Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kiva Ecosystem :: Kiva Funder

The reason for Kiva's success is no secret. Kiva has seen such amazing growth thanks to involvement from such a large, vibrant community of participants. At Kiva, we like to call this our 'Ecosystem'. The Kiva Ecosystem is made up of infinite components. We have chosen 10 contributors of the Ecosystem that we think give a great view into some special parts of how Kiva works. This post will look into the life of a Kiva Funder, Amy Klement. She will give us a look into why she has chosen Kiva to invest in and what it is like to be on the funding side of the organization.

My name is Amy Klement, Vice President of Investments at Omidyar Network (ON), a philanthropic investment firm that was created by eBay founder Pierre and his wife Pam, ON supports organizations that demonstrate radical innovation, scalability, and most importantly, the potential for massive social impact. Kiva truly embodies these criteria. 

Amy speaking at a World Bank Conference

In my role, I focus on three of ON’s core initiatives: financial inclusion, entrepreneurship, and property rights. Kiva is one of our marquee investments in financial inclusion, reflecting both our focus on bringing microfinance to underserved markets as well as catalyzing social impact through technology. At ON, we are passionate about the idea that technology can enable greater awareness, participation and efficiency across a wide range of social issues. Our common heritage and focus on technology, personal connection, and scalability make ON and Kiva natural partners.

Puja Ceremony in ON's Mumbai Office

As a funder, ON works with Kiva to help it grow and reach its full potential. We aim to provide value not only in the form of financial capital, but also human capital, connections, and expertise that can support Kiva’s continued social impact and success. I serve on the Kiva board of directors, which is a personal as well as professional honor.

I always look forward to working with Kiva’s talented team. Typically, I interact with Kiva twice a month, sometimes more if we are working together on a particular strategy issue. Recently, key topics have included recruiting and teambuilding to maximize Kiva’s impact. My conversations with the Kiva team are always a highlight of my day. Kiva’s leadership is always looking for innovative ways to bring more opportunity to the underserved and I am truly humbled by their passion and commitment.

Potential lenders should be attracted to one of Kiva’s main strengths: fostering a participatory community of people who are committed to fighting poverty. Kiva is supported by an incredible group of volunteers who work in the field, develop content and loan profiles, and facilitate translations. Kiva’s Fellows program has encouraged 364 new individuals to become interested in social entrepreneurship or global microfinance. I’m proud to be a part of that community.

Already, Kiva has provided access to capital for people in 60 countries and facilitated more than $200 million in loans around the world. They have motivated and inspired the masses in the developed world, bringing a sense of empathy and connectedness to the globe. I’m excited to continue supporting Kiva’s talented team—and eager to see what the future holds. Kiva demonstrates tremendous potential to scale the model and bring new opportunity to millions of additional people in underserved markets.

If you are considering making a donation or a loan to Kiva, you should feel confident in your decision. As an investor at ON, my job is to understand and evaluate if an organization has the leadership, strategy, and innovation needed to have large-scale, lasting impact in the world, and I chose Kiva. Join me in making a contribution to Kiva or lending to an entrepreneur!

Amy with son, Oscar, in Valencia, Spain

With Family at Indian Holi in Stanford, CA

P.S. As part of Omidyar Network's grant to Kiva, all donations made to Kiva between now and the end of June will be matched dollar for dollar! If you'd like to take advantage of this great opportunity to leverage your support to Kiva, go to