We draw on the wisdom of faith lineages, especially the Catholic tradition, to animate a community of investors working to align their finances with the values and principles of Catholic Social Teaching. We do this through shared formation, encounters with the suffering poor and the earth, and collaboration with one another.
Inspired by the Economy of Francesco movement launched by Pope Francis in 2019, the Francesco Collaborative emerged from a series of gatherings convened by Felipe Witchger and Elizabeth Garlow at the intersection of finance, spirituality, and Catholic Social Teaching. In the spring of 2021, a group of US-based Catholic asset stewards came together to wrestle with an important question:
What would bold action in impact investing look like if we use Catholic Social Teaching as our starting point?
“I am writing to invite…[those] interested in a different kind of economy: one that brings life not death, one that is inclusive and not exclusive, humane and not dehumanizing, one that cares for the environment and does not despoil it…[to] enter into a ‘covenant’ to change today’s economy and to give a soul to the economy of tomorrow.”-Pope Francis, 2020 – Letter Sent by the Holy Father for the Event “Economy of Francesco”
Through a series of funding circles, the group shifted millions to Catholic Social Teaching-embodied impact investments by the fall of 2021. The Livable Future Investing workshop was born.
Now, six cohorts of the Livable Future Investing workshop later, our team curates a community of 150+ asset stewards interested in better integrating their faith values with their investment practices.
Elizabeth Garlow, Co-Founder
Elizabeth loves to connect. From connecting deeply with other passionate change-makers to connecting the dots on our collective journey toward a more just, moral economy, Elizabeth has dedicated her professional live to economic transformation and discerning the movements of the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth is the co-founder of the Francesco Collaborative, which was in part inspired by the kinds of spaces she longed to be a part of as an investor: one that invites us to show up as our spiritually rooted selves, with deep vulnerability and a commitment to critique the structural problems of our global economy and dare to dream about our role in its transformation. Through her work, she supports protagonists of transformation that seek to draw on shared lineages of faith, spirituality, and wisdom to shape the economy. Elizabeth is also a senior fellow at New America, where she focuses on structural reform and imagines new ways of building an economy rooted in wellbeing.
Elizabeth previously championed and led impact investing for the Lumina Foundation, served as a policy advisor with the Obama Administration, and co-founded a Detroit- based non-profit, Michigan Corps, which supported social entrepreneurs. She studied political economy at Kalamazoo College, completed her graduate work in public policy and economics at Princeton University, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in 2019.Elizabeth lives in Michigan, where she is enjoying getting reacquainted with Michigan’s Great Lakes and apprenticing with urban farmers in Detroit.
Felipe Witchger, Co-Founder
Felipe co-founded the Francesco Collaborative to organize impact investors, entrepreneurs, and movement leaders and catalyze new culture changing possibilities. By restructuring power and participation in business and finance, Felipe believes we can unleash the courage, collaboration, and capital needed to tackle the social and environmental challenges we face.
Felipe was the Founding Executive Director of the Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA) where he spent 10 years building and operating a purchasing cooperative that was entirely designed, governed, and owned by its member churches, schools, and movement partners. In 2020, Felipe led CPA to mobilize $20 million in facilities contracts and solar projects, shifting 45% to Black and Brown-owned businesses. Felipe served for 4 years on the founding Board of Start.coop — an accelerator cultivating the next generation of cooperative businesses at scale.
Prior to CPA and Start.coop, Felipe led climate and clean energy research and business development initiatives at IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates (now S&P Global) and Groundswell. Felipe lives in Durham, NC and holds a degree in Energy Studies and Economics from the University of Notre Dame.
Kelli Reagan Hickey, Director of Formation
Kelli loves ultimate, moral questions and believes they belong at the center of our economy and our lives. She is an avid collector of written wisdom and is most passionate about addressing questions of poverty, meaning, economics, and human development through a lens of Christian social ethics. Through her work, she seeks to restore and deepen our moral imagination through writing, advocacy, policy, and conversation.
Kelli spent several years at the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns, where she fell in love with Catholic Social Teaching and the way it inspires a faith that seeks justice. She holds a BA in economics from Yale University and completed her graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. With Clemens Sedmak, Kelli is co-author of the book Counting the Cost: Financial Decision-Making, Discipleship, and Christian Living and serves on the board of directors for the National Institute for Ministry with Young Adults and the Bethany Land Institute.
When not pondering questions of faith or economics, you can find her hitting the trails for a Sunday long run or relishing in time spent with her husband, Brian.
Paul Mitchell, Director of Education
Paul loves being a teacher and a student in equal measure, and dedicates this passion to serve the social mission of the church. He loves to learn from world-class teachers: Pope Francis, Sr. Meg Guider OSF, Sr. Judith Anne Beattie CSC, Paulo Freire, the natural world, and, of course, the Trinity.
He studied at the University of Notre Dame, the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, and in schools of popular education in Mexico and El Salvador. He has taught at a seminary in Uganda and at a Nativity School on the West Side of Chicago. He has coached teachers at a charter school in Boston and at a school designed for and run by refugees in Cairo, Egypt.
Paul also works as lead parent in a State Department family and serves as teacher for two young sons. He currently lives in Germany.