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How Vittana Is Using Micro-lending To Help Students Triple Their Earning Power–with Kushal Chakrabarti

Click the player to listen to our conversation. Prefer MP3? Right-click and download. [Audio clip: view full post to listen] After he left Amazon (“one of the hardest, scariest and best decisions” he’s made in his life) Kushal Chakrabarti knew he would start a company.  He’d done well at Amazon, helping to improve its product […]

How will what you want me to do change my life?

Are you letting me know why I should make a donation, sign a petition, cast a vote or buy what you’re selling?  It’s an obvious statement, but one that’s not always executed on, despite perception. has faciliated more than $100 million in loans in a few short years. Really outstanding, except it could be […]

Creating a Business-In-a-Box That Delivers Wages and Opportunity to Iraqi Women–with Ted Barber

A $22 candle from Prosperity Candle brings you more than light and a gentle rose coriander scent (if you choose).  It comes with the first name of the woman who made it and an identifying number that allows you to send her comments and feedback.  The woman who made your candle lives in Baghdad and […]

An Avon Approach To Healthier and Wealthier Communities

The concept is simple and brilliant. When I came across Living Goods, my stomach flipped with the potential impact of the organization’s work.  The mechanisms, intent and appeal match that of blockbuster social enterprises Kiva and charity: water. Living Goods replicates Avon’s model of door-to-door selling, but instead of peddling lipstick and mascara to middle-class […]

How He Turned His 20 Years on Wall Street Into a Hub for Impact Investing –with Mike Van Patten

Michael Van Patten used to give out his entire allowance when he lived in Ecuador during high school.  This went against common practice to ignore people with their hands and pretend they weren’t there.  The poverty he saw stuck with him for years but didn’t affect the way he made a living, until recently. Click the […]

Building a Bank that Advises Muhammad Yunus and Bill Clinton–With ShoreBank’s Brian Berg

When Muhammad Yunus set about creating Grameen Bank in 1983 he asked ShoreBank for launch advice and help raising capital. By then ShoreBank had already been busy for the last 10 years revitalizing urban communities on Chicago’s South Side by funding development projects and providing small business and home loans to under-served, low to moderate income populations. Founded in 1973, ShoreBank […]

Poverty Alleviation at a Rate of 7: The Unitus Model

. . .. Microfinance hit hockey stick growth in the past few years in large part because: Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace prize in 2006 for providing credit to the poor with Grameen Bank; Kiva created a participatory platform that engaged Americans in micro-lending and financed $100 million worth of loans; and It’s mighty […]

Finance the World with Kiva

There’s a solid chance that readers here are familiar with Kiva. But just last week I realized a friend of mine who is hip to causes hadn’t received the proverbial memo. Kiva is the first person-to-person micro-lending website. The organization allows everyday Joes and Janes to lend to a specific entrepreneur in the developing world, […]

Grameen America

Grameen Bank, the institution that launched social enterprise as we know it, is augmenting its American programs with operations in Los Angeles. The first American division opened in Queens, New York this spring. Isabel Maxwell heads the Los Angeles office. Grameen America, Like Grameen Bank, is a microcredit lender, providing poor individuals–primarily women–small loans that […]