Five Year Report on FINCA Haiti

Five years after our original loan to FINCA Haiti, we’ve received a very nice report on the program. (We’ve previously also reported on this program here.

It turns out (much to our surprise) that we provided about 10% of the pool available for microloans in Haiti, and that at any given time, our funds have provided support to some 400 families there. We’re very encouraged to hear about the impact of FINCA’s Haiti program, and our contribution to it. We’ll be leaving the loaned funds there for now, where they will continue to cycle through new microloans and clients.

Posted 10 months, 2 weeks ago at 12:00 pm.

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Another View of FINCA Microloans in Haiti

As described here, we made a long-term $50,000 loan to FINCA, in early 2012, to be used for microloans in Haiti. We had looked for other ways to do something helpful in Haiti, given the terrible series of disasters there, as well as an ineffective government and many other problems. Initially, we donated funds to Catholic Relief Services for use immediately after the 2010 earthquake. But one of the (several) problems with charitable emergency response is that it tends to be very short-term. Donors forget, or move on to the next disaster. Our orientation is to look for long-term, sustainable ways to make a difference. We were in negotiation with FINCA anyway, and when they offered Haiti as one of the possible applications for our loan, we agreed.

A bit later, we discovered that another NGO, Sustainable Communities Fund (SCF), had made an almost identical arrangement. Kim LaFranchi, their Director of Operations, then made a trip to Haiti to learn more about how the program operates, and how well it was working. She and SCF have kindly allowed us to post the report of that visit on our website. We’re very pleased to do so, as it provides a more concrete view of how microfinance works, and specifically how the program we’re sponsoring in Haiti works.

The report is here.

Posted 4 years, 6 months ago at 4:52 am.

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Loan to FINCA for Use in Haiti

Microfinance is clearly one of the more effective ways of enabling small-scale entrepreneurs in developing countries. We’re particularly impressed with the activities of FINCA, which has a great history of effectively providing microloans in such areas. We like supporting FINCA with donations, which help with their overhead, but we’ve wished we had a way to help provide lendable funds. And it turns out that we do.

For one of our 2011-2012 special projects, we took advantage of a special relationship between FINCA and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation (aka Greater Horizons), where our donor-advised fund is housed. This special relationship allowed us to make a significant loan to FINCA, which they in turn will use (repeatedly) to make small loans to entrepreneurs. When our loan to FINCA comes due — after being used for 500 or more individual loans by FINCA — we’ll likely receive the entire principal back, or very nearly that, but we think those funds will have accomplished a lot in the meantime. We’ll see. We’ll also have the option to allow FINCA to continue using the funds, year-by-year, if we choose.

In addition, we had a choice of geographical areas in which these funds might be used. We chose Haiti, at least for the initial term of the loan. We had provided some short-term help (through Catholic Relief Services) after the 2010 earthquake, but we try to use the bulk of our grants to fund programs with a long-term focus and a sustainable approach. We think this FINCA project fills the bill.

Posted 5 years, 10 months ago at 5:41 am.

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