2009-04-28

1 + 1 = 4

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NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26:  Microfinance pioneer...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Through friends I recently became aware of a newly created non-profit based here in Dallas called Videre Microfinance that is focused exclusively on the Sudan. What sets this organization apart, for me at least, is that it was started by someone in their mid-twenties (Iris Liang) who on faith left a high paying job on Wall-Street (7 months ago) to lead a visionary endeavor to provide loans to individuals in one of the world's poorest countries.

You might have heard of this concept thanks in part to the work of Grameen Bank the guy on the right.

April is also the perfect time to donate because the first $10,000 will be matched dollar for dollar thanks to a matching commitment (i.e. $2 = $4). Iris is currently in Sudan overseeing the administration of the first round of loans, so any donations made now will quickly be extended to the local Sudanese.

You can donate here.

Or keep reading below for more information about Videre:

MISSION STATEMENT

Videre’s mission is to alleviate:

1) Physical poverty by providing small loans and other financial services to the working poor

2) Spiritual poverty by loving people in the example of Christ


ABOUT VIDERE

Videre Microfinance Institution (”Videre”) is a 501c3* nonprofit microfinance institution (”MFI”), based in Dallas, Texas, that was founded with the intention to serve the world’s working poor by issuing small loans for micro businesses in developing countries. In addition, as a faith-based MFI, Videre intends to use its microfinance program as a platform for sharing the Christian faith. Videre’s goal is to empower the poor to see physical transformation through higher profits to lift them out of poverty and spiritual transformation through opportunities to show them a relationship with Christ.

The microfinance concept rests on the clear observation that the majority of the working poor do not lack the skills to move up the socio-economic ladder, but rather the capital to utilize these skills practically in the form of operating small businesses. With the lack of banking systems in developing countries, microfinance has become a substitute means for capital infusion for the poor. Microfinance has rapidly gained recognition in the past seven years for being an effective tool in alleviating poverty and a catalyst for economic development in destitute areas.

The market for microfinance is tremendous: There are 3 billion people around the world living on less than $2 per day. Although thousands of MFIs have formed to address this problem, only 4% of worldwide demand for microfinance loans is being met. Videre plans to take advantage of this market opportunity by addressing two large gaps in the microfinance industry: 1) 90% of MFIs are not operationally self-sustainable, and 2) Christian MFIs are serving only 1.5% of all active borrowers and 0.02% of all potential borrowers.

Videre addresses these gaps using a unique funding and implementation model. Whereas some other microfinance institutions return capital to the investor after a loan recipient repays a loan, Videre feels that as a Christian organization, “investors” in the lives of the poor should not expect a monetary repayment. Therefore, Videre’s model allows Limited Partners to invest in the lives of local Entrepreneurs by giving donations, which are tax deductible. The funds are given out as loans to Entreprenuers, and once a loan is repaid with interest, the repayment is then recycled into a new loan. This continuous chain of self-perpetuating funding addresses one of the biggest reasons MFIs fail - insufficient access to funding.

Videre strategically partners with other nonprofit organizations, churches and missionaries with existing mission-minded operations in developing countries to scout out origination opportunities for Videre Microfinance (”VMF”) Sites.

Videre is accountable to each relationship it builds with Limited Partners, Strategic Partners and Entrepreneurs. Videre is dedicated to ensuring that Limited Partners’ return on donor capital positively impacts all parties, especially the working poor. Videre adheres to generating profits for its Entrepreneurs that show a Double Bottom Line in the form of both physical and spiritual transformation in the lives of the world’s poorest, which will also create a positive ripple effect across future generations.

Check out the company's first donees.

Or become one of the company's first donors.




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