Today at noon (Central), President Clinton will announce the launch of "Kiva City" at the Clinton Global Initiative America conference in Chicago.
Kiva City is a new way for Kiva to accelerate the growth of U.S. microfinance by empowering communities to join the movement.
In August of last year, Kiva announced a partnership with Visa — supported by a $1 million contribution from the company — to expand opportunities for U.S. small businesses to benefit from the power of microloans. The announcement coincided with a major Kiva expansion in the Gulf Coast through the addition of ACCION Texas-Louisiana, the largest microfinance institution in the country, to the Kiva Field Partners network.
Visa asked our team at Kiva if it was possible to accelerate the growth of microfinance in the United States. We had been working to do this by raising awareness of availability of microloans administered by our field partners, and supporting the growth of current field partners. But we realized that our existing partnership strategy didn't enable us to proactively bring microfinance to the areas where small businesses are facing the toughest challenges.
To addresses this challenge, Kiva created a new distribution model in the U.S. to bring microlending to all corners of the country where microfinance institutions have yet to establish local branches. The new model, called Kiva City, works with a number of organizations to support the three components of microlending – sourcing businesses, helping them to apply for microloans and funding the loans on Kiva.
Each Kiva City will be an alliance between four groups:
1. Kiva - Kiva brings its personal microlending website, with more than 595,000 lenders and over $220 million dollars in total loans.
2. Civic Leaders – Mayors, State and Congressional Representatives, and other elected officials can support Kiva City by publicly declaring their commitment to support the alliance of local partners with Kiva to reach small businesses in need with microfinance loans.
3. Community Organizations - Community groups provide the feet on the ground that find local small businesses, and encourage them to apply for loans through the established field partner in the Kiva City initiative.
4. Financial institutions – A financial field partner will use their time-tested field experience and processes to qualify and administer loans to borrowers.
Kiva Detroit launched today as the first Kiva City with our partners Michigan Corps and ACCION USA. "Through our partnership with Kiva and ACCION USA, we’ve been able to bring the tools of microfinance to our neighborhood businesses so that they can invest in their growth. Through local networking events, church gatherings, and neighborhood BBQs, we have built an engaged community of small business owners and lenders alike. Detroit is proud to be the pioneer of the Kiva City model." said Anuja Jaitly, co-founder and executive director of Michigan Corps. Read more about Kiva Detroit & make a loan to one of our first Detroit borrowers at kiva.org/detroit
We are looking for community organizations to partner with us as our feet on the ground across U.S. cities – if you're interested, please go to kiva.org/kivacity to apply as a Kiva Community Organization partner!