- Melissa, Lender
Our story starts with an urgent need to say ‘yes’ in a world often too committed to saying ‘no.’ Our story begins in late fall 2013 when folks from Kiva U.S. first came to the Slow Money SoCal community.
Up to that point, several of us had been discussing the ideas inspired by Woody Tasch and his book, Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money. We wanted to move money into the local economy through a network of folks willing to carry the Slow Money philosophies to action. We struggled with what we felt was an inherent ‘no’ built into investment laws written in another era.
Our introduction to Kiva looked like an answer. With its aggregate funding design and 0% loans, the well-respected micro lender was beyond the scope of regulatory concern. A Slow Money/Kiva relationship seemed designed to allow us to act on our goals. This was a place where we could begin to say ‘yes.’ The Slow Money minded folks of the Local Investment Networking Club (LINC-OC) became Trustees.
Jennifer and her small food enterprise, a delivery box business, Out of the Box Collective, was the first Kiva related ‘yes’ of many. We said ‘yes’ to Jennifer’s $5,000 loan. We said a very excited, ‘yes’ to Jennifer featured in a video to tell the Kiva U.S. story. Later, when Jennifer paid back her first loan early, we said ‘yes’ to a second loan. This time for $10,000. All told, over a two-year period 435 lenders, local and global community members, said ‘yes’ to Jennifer too.
We’re still saying ‘yes.’ As Trustees, we’re saying ‘yes’ to the many entrepreneurs sharing our Slow Money values of sustainable food, healthy soil, and local economy. As Slow Money minded Kiva Lenders, we’re finding ‘yes’ means ways to connect our money to the places where we live while we catalyze new forms of capital. With each of these opportunities for ‘yes,’ we learn more about ourselves, our entrepreneurs, as well as a growing community of everyday folks empowered for a democratized finance through their ability to say ‘yes!’
In my role with Slow Money SoCal, I was recently asked for yet another ‘yes’ to serve as a part of the Kiva U.S. Small Business Advisor Pilot Program. I humbly acquiesced.
While serving my term as a Small Business Advisor, I have been privileged to catch a brief glimpse of the ongoing discipline of a dynamic Kiva U.S. team laser focused on creating opportunity for small businesses. I feel my Slow Money efforts amplified and energized through my Small Business Advisor role, and I give a resounding and positive ‘YES’ to Kiva and the work they do.
And, I look forward to more opportunities for a personal ‘yes’ in the Kiva community. But I also want to spread the word. It’s fun to help folks and lend to these entrepreneurial innovators. I encourage everyone in a world of ‘no's’ to find ways towards an empowered ‘yes!’ Kiva is a great place to start.
Kiva U.S. Stories is a space to share and enjoy the moving, the funny, the inspiring, stories that come from every corner of the Kiva U.S. community.
Share your story here.