Pride of place. It’s one of those phrases that sounds familiar, but you’re not sure why. What place are we talking about? Are there lions involved? While it’s not the catchiest phrase, it captures a concept I believe will define our microinvesting-fueled funding revolution.

Pride of place is an idea that goes beyond a physical location. It’s a sense of belonging and a willful ownership, because while there are countless influences, where you live is ultimately up to one person. You. 

What’s more, it’s a decision that can be changed at any point. And because our “place” is our choice, there’s a natural feeling of pride that comes with our decision. We’re fairly confident that we haven’t just chosen a place to live, we’ve in fact chosen the best place to live. (I know I have! #Bham) 

But is this “pride of place” good for anything? Does it actually have any impact besides giving us the warm fuzzies as we gaze upon our city’s skyline? Well, 2020 can use all the warm fuzzies it can get, so don’t sell them short. But yes, pride in where we live can influence the way we think about everything from ownership and community to the way we look at individualism and our future. 

Pride of place often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We donate to our parks and trails because we’ve told everyone how awesome they are and we want to keep them that way. We pick up the candy wrapper on the sidewalk because we love our neighborhood and want it to look beautiful. 

One of the coolest things about this pride, though, is that we share it with thousands (or even millions) of other people who are equally convinced that we have expertly selected the greatest little corner of the earth to call our home. 

Pride of place gives us a unique connection to our neighbors. When you couple a community’s shared vision with a desire to create a better place, pride can create a snowball effect that builds a better, stronger, more beautiful place. Before you skip off though humming “we’re all in this together…” know that there is a flip side to this sense of ownership.

We sometimes lose the snowball effect in our individualistic society. Our sense of self can often overpower our sense of community. We find ourselves too busy to give our time, too afraid of germs to pick up trash, and too sucked into social media to go out for real social interaction. The irony is that when individualism keeps us from giving back, it comes around to bite us by lowering the quality of the spaces we occupy. #karma 

This isn’t meant to be naysaying, but rather to clarify that building a better place starts with ownership. Lip service to “pride of place” is easy, but it doesn’t put food on anyone’s table. Talking about our love for our city is awesome, but that doesn’t usually create any jobs. 

We’ve always had the option to donate our time and money to local charities or clean up a local park. These are wonderful and should keep our attention, but they’re largely reactive. What I’m proposing is a way for you to proactively play a role in creating a newer, cooler, more innovative, and more delicious version of the place you’re already proud of. You have the ability to level up your city, fueling the ideas you believe in.

Local investing can take you from community helper to community hero. It’s not just a new tool for improving your town, it’s a virtual superpower, giving you the ability to build businesses with the click of a button. (and the transfer of $100) 

That entrepreneur down the street, poised to create jobs and world class products while putting your town on the map? They need capital to make it happen. You can now fund those dreams and help propel their potential. You have a say in what businesses launch in your city. But as we’ve been told countless times, your vote doesn’t count unless you use it. Funding is no different. 

To be clear, this is a call to act. The power to financially invest in your hometown is in your hands. The choice to place your bet on local companies or sit on the sidelines is up to you. Having a say in the future of your city starts with making a choice to jump in. 

Join your neighbors in creating a place that fills you with pride.