Based in San Francisco, our non-profit Kiva.org just passed an exciting milestone – a billion dollars in loans disbursed to entrepreneurs in 90 countries around the world. Since 2011, Kiva has been supporting small business owners, entrepreneurs, artisans and farmers here in the United States, and our Kiva U.S. team just passed a couple of smaller milestones of our own – $20M in loans funded to 4,000 borrowers. Those loans have been crowdfunded by hundreds of thousands of generous citizens, and have incurred precisely zero dollars of interest or fees.
At Kiva, we dream of reimagining a finance system based on human relationships – where a farmer’s creditworthiness is assessed by the strength of her character, as well as the strength of her credit score; where a loan provides social capital – in the form of potential customers, business advisors and brand ambassadors –, as well as interest free financial capital; and where loans are democratically sourced from individual people looking to make a positive impact in their community, rather than centrally sourced from financial institutions looking to minimize risk and maximize profits.
Of those 4,000 Kiva U.S. loans made to-date, 702 ($4.2M) have been to food producers, and 409 ($3.0M) to farmers. We have found that farmers and food producers have a significantly higher repayment rate on their loans than borrowers in other industries, and fundraise much more quickly on the Kiva website.
In March 2015, Katrina and Keely raised a $10,000 loan from 202 lenders for their urban farm, Tinyfield Roofhop Farm, in New York City. And The Greenhorns, a non-profit based in Hudson, has now vouched for 17 young farmers in their community to receive $125K in microloans as a “Kiva Trustee”.
Based on the success of the Kiva U.S. program over the last six years, we are now increasing maximum loan amounts from $10,000 to $25,000.
Loan applicants must be endorsed by an established Kiva Trustee with a good track record (like The Greenhorns, Good Eggs, Collective Commitments or Cornell Small Farms Program) in order to qualify for $25,000, as our team is highly focused on a community oriented approach to growth.
If you want to democratically cast your $25 “vote”, and join the Kiva movement as a lender, our first $25,000 loans are now live.
Dewitt is a beekeeper in Santa Rosa, who lost a third of his hives in the recent California wildfires. You can help him rebuild here.
And Chantelle is opening up the Salmonberry Saloon in Wheeler, Oregon. If her video doesn’t make you want to visit that town, I don’t know what will!
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