Trustee: Michigan Corps Flint

Detroit, MI

Why are you interested in becoming a Trustee?
Over the last year and a half, Michigan Corps has partnered with Kiva to launch and build Kiva Detroit, which provides opportunities for citizens of varying backgrounds and associations to champion local business through microlending on the Kiva platform. As Michigan Corps' work has evolved, we have built a network of relationships with community leaders in cities around the state. Michigan Corps is excited to replicate Kiva Detroit's approach to civic engagement and microenterprise development in communities around the state, beginning in Flint! To this extent, Michigan Corps has mobilized a community of citizens in Flint who recommend local businesses for funding and rally around them as lenders on the Kiva platform. This network - Team Kiva Flint - will form an integral part of a new Michigan Corps chapter in Flint focused on supporting social and community-minded entrepreneurship. We are interested in becoming a trustee on Kiva Zip in Flint to open up new opportunities for Flint citizens near and far to lend through Kiva, and to support the launch and growth of businesses in an area experiencing exciting new developments and efforts in community revitalization.
What is the mission of your organization?
Michigan Corps is a statewide platform empowering Michigan’s citizens globally to use the web to make a difference in our home state. Michigan Corps launches initiatives that make it easier for Michigan citizens to, as “Corps Members,” partner with one another to champion social innovation and entrepreneurship around the state.
In the past, how effective have you been in achieving this mission?
At Michigan Corps, we seek to create opportunities for purposeful collaboration among our 'Corps Members'. To this end, Michigan Corps has launched Kiva Detroit, the country’s first grassroots-led ‘Kiva City’, and Detroit4Detroit, the country’s first citizen micro-philanthropy initiative. In January 2013, Michigan Corps launched the Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge, the nation's first state-wide effort in social entrepreneurship. Through 'The Challenge', Michigan Corps is catalyzing the development of a state-wide movement of social entrepreneurs supported through coaching, prizes, and peer collaboration. 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 Michigan citizens everywhere through these and other initiatives spotlighted through our platform.
Do you belong to any organizational networks -- nationally, regionally, or locally? If yes, please list.
Michigan Corps is a member of the Microenterprise Network of Michigan. All members of the staff are also graduates of the Starting Bloc Institute, a global fellowship program for social entrepreneurs.
How will you decide who to endorse as a borrower? What due diligence will you conduct?
Since Michigan Corps partnered with Kiva to launch Kiva Detroit in June 2011, we have gained expertise in the process of vetting new or existing business concepts interested in obtaining a microloan on the Kiva platform. Michigan Corps has mobilized a team of citizens in Flint (Team Kiva Flint) that nominate businesses for microloans through Kiva. Members of this team include representatives of local government, a local community development finance institution, business technical assistance organizations and more. This network is led by Elizabeth Garlow, a former loan and business development officer for a national microfinance organization that has vetted hundreds business plans for loans up to $50,000. Our work with Kiva is reliant on the leadership of this citizen network in nominating businesses who they believe have a real need for financial support, a compelling story the community can rally around, and strength of character. Upon receiving a nomination from the community, Michigan Corps will conduct due diligence with the prospective borrower, carefully considering the soundness of a business concept, legitimacy and potential impact of the loan purpose, the character of the loan candidate, their current standing with income and expenses and their history/experience with credit. Michigan Corps will rely on the Flint 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: track record in repaying debt, quality of references/recommendations, and evidence of community engagement & a sense of accountability to the community. Michigan Corps will ask borrowers to complete a basic income & expense worksheet and check their credit on from Equifax and/or Transunion to understand current cash flow and total level of debt, including current and past due amounts.
How do you plan to support the borrower, both before and after the loan is disbursed?
Michigan Corps conducts a business needs assessment with all entrepreneurs referred to the program, and has identified a group of small business technical assistance providers in Flint to whom prospective borrowers can be referred for support in the following areas: Business Planning, Cash Flow Management, Credit Assistance, Budgeting, Procurement, Marketing, and Business Certifications. As Team Kiva Flint network continues to grow, Michigan Corps will facilitate quarterly gatherings for the group and Kiva-funded businesses to gather around a call to action to support local business. Furthermore, Michigan Corps surveys Kiva-funded businesses every 6 months to conduct a needs assessment and identify opportunities to provide support.
How will you help us ensure that the loans you endorse have a significant and positive social impact?
The fact that Detroit and Flint share the highest unemployment rates in the nation makes them the best first places for Michigan Corps to focus on building communities rallied around the Kiva Zip platform. The borrowers that we anticipate endorsing are those that have experienced unique challenges in seeking both traditional and even alternative forms of financing. These challenges might include struggles with foreclosure over the last four years during Michigan’s foreclosure crisis, and job loss. While these borrowers face many challenges, they bring incredibly exciting value propositions to the community. Many of Flint's emerging entrepreneurs carry a high level of social-mindedness and develop businesses that bring the community together in new and much-needed ways. Michigan Corps will endorse borrowers that bring a specific loan purpose in the range of $1,000 - $5,000 who also have a unique product or service that will strengthen community and opportunities for the city. We will work to ensure that the borrowers we endorse not only have a real and feasible loan purpose, but also demonstrate involvement within the community.

About Michigan Corps Flint

Trustee Type:
Paused Tier trustee
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On Zip Since:
Apr 17, 2013
(40 months)
Loans Endorsed:
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Paying on Time:
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