By Chad Brubaker, CEO, www.emochila.com
Accountants for Social Good (ASG) is a new charitable group created to unite accountants, CPAs, and other financial professionals to help those in need. ASG wants to do more than just write a check for a faceless entity. Through microfinance, ASG hopes to be part of a movement for social and economic change.
Microfinance is defined as a financial service provided to low-income individuals who do not have access to traditional banking services. Microfinance lenders believe that low-income individuals are capable of bringing themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services, specifically lending. There are currently many microfinance institutions (MFIs) that provide these services, issuing small loans with a low or zero interest rate, allowing borrowers to raise money while avoiding debt caused by high interest.
ASG primarily lends through Kiva Microfunds, a microfinance nonprofit that focuses on lending in developing countries. Through Kiva, lenders have access to a databank of low-income entrepreneurs located in over sixty countries. Lenders on the site can provide as little as $25 to the entrepreneur of their choice, creating a personal experience between the lender and the business that is being funded. Once a loan is made and the entrepreneur reaches the loan amount he or she was seeking, a payment plan is set in place. Every month, the business owner is responsible for paying back a portion of the loan until it is paid back in full. The lender then has the option to reinvest the loan, donate it to Kiva, or withdraw the money.
Kiva is more than just a microfinance system. By allowing people to create teams and recruit members, it promotes an environment of friendly competition, which fuels more lending. ASG is one such lending team that was created for financial professionals but is open to anyone. If you admire an entrepreneurial spirit and want to see individuals in developing countries work themselves out of poverty, you can consider making a small loan. ASG has already lent upwards of $40,000 in revolving credit and is consistently ranked as one of the top three lending teams on Kiva.org.
About the Author:
Chad Brubaker, Emochila president and CEO, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. He has worked as a developer for several Web-based companies and as an Internet security consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Clients included Daimler Chrysler, American Airlines, WellPoint Networks, Unocal, and Transora.