ABOUT FIRST GREEN BANK'S REGENERATIVE JOURNEY
To operate regeneratively is to operate truly sustainably.
What is the Year in the Life Project About?
Regeneration is the self-restoring and self-renewing process that natural systems undergo as they respond and adapt to unexpected, sometimes threatening, circumstances. No system can sustain itself over the long-term if it does not continuously regenerate.
The Year in the Life of a Regenerative Bank project poses a critical question for our uncertain times: Can the tools of finance and banking be used, not just for short-term financial gain, but to support the regeneration of our human communities and economies, and the stressed ecological systems upon which they depend for their very survival? Can a bank be profitable and also serve as a regenerative change agent? We will be exploring this question with Ken LaRoe, founder & CEO of First Green Bank.
In 2006, after the lucrative sale of the first bank he founded, Ken embarked on a soul-searching cross-country trip, and decided to establish a new bank with a values-driven mission in Lake County, Florida. In December 2008, during the darkest days of the recession, First Green Bank was granted the last FDIC bank charter in the state. Ken then began a regenerative journey that was both personal and professional, asking the question: could First Green Bank be profitable but also play a truly meaningful role in the regeneration of the Central Florida economy?
We are joining Ken and his staff as they tackle the challenges they encounter along this ambitious course they have charted. We are also inviting Regenerative Economy Design leaders to participate in that journey, both as mentors and provocateurs. We have been meeting investors, borrowers, and community leaders whose perspectives have shifted, sometimes subtly and sometimes profoundly, as their lives have intersected with First Green Bank.
Can a community bank in Central Florida help jumpstart a Regenerative Banking Movement in America? Let's find out as we follow First Green Bank into uncharted banking territory, as the Year in the Life of a Regenerative Bank unfolds.
—Susan Arterian Chang
Director of Capital Institute's Year in the Life project.