What are you doing for your community?
Hundreds of students across the US responded to this question asked at last year’s Lend for America Summit by starting microfinance initiatives at their college.
“That’s 32 universities in 19 states disbursing $376,000 in microloans to underserved communities nationwide,” said Charity Yoro of Lend for America.
Lend for America is an alliance founded in 2009 in response to a growing number of students starting microfinance institutions to spur economic development in their communities. It provides technical assistance and creates networking opportunities for these organizations.
Every year, the Lend for America Summit invites students to come together for a weekend of training and peer learning. This year, the fifth annual event will take place on October 11 to 13 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
“In Philadelphia, our goal is to bring together the next generation of leaders to offer training on how young people can make a meaningful impact in their local communities,” said Vanessa Carter, Executive Director of Lend for America.
The agenda will focus on best practices for microlending and enabling students to help the working poor in their communities, including some of America’s most troubled cities such as Durham, North Carolina and New Brunswick, New Jersey.
One of the goals of the summit is to encourage students to start campus microfinance institutions or “Campus MFIs”. As a member organization of Lend for America, Campus MFIs receive support such as access to a resource library, small grants, and on-site consulting. Membership fees last year were $200.
Intersect Fund, the parent organization of Lend for America, was also a student-led initiative out of Rutgers University. Today, it is one of New Jersey’s largest microlenders.
CITI Community Development is this year’s lead sponsor. Other sponsors include Campus Philly and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
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