Behind the Scenes at the Kiva San Francisco Launch Party

What does it take to put on the biggest Kiva event in history?

Over 1,000 people came out to celebrate Kiva's San Francisco City Launch on October 1, 2015. I began my Fellowship exactly 18 days ago after moving to San Francisco to work as a Kiva Fellow. In just three short weeks I’ve been impressed by the energy and community of the Kiva Zip team.

For months, the Kiva Zip team in the US has been preparing for the San Francisco City Kiva Launch and my first weeks were inundated with meeting trustees, helping borrowers with their profiles and pictures, and supporting as many local businesses on the website as possible. 

San Francisco City Hall glowing Kiva green!

Inside the beautiful San Francisco City Hall.

The big day finally arrived and at the launch we had 34 San Francisco small business owners on the Kiva Zip site.

Kiva’s partnership with the City of San Francisco is to bring at least 1,000 small business owners 0% interest loans of up to $10,000 in the next 5 years. You can read all about the San Francisco City Launch here and here.

Who are the people behind the scenes at the Kiva San Francisco Launch event? 

Borrowers - willing to share their stories and time.

Borrower Ted shares a sample of homemade soap with Siggi, one of the first borrowers to lend $25 dollars to him for his Kiva loan. Ted is fundraising $5,000 to buy supplies and market his business before the holiday season.

Borrower Marla is setting up her designs two hours before the Kiva event is set to begin. Marla used Kiva to get a loan for $900 to start her website.

Lenders – Enthusiastic to lend and repeat on the Kiva website. 

Ammar walks Theresa through the process of making a loan at the Kiva lending station.

Joyce and Mahsa set up the lending stations to connect lenders and borrowers!

Trustees – Working together to collectively support neighborhood small businesses. 

The Excelsior Action Group (EAG) was the trustee that endorsed Connection Chiropractic on Kiva. Connection Chiropractic is located in the Excelsior neighborhood of San Francisco. Elizabeth from Connection Chirpractic joined us for the launch. Stanley from EAG  reached out to every business on the main street in the Excelsior district of San Francisco to share information about Kiva loans!

Staff – Putting in the long hours to ensure that dreams are realized and opportunity is not a barrier to success. 

Kiva staff members arrange nametags, place cards and everything else in between!

Interns and Fellows – Energized by the power of personal connections to small business owners. 

Kiva interns and fellows celebrating a successful launch on the steps of San Francisco City Hall.

You can be a part of Kiva’s commitment to San Francisco by visiting and making a loan today! 

About the author

Robin Kendall

Robin has been dreaming of working for Kiva for the last 8 years after she founded the Kiva lending club at the University of Virginia. Originally from Woodberry Forest, Virginia, Robin graduated from UVA with a double major in Finance and Global Development Studies. Given her deep belief in social justice, she went on to work for Teach For America in the Hawaii corps teaching 7th and 8th grade math at Honoka’a High and Intermediate School. After spending the school year with the energy and enthusiasm of middle school students, she spent her summers at the equally exciting “I Know I Can” Summer Academy in Ramallah, West Bank. She received a National Association of Charter School Authorizers Fellowship in North Carolina to work as an education consultant in the Department of Public Instruction’s Office of Charter Schools. In this role she helped create a Charter School Performance Framework. She enjoys scuba diving, Arabic ice cream, and UNESCO World Heritage sites.