At our March 23, 2017 lunch meeting new club members members Luis Ramirez Alonso (center left) and Jake Chang (center right) by President Jim Bertucci (far left) and Membership Chair Joe Musolino (far right).  SLSF Executive Director (and Schaumburg/Hoffman Rotary club member) Nanette Sowa also presented an award to our club for its donation to the NWSRA Snoezelen Room, which is a sensory room that can be used, among other things, to help reduce the effect of seizures in individuals. Nanette also announced that the Duffer of the Year golf outing will be on September 14, 2017.  Anyone interested in serving on the golf committee should contact Jim Bertucci or Nanette.
Our speaker was Ron Crawford, who spoke on the topic of international microfinance loans.  The purpose of a microfinance loan is to give a business opportunity to an impoverished person who would be otherwise unable to obtain a loan from a traditional lender because of collateral, regulatory, or other hurdles.  The concept of microfinance loans was pioneered by Muhammad Yunus, who won the 2006 Nobel peace prize.
After hearing a 2003 presentation by Muhammad Yunus at the Stanford University business school, two students formed Kiva, which is a micro finance lending organization.  Through Kiva, individuals make personal loans to borrowers through its network of field partners in impoverished countries.  Through the Kiva website, the individuals can choose the country in which their loan will be made, the type of project for which the loan funds will be used, and the particular borrower.  Individual lenders make loans in increments of $25, and the term of a loan is typically 6-12 months.  The interest rate charged to borrowers is slightly more than a traditional commercial loan, and the interest is retained by the Kiva field partner that administers the loan.  Loans made through Kiva are repaid at a remarkable rate of 97%!  Several club members are also Kiva members, including Wendy Davis, Lynn Jensen, Chris Niemann, Kerry Pearson, and David Schultz.
Ron encouraged all of us to join Kiva by becoming signing up as a member on the Kiva website, and then team up with other club members by joining the Arlington Heights Noon Rotary lending team on the website.