Friday, October 15, 2010

Celebrating Kiva's 5th Birthday-A Toast to the Beginning

On Wednesday evening, nearly 500 Kiva staff, volunteers, fans and supporters gathered to celebrate 5 years of empowering others to lift themselves out of poverty. Remarks made by Matt Flannery (Co-founder & CEO) and Premal Shah (President) at the beginning of the evening highlighted milestones and hopes for the future. It took Kiva one year to raise the first $1 million, and now the site raises that amount every six days for borrowers. Matt spoke about the power of connected capital and its ability to bring donors and those in-need together through technology and meaning.

Kiva 5th Birthday Party at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

To date, Kiva has lent over $165 million to entrepreneurs in 53 countries (including the US). The network created through lenders is what helps Kiva with continued growth - 500,000 lenders have funded over 420,000 entrepreneurs!  Premal also spoke about the introduction of student-loans to the site just last month, and a vision for future growth in energy and water financing. 
A special thanks to Kiva's Board Members
(Pictured above with Matt Flannery and Premal Shah)

The event was held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in downtown San Francisco. Performances by Afrobeat, and a video (watch below) produced for the event by current Kiva Fellows were crowd-favorites.

The Kiva New York lending team also hosted a 5th Birthday celebration for Kiva supporters in the New York area. The event, held at Royale in Alphabet City, offered Kiva fans on the East Coast a chance to gather for Kiva's 5th.  Sloane Berrent, the organizer of the event was pleased with the turn-out and the opportunity to celebrate with fellow-supporters. "Kiva's birthday party in New York was a perfect blend of past Kiva Fellows, passionate Kiva lenders and people new to Kiva who wanted to learn more," Sloane said.

Kiva New York Lending Team Supporters at Royale
Photo courtesy of Taylor Davidson, Founder of 
Matt and Premal described the "ecosystem" that makes up Kiva and allows it to live out its mission. For every one paid Kiva staff member, there are ten volunteers! They praised the value of the network that staff, volunteers, lenders and supporters have created for Kiva over the past 5 years. 

Kiva Fellows (Class-13) helping with registration
As the event concluded in San Francisco, Matt led a toast in celebration. "A toast to the beginning," he said. "Here's to the next steps we take together to helping others through the power of microloans on"

The birthday celebration continues through October with Kiva's 5 for 5 challenge! Learn more here.

Thanks to our wonderful party sponsors!
Yellow and Blue Wines