Captain Craig Spotlight

Spotlight from the Kiva blog dated 2/10/16

http://blog.kiva.org/2016/02/10/team-captain-spotlight-2-craig-from-a-team

Welcome to our second team captain spotlight! Today, we would like you to meet Craig, captain of the A+ Team. Craig is a loyal Kiva lender and member of multiple lending teams. In addition to the A+ Team, Craig is also a team captain of LGBT, Supporting Widows and Single Parents, Half the Sky, and the Global Microlending Network for Women. He joined as captain of A+ team last year and has played a vital role in their development and growth. To date, the A+ Team has 34,737 members and has contributed to 424,347 loans. Read below to learn about Craig’s experience on Kiva!

How did you get involved with Kiva and this team?

A friend of mine turned me on to Kiva back in December 2011. I made my first loan to a carpenter in Iraq. I was highly skeptical of Kiva and whether borrowers would actually repay, so I waited to see if this Iraqi carpenter actually repaid. After getting a few repayments, I made more loans. That was around the time I joined A+ and many other teams because I had so much to learn. I was flying by the seat of my pants, and I realized I needed to be smarter about my lending.

What is your favorite memory as member of A+ Team that you would like to share with the Kiva community?

In July 2014, I adapted an idea from the Kiva Flash Mob team and launched the A+ Monday Mob Loan. It started on the team’s Facebook group page. Now, every Monday at 2 p.m. Kiva/San Francisco time, we boost a worthy loan that has gone too unloved. To date, we have mobbed 80 loans worth more than $270,000 in total loan value across dozens of field partners. All of those were loans within about a week of expiring, and each of them was successfully funded. And we’re not talking about loans that needed small amounts, either. We’re talking about loans that needed anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 to finish. These were not easy undertakings. But we get them done.

In addition to the A+ Monday Mob Loan – which anyone in Kivaland can support and credit to the team of their choice – my greatest memory is the creation of the A+ Impact Fund, a collaborative endeavor with the Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB). People who want to support Kiva and its borrowers but do not want the burden of selecting loans can donate to the A+ Impact Fund at the FBB portal. This initiative was the brainchild of fellow captain Bruce, and it is my honor and privilege to select the loans supported by the Impact Fund. Launched in October 2015, the A+ Impact Fund has made nearly $12,000 in loans to 55 countries. Those numbers will increase dramatically in the months ahead. I select loans that are safe, secular, and short-term from field partners with exceptional performance data. We also now have the A+ Convenience Store—a valuable resource for team members and others who want to support Kiva borrowers but do not want to spend time searching thousands of loans. It is updated regularly and posted on the A+ team message board and the A+ Facebook group page. In addition, we also have the LoanA+Thon twice a year led by fellow captain Nancy, and we have so many members doing very important work behind the scenes – like what Katy is doing with our Twitter account.

These types of initiatives fill me with excitement, and I eagerly look forward to the new ideas that will emerge in the months and years to come.

What do you like about being a team captain of A+ Team?

I like being able to help guide people toward loans that harbor the greatest potential for them to get their money back.

What do you believe makes a good team captain?

In an ideal world, a good team captain has the time and resources to dedicate to a team. But one’s ability to dedicate time and resources should not exclude someone from being a captain. Thought leadership and strategic planning are woefully undervalued. And this is where other A+ team captains excel. I am a worker bee, and I am more than content to fill the “worker bee” role. Successful teams need at least one worker bee. But the A+ team wouldn’t be where it is had it not been for thought leadership and strategic planning – skills that fall within the wheelhouse of other A+ team captains.

Who do you like to lend to?

I am passionate about my repeat borrowers. We’re talking about people who have successfully repaid a loan. These people are proven quantities. They present less risk to lender. Why aren’t all Kiva lenders seeking to support borrowers with a proven track record for repayment?
I am also passionate about loans to widows, single, mothers, and single women. That’s my pro-intersectional feminism coming out. I am passionate about the borrowers who are so bold to self-identify as being somewhere on the LGBT spectrum.  And then there are the El Salvador Anonymous loans. These are borrowers who live in some of the most violent regions of our world – so violent that they cannot risk revealing their identity. The same goes for borrowers in the Central American Triangle as a whole. These borrowers are my wheelhouse.

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A+ Team – One million loans and counting

http://blog.kiva.org/2016/12/01/a-team-one-million-loans-and-counting

What are the odds that a group of Atheists and other non-believers in God would ever make one million no-interest loans to small business owners around the world? It’s just a guess: one in a million.
Yet, the A+ Team on Kiva has done just that. How, and more importantly, why? Quite simply, we know that it takes people to help people. “It gives me personal satisfaction to know that, in a small way, with each loan, I have been a positive force in the life of another human,” says Nancy Somers, an A+ Team member and co-captain.
Being the first of almost 40,000 teams on Kiva to reach the million loan milestone helps shatter a common stereotype that some Atheists and non-believers are uncaring, selfish people who lack a moral compass.
When it comes to giving, caring and sharing, the A+ Team’s compass points in every direction. Members have made loans to empower entrepreneurs in 88 countries. That’s every nation where Kiva has facilitated loans.
The A+ Team has contributed to nearly half of the loans funded through Kiva, according to Kiva’s Chelsa Bocci. Bocci, who serves as VP of Marketing & Community, adds that A+ Team loans span the entire breadth of Kiva’s work.
On average, each of the team’s 36,000 members has made more than two dozen loans. “Going forward, I hope this is just the starting point in a long and productive process that sees quality of life improve across the world,” says LenderJ, from San Francisco, California.
About seven in every 10 A+ Team loans have gone to women entrepreneurs or groups led by females. Most have supported agriculture, food and retail segments of the economy. A+ Team loans add up to almost $30,000,000. Thousands of dollars in new team loans are added daily!
When Kiva let its members create and manage teams, in 2008, lending kicked into overdrive. It rallied people with similar interests to band together, by creating distinct communities within Kiva. People from all walks of life, faiths and philosophies continue to respond to Kiva’s call to action.
Maria, who co-captains the Christian team on Kiva in Germany, believes “The work is a bridge between us!” She is referring to our common goal to alleviate poverty worldwide.
Making one million loans would not have been possible without Kiva, its supporters and field partners, extremely generous loan lenders and A+ Team co-captains.
Make a $25 loan with a repayment rate of better than 97% inspires lender confidence. Kiva’s use of photos enables each lender to see the face of virtually every person they choose to support. And by including a brief story about each entrepreneur, lenders gain some insight into their struggles and aspirations. This one-to-one connection promotes compassion.
The A+ Team’s eight co-captains, who come from the Australia, Germany, Canada and the United States, are hands-on volunteers who tend to the team and its members daily.
Innovations like the A+ Team’s “Convenience Store” make it easy for busy team members to choose from a group of hand-picked, short-term loans, considered low-risk and mostly secular.
The “A+ Team IMPACT Fund at Foundation Beyond Belief” is an endowment that ensures money contributed by donors will be loaned over and over again in perpetuity.
Team loan challenges encourage members to loan more money, more often. Team captains manage the team’s message board that has over 45,000 questions and comments. Our Facebook page, Twitter account and website keep members up to date.
Going forward, the A+ Team will continue to help the least advantaged among us succeed, with no expectation of a reward.
Do you want to enrich the lives of people around the world? Become an active lender on Kiva. Join our team or others that mirror your passions.
“A+” has a double meaning. It stands for: Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious. “A+” is also a symbol of achievement and excellence.
Reaching one millions loans is an important milestone. But economic inequality persists. Going forward, with humility, passion and goodwill towards all, the A+ Team will strive to live up to its name.
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Chris Allen is an A+ Team co-captain and founder of the Humanist team on Kiva. He is a volunteer loan editor and Kiva’s November 2016, Volunteer of the Month.

Atheists and Non-Believers Lend $25,000,000 to Impoverished Entrepreneurs Around the World

For Immediate Release          Contact: Chris Allen          407.617.8888

Atheists and Non-Believers Lend $25,000,000 to Impoverished Entrepreneurs Around the World.

Orlando, FL – The A+ Team has helped to alleviate poverty in 88 countries and is the first team on Kiva.org to cross $25,000,000 in lending. Women received more than 70% of the no-interest loans.

“A+ Team members are concerned, compassionate and generous,” says Nancy Somers, co-captain of the 35,000 member team.” We enjoy helping others without any expectation of a future reward.”

A+ Team micro-loans support diverse small business owners who don’t have access or enough credit to receive traditional loans from banks. Many loans focus on agriculture, food and retail in places like the Philippines, Peru and Kenya. A+ Team members have contributed to nearly half of the more than one million loans funded through Kiva.

“The A+ Team has had an astonishing impact on Kiva. The amount of money they’ve collectively lent is staggering. Their loans span the entire breadth of Kiva’s work,” says Chelsa Bocci, Kiva’s VP of Marketing & Community.

Kiva is a San Francisco based non-profit organization that connects people through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to create opportunity around the world. Its loan repayment rate is impressive, over 98%!

The A+ Team is composed of Atheists, plus Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and Non-Religious people from around the world. Founded in 2008, the A+ Team has co-captains in the USA, Canada, Germany and Australia.

To see the A+Team’s lending total, visit: https://www.kiva.org/team/atheists/

A+ Atheist Team is World’s #1 Lending Team on Kiva… Tops $20 Million Loaned to Working Poor

8 April 2015

MEDIA RELEASE

Contact: Nancy Somers

“A+” ATHEIST TEAM IS WORLD’S #1 LENDING TEAM ON KIVA…TOPS $20 MILLION LOANED TO WORKING POOR

People with no religious beliefs are working together to create real, positive change in the lives of impoverished and struggling small business owners, around the world. “It does not take a belief in God or religion to be a good and helpful person,” says Chris Allen, co-captain of the A+ team on Kiva. “We understand that it takes people to help people.”

A+ Team members have made over $20,000,000 in micro-loans to the working poor. The team is composed of almost 32,000 Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and  Non-Religious people. Want to help a Bolivian woman boost her embroidery work?  Assist a Mongolian cobbler? Help a Kenyan villager get solar lighting? A+ team members have come to the aid of entrepreneurs like these over 687,000 times. Kiva and the A+ Team are offering $25 FREE trial loans – while they last – to new lenders. Join the team and make a loan at http://www.kiva.org/aplus. “It’s a great feeling knowing that you are helping someone who wants to help themselves. These entrepreneurs pay you back and you have the option to re-lend your money to another person,” says Thomas Hahn, with the A+ Team.

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ABOUT KIVA: Kiva is a non-profit company that empowers people to help others through lending. Its website (Kiva.org) is where anyone, from anywhere in the world, can make a $25 loan to a hardworking person or group in one of 85 countries – and get repaid, sometimes in just a few months.

ABOUT A+ TEAM: The A+ Team on Kiva is composed of almost 32,000 lenders from around the world who seek to help the working poor. Members self-identify as Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists, and the Non-Religious.

PRESS RELEASE: Atheists Loan $10 Million Globally to the Working Poor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Peter Kroll
Web: http://atheist-monkey.blogspot.com
Kiva: http://www.kiva.org/lender/AtheistMonkey

Atheists Loan $10 Million Globally to the Working Poor

Since August 2008 the community of Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious (AASFSHNR) at Kiva.org have raised $10 million (USD) in interest-free loans to help end poverty. Kiva.org is a US non-profit organization that connects lenders with borrowers, from around the globe, who need a micro-finance loan. Peter Kroll, the AASFSHNR community team leader and founder, commented “Financially, the world is an unfair place. What we are discovering, on the Internet, is the more we engage each other with peer-to-peer technology the fairer the world becomes. We are providing access to opportunities. We feel it’s our responsibility to step up and help shape the world for the better.”

The AASFSHNR community has raised more than any other community on Kiva, followed by the Kiva Christians at $6.4 million.

Most of the world’s poor live without access to banking. Without collateral they cannot arrange for a loan or open a savings account. Kiva.org has made it possible for an ordinary person to proactively contribute to making a positive change to this situation.

Kiva’s co-founder Matt Flannery has put out a call that “now is a time for the world’s privileged to demonstrate to the world’s poor just how compassionate and resilient we are.”

Micro-finance is the brain-child of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mohammad Yunus. Yunus realized decades ago, on a visit to a poor village in his country of Bangladesh, that the local people were caught in an endless cycle of debt caused by loan-sharks. He realized what a difference it would make by “removing the barriers faced by the poor so that they can unleash their creativity and intelligence in the service of humanity.”