Trustee: Michigan Corps

Detroit, MI

Why are you interested in becoming a Trustee?
In June 2011, Michigan Corps partnered with Kiva to launch and build Kiva City Detroit, which provides opportunities for citizens to champion local business through microlending on the Kiva platform. To this extent, Michigan Corps has mobilized a diverse community of citizens to nominate Detroit-based businesses for funding, and has rallied hundreds of individuals around the opportunity to lend on Kiva. We are interested in becoming a trustee on Kiva Zip to open up new opportunities for our citizen network to nominate, lend and be funded through Kiva. We believe that Kiva Zip extends an exciting opportunity to build upon our community’s momentum and address Detroit’s unique barriers to accessing capital stemming from the recession and low-barrier opportunities to start and open storefront businesses.
What is the mission of your organization?
Michigan Corps is a platform that empowers Michiganders to use the web and more to lead change in our home state. Michigan Corps launches initiatives that make it easier for Michiganders to, as “Corps Members,” partner with one another to lead social innovation in communities across the state. Indeed, Michigan Corps is advancing a new kind of service statewide.
In the past, how effective have you been in achieving this mission?
At Michigan Corps, we believe that it's not enough to create a community of like-minded Michiganders. Rather, we seek to create opportunities for purposeful connection and partnership among our 'Corps Members' centered on a clear call to action. To this end, Michigan Corps has launched Kiva Detroit, the country’s first grassroots-led ‘Kiva City’ micro-lending initiative, and Detroit4Detroit, the country’s first citizen micro-philanthropy initiative. Through all of the change it has set in motion, Michigan Corps’ vision is a state in which modern citizenship is within grasp of all Michiganders. Michigan Corps measures success by the level of engagement among our 'Corps Member' base through these and other initiatives spotlighted through our platform.
Do you belong to any organizational networks -- nationally, regionally, or locally? If yes, please list.
Microenterprise Network of Michigan
How will you decide who to endorse as a borrower? What due diligence will you conduct?
Michigan Corps has mobilized a team of over 100 citizens in Detroit (Team Kiva Detroit) that nominate businesses for microloans through Kiva. This network is led by Michigan Corps, whose team includes a former loan and business development officer for a national microfinance organization. Our Kiva Detroit initiative fundamentally relies on the leadership of our citizen network in nominating businesses who they believe have strong character, a real need for financial support and a compelling story that the community can rally around. In conducting due diligence, Michigan Corps will carefully consider the soundness of a business concept, legitimacy and social impact of the loan purpose, the character of the loan candidate, their current standing with regard to income and expenses and their history/experience with handling credit. Michigan Corps will rely on our community’s recommendations of entrepreneurs with whom they have a strong existing relationship, along with our own effort in relationship-building to understand the borrower’s character, taking into account factors such as their track record in repaying debt, evidence of community engagement & a sense of accountability to the community. Michigan Corps will also take into account the borrower's personal and business cash flow as indicated through an income & expense worksheet, credit reports and bank statements. An endorsement would be unlikely if the borrower shows patterned delinquency without explanation of hardship, and/or excessive debt levels, which beg the question of how effective a loan under $5,000 would be in making a difference for the borrower’s business investment needs.
How do you plan to support the borrower, both before and after the loan is disbursed?
Through our Kiva City initiative, Michigan Corps has rallied a community of small business technical assistance providers who have agreed to provide support in business and financial planning, marketing, accounting and legal services to businesses nominated for funding through Kiva, regardless of whether or not they are funded. This network continues to grow as Michigan Corps facilitates quarterly gatherings for Team Kiva Detroit, which is adding value to the community as a place where individuals can gather and learn how to partner with one another to create a strong support infrastructure for small businesses. Furthermore, Michigan Corps facilitates monthly roundtable meetings for Kiva Detroit’s small business community. This provides a wonderful opportunity for peer-to-peer mentorship for businesses pre and post receiving funding through Kiva.
How will you help us ensure that the loans you endorse have a significant and positive social impact?
Detroit has seen an explosion in new entrepreneurial activity as citizens are coming together to spur urban density and improve quality of life in our city. The borrowers that we anticipate endorsing are those that have experienced unique challenges in seeking both traditional and alternative forms of financing. These challenges might result from struggles pertaining to foreclosure or loss of job in Michigan, or the unique experience of getting a business off the ground in Detroit’s low-cost real-estate and co-working environments. While these borrowers face challenges, they bring incredibly exciting value propositions to the community. Many of Detroit’s emerging entrepreneurs carry a high level of community-mindedness and design businesses that have a strong social impact. Michigan Corps will endorse borrowers that bring a specific loan purpose below $5,000 who also have a unique product or service that will strengthen community and enhance quality of life in our city. For example, Michigan Corps' network has nominated and funded the city's first street newspaper, providing low-to-no barrier microenterprise opportunities for Detroit residents. We will work to ensure that the borrowers we endorse not only have a real and feasible loan purpose, but also carry a strong mission!

About Michigan Corps

Trustee Type:
Paused Tier trustee
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On Zip Since:
Sep 20, 2012
(47 months)
Loans Endorsed:
Total Value:
Paying on Time:
Not enough data
Paying Back Late:
Not enough data
Repaid in Full:
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