Chany, the owner of Angela's Boutique on East Wyoming Avenue, where she makes suits and women’s and girls’ dresses, is currently fundraising with Kiva Zip. (Photo courtesy of Kiva Zip Philadelphia)
A year ago, Kiva Zip Philadelphia launched with plans to fund 100 organizations. It missed its mark. Manager Alyssa Thomas will tell you the program is better off because of it.
Kiva Zip works like this: Local entrepreneurs seeking small loans match up with community organizations that can vouch for the entrepreneurs’ character and the business’ benefit to the community. Kiva Zip then sets up a crowdfunding profile for the entrepreneurs, and people all over the world can lend them money at zero-percent interest. All loans are matched by loan matching providers, such as local banks and foundations. Entrepreneurs are then expected to pay back the loan to each individual borrower in increments.
This Friday, Kiva Zip will celebrate a year in Philadelphia with an anniversary party and pop-up holiday shop. Here are some numbers about Kiva Zip Philadelphia’s first year:
- 70 loans were funded for a total of $313,125
- 93.1 percent was the repayment rate of those loans
- 59 percent of lendees were ethnic minorities
- 47.3 percent of lendees were women
- $41,586 was the median household income of lendees
- 74 percent of businesses funded were less than three years old
- 31 percent of businesses funded were food-related, either as producers or restaurants; 19 percent were related to arts, crafts, jewelry or clothing
- 45 organizations have served as community partners
We caught up with Thomas for a #PhillyChanger Chat in May. She told us then that the program aimed to support 100 entrepreneurs in its first year.
From our Partners
That didn’t happen, but to be fair, the number Kiva Zip has supported is “way more than what any other lender in the city is doing, and I’m the only employee” of Kiva Zip Philadelphia, Thomas said.
Thomas admits that the initial goal was “aggressive.” Some of what accounts for the discrepancy in numbers, though, is that Kiva Zip Philadelphia shifted focus in the second half of the year. In the first half, the program had focused on reaching arts, crafts and food entrepreneurs. In the second, it made more of an effort to reach low- to moderate-income and minority neighborhoods. It’s become more important to the program to put money in the hands of people less likely to get it otherwise.
As a result, the program recently served its first Cambodian and Syrian borrowers. Those people can be a lot harder to reach than, say, Fishtown-based borrowers that have the support of a wide-reaching community partner like New Kensington CDC.
In order to reach those entrepreneurs, Kiva Zip Philadelphia ramped up partnerships with organizations in underserved neighborhoods, like Esperanza in North Philly and Southwest CDC. Kiva Zip also hosted free workshops in those communities, helping entrepreneurs fill out their loan applications.
“We definitely want to make sure we’re impactful,” Thomas said. “We want to reach them even if it takes a little bit longer than we would like.”-30-
From our Partners
Generocity’s 2021 summer reading list
New research: Disparities in respiratory health have persisted or widened in the U.S. in the last 60 years
3 important outcomes for young people who are taught critical race theory
On June 17, First Person Arts and EMOC launch a virtual event they hope will shatter misperceptions of men of color
Nonprofit AF: We need to support legislation on philanthropy’s crappy, inequitable practices
On Juneteenth, let’s start to address the separate and unequal treatment of our Black elders
What does allyship look like in the workplace? Join us for a Slack AMA on June 25
Good food + good people + good cause = good times
Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity