Seattle Microfinance Nonprofit Looks Beyond Loans to Education

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Global Partnerships, a Seattle-based nonprofit that provides microfinance to the developing world, has shifted its strategy in recent years to expand its focus beyond the traditional microloans that it started with 17 years ago.

The group, founded by Seattle philanthropists Bill and Paula Clapp, started providing credit to people in Central America in 1994 with the goal of helping them start new businesses and to find permanent economic ways out of poverty.

But for many of the recipients, long-term survival of their businesses required more than just a loan; Global Partnerships started offering other basic services. For example:

-Financial education and job training -Health services and education, including low-cost cancer screenings -Business education -Agricultural training, for example, helping farmers take better care of their livestock and educating them on how to breed animals for better products

“These approaches are more likely than credit alone to help people earn a living and improve their lives,” said Elisa Murray, spokeswoman for Global Partnerships.

Source: Puget Sound Business Journal (link opens in a new window)