First Advisor

Julia Freybote

Date of Award

Spring 6-12-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Business: Finance and University Honors






Real estate investment -- Research, Community development -- Research, Real estate investment trusts -- Evaluation, Minorities -- Attitudes, Investments, Risk perception




Mercy Corps' Community Investment Trust (CIT) was launched in 2017 as a low-risk real estate investment and education initiative. The program is now working to replicate this in cities across the United States. However, it has not been able to collect much feedback from existing investors about their experiences and needs. This paper will use primary and secondary research in the form of a literature review and original surveys to collect information about investor demographics, attitudes toward the CIT and investing, risk perceptions, and future investment plans. The results show that U.S.-born versus foreign-born status, ethnicity, and gender affect the types of investments that investors want to pursue and how they feel about having the required knowledge to pursue those investments. Some investors do not think they have the knowledge needed to pursue additional investments and identified a lack of additional funds and a lack of knowledge and experience as barriers to further investing activity. The results also indicate that investors feel comfortable and trust the CIT with their investment. This research will help Mercy Corps' CIT better understand investors' takeaways from the program, what barriers are still affecting investors' ability to invest, and how the CIT can make changes to accommodate unmet needs and help investors on their journey to increased investment literacy and participation.


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