war in any form. Chuck had a long association with the Catholic Worker movement, supporting both its network of soup kitchens and shelters and its critique of social systems that harmed the poor. His experiences and humanitarian convictions were significant factors in directing his efforts toward community economic development. Chuck died of cancer on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 in Voluntown, Connecticut at the age of 54.

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