Kat Taylor: Can a Bank be an Agent of Radical Social and Environmental Change? [Ep. 22]

Next Economy Now highlights the leaders who are taking a regenerative, bio-regional, democratic, transparent, and whole-systems approach to solving social and environmental challenges.

The goal of this podcast is to identify the trends, tips, and best practices that will help listeners better harness the power of business as a force for good.

In this episode, Ryan Honeyman, a Partner at LIFT Economy, interviews Kat Taylor, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Beneficial State Bank.

Beneficial State Bank is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) whose mission is to bring beneficial banking to low-income communities in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. The bank’s revolutionary ownership mandates that any distributed profit be invested in the low-income communities it serves and environment upon which we all depend.

Kat is also a Founding Director of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation (TKREF), dedicated to inspiring a sustainable food system through ranching, training, tours, research, and school food and garden programs. TKREF owns the social enterprise LeftCoast GrassFed, humanely raising cattle and other livestock for the benefit of people and the planet.

Kat serves and has served on many non-profit boards including the Harvard Board of Overseers, Ecotrust, Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, ProPublica, CuriOdyssey, Insight Prison Project, KQED and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She graduated from Harvard College and earned a JD/MBA from Stanford University. Tom Steyer, Kat's climate/energy activist husband, and she have four grown children.

In this interview, Ryan and Kat discuss a number of topics, including:

  • How Beneficial State Bank is addressing systemic challenges in our financial system

  • The debate about growing her bank or staying the same size, and why she believes that it is hard to shift economic prosperity without at least some growth

  • Why Kat and her husband Tom Steyer are focused on banking, climate change, and regenerative agriculture

  • The books, organizations, and thought leaders that have influenced her thinking

  • The one thing that anyone listening can do to make a difference in our financial system

  • And much more


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Ryan Honeyman is a Partner at LIFT Economy and author of The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good (Berrett-Koehler Publishers). LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @honeymanconsult or email him ryan@lifteconomy.com.