Meet the Funders Behind Crowdfunded Small Business Loans in New York City

You may already be familiar with Kiva, a global micro-lending nonprofit organization that helps entrepreneurs around the world buy goats for their farms, fishing nets for their boats; pays students' tuition fees, and provides building materials after disasters. Lending occurs through an easy-to-digest online format and funders can provide just $25 to make a loan to an individual or group in need.

Now, Kiva is bringing this spirit of giving a little closer to home with Kiva NYC. This is a New York City-focused lending effort extended to small businesses and community entrepreneurs. The perk for local business owners, especially ones who propose a social impact or who aren’t eligible for other lending options, is 0 percent interest, crowdfunded loans from donors who want to see them succeed.

"New York's small businesses are the heart of this city. They bring color and vibrancy to the neighborhoods, create quality jobs, and enrich the cultural fabric of this city," Premal Shah, president of Kiva, said in a press release. "They have the passion and the plan, but often they lack just a small amount of capital to start or expand. Through this initiative, we can all be a part of their success."

Let’s take a closer look at the funders who have already gotten behind this effort.

Surdna Foundation

Surdna has provided program support to launch Kiva Zip in an effort to help entrepreneurs be creative and develop business advisors and customers from the lending pool.

Related: A Closer Look at Surdna Foundation's Artists Engaged in Social Change Grants

MetLife Foundation

This is a big financial inclusion funder that promotes access to financial services through its grantmaking.  

Related: The MetLife Foundation’s Big Give to a "Final Frontier" in Financial Inclusion

The Moody’s Foundation

Moody’s is a long-timer supporter of Kiva and regularly contributes to community service efforts in the areas in which its employees live and work. The foundation’s support will bring capital to underserved entrepreneurs in all five boroughs. In general, this global funder supports economic development, education, civic, health & human services, and arts & culture organizations.

Pershing Square Innovation Labs

This entity invests in early-stage social entrepreneurs that are addressing the root causes of poverty.

Related: Inside the Pershing Square Foundation: A “Catalytic” Funder on the Fast Track

Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation

Social finance is a big part of this bank foundation’s giving. Deutsche Bank Americas jumped at the chance to create jobs and improve neighborhoods through entrepreneurial support. In general, the bank provides loans, investments, and grants to sustain community development, promote education, and support the arts in the geographic areas in which it does business. The foundation is based in New York City, and this is where a majority of the grants area awarded.

Kiva has wanted to expand to cities across the U.S. for a while now, and Kiva Zip is the community-based platform to broaden the nonprofit’s reach in select cities. This approach taps into the crowdfunding approach to philanthropy, which is expected to continue growing through the coming years.

Related: If You're Behind the Crowd on Crowdfunding

The approach isn’t limited to big-name donors like the ones listed above, either. Anyone with an Internet connection and $25 to spare can log onto kiva.org/NYC and support the entrepreneur of his choice. Every dollar put toward loans by donors on the site will be matched up to $1.1 million, thanks to these foundations.

There’s a big push right now to support your neighbors and community, often before looking at needs in faraway lands. New York City entrepreneurs on the Kiva website might just be names and faces with a few promising business plan details. But local donors can more easily connect with these people and their services, and that makes a big difference in the psychology of giving. And perhaps if these entrepreneurs’ crowdfunding plans are successful, local donors can actually become patrons at their businesses and see firsthand how their dollars were put to use.