Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kiva and SXSW in Austin

Thousands converged from around the world in Austin, Texas for South by Southwest (SXSW) 2010. The conference and festival highlighted music, film and emerging technologies from March 12-21 at different venues around town. The music festival alone attracted 1,800 visitors. Click here to check out videos of some of the performers, including Band of Horses and Broken Social Scene.

Kiva was also part of the mix of events:
  • Maria Morrissey, Captain of the Austin Lending Team, was one of 10 honorees who received the Dewey Winburne Community Service Award. The award was given in honor of a founder of the SXSW Interactive Festival, who believed in the power of emerging media to level the playing field between the 'haves' and 'have-nots'.
  • Social philanthropist and Kiva Translator, Susan Savkov, also attended SXSW and writes this on her blog:
SXSW was in full swing this week at SXSW here in Austin and I was excited to learn that Skylar Woodward from Kiva was going to be in town speaking. Skylar has been an integral part of Kiva since the early days and he is now in Paris studying French and getting Kiva France going.

We had the chance to meet Skylar and take him along with Maria from the Austin Kiva Group to BBQ at an Austin favorite Stubb's BBQ. Skylar was speaking at the SXSW Interactive Panel about Donations 2.0. Each year I dream of going to SXSW so I thought it was great that Skylar was a part of this incredible event and getting the word out about Kiva.

On Monday, March 15th, Kiva was one of the host organizations for The Good Capitalist Party. Other organizations that were a part of the event included The Acumen Fund, Project 7, Social Edge, Hello Rewind and others. It was a chance for social entrepreneurs, do-gooders, activists and people who want to make a difference to get together to meet and greet. Over 500 people attended the event with food, drink and lots of lively conversation.

Kiva had a table and a large group of Austin Kiva volunteers came out to help at the event.

Maria from the Austin Kiva Group was being honored that same night at SXSW Dewey Awards for her work with Kiva Austin. As soon as she could, Maria came over to the event to help out. Skylar had interested people all around him and we had a good amount of people stopping by the Kiva table.

Many people that came by our table already knew about Kiva and loved what Kiva accomplishes. Others wanted to find out more information about Kiva and becoming a lender.

It was great to see such enthusiastic Kiva Austin volunteers stand in the cold and wind to help out, greet people at the door and spread the word about Kiva. I hope at future SXSW festivals Kiva will continue to be a part of the event. We all had a great time meeting Skylar and can't wait to hear more about his endeavors with Kiva.
- Susan Savkov

Stay tuned for next year's SXSW Conference and Festival as Kiva continues to expand as a 'nonprofit 2.0'.