Scrapbook: Summer of Microfinance & Cooperatives 2012

Scrapbook: Summer of Microfinance & Cooperatives 2012

September 12, 2012 at 4:49 PM - by Leah Gage - 0 comments

A busy summer for Oikocredit USA comes to an end as Washington, DC temperatures turn from severely humid to almost chilly. This summer we were proud to host our 3rd annual Summer of Microfinance and Cooperatives, a summer-long campaign to raise awareness of Oikocredit & our work in responsible microfinance & supporting cooperatives. Across the country, we engaged with investors, volunteers, and many people new to Oikocredit USA and the concept of socially responsible investing.

We kicked off the Summer of Microfinance & Cooperatives in the nation’s capital with a happy hour event at a quirky bar called Science Club. Young professionals eager to learn more were able to hear from experienced microfinance professionals, mingle, snack and have a few drinks. Roxanne Alvarez, from the United Nations Foundation, attended and won one of two raffle prizes at the event! Alvarez went home with a basket full of delicious desserts and coffee from one of our partners, Divine Chocolate.

Board member Jesse Fripp, Investor Michael Gray, Intern Mary Ann Aabye, and National Director Sharlene Brown gather at our Summer of Microfinance Kick-off event

Betsy Dribben of the ICA spoke with enthusiasm on the power of cooperatives

In July, we welcomed Yoli Nuñez – social performance expert and Oikocredit’s Regional Social Performance Management and Capacity Building Coordinator for the northern region of South America (which includes Peru, Colombia and Ecuador). This was Yoli’s first trip to the United States, and we wanted her to see everything. She joined National Director Sharlene Brown on a roadshow to Boston, NYC, DC, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and San Francisco.

Yoli addressed the social investment community of Boston at an event hosted by BASIC (Boston Area Sustainable Investment Consortium). She demonstrated that her work in social performance and capacity building acts as a risk mitigation factor for investors.

We also held an intimate reception for investors in the Boston area. We were joined by one of our newest board members, Cheryl Smith, Executive Vice President at Trillium Asset Management.

Yoli and Sharlene (center) are pictured here among members of WAM-NY (Women Advancing Microfinance, New York chapter). Many members of this group of engaged New York women were learning of Oikocredit for the first time. They were especially interested to hear about Yoli’s perspective as the representative of an investor working with partners in the field. Oikocredit’s engagement with partners is unique given our role as an investor – our efforts to add value to our relationships with partners through capacity building and the implementation of tools like the Progress out of Poverty IndexTM go beyond a merely financial investment.

Although it was a quick trip to New York, Yoli couldn’t miss a photo opportunity with the Empire State Building!

Yoli addressed a large crowd at an event co-hosted by Grameen Foundation and WAM-DC (Women Advancing Microfinance, DC chapter). This event drew many members of the development community in Washington DC who were eager to hear a voice from the field. Grameen Foundation staffers were especially interested to hear Yoli's expertise as an implementer of the Progress out of Poverty Index.
Later, Yoli and Sharlene visited Pittsburgh, home to Oikocredit’s oldest Support Association in the United States.

In Pittsburgh, Yoli addressed a large crowd on a Saturday morning to discuss Oikocredit’s work with clients in Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador.

In San Francisco, our Bay Area Outreach Coordinator Stuart Krengel hosted two events – a small reception for investors and a larger public presentation for members of the community. Hosted in the HUB, we welcomed a variety of guests. Seen here is Sr. Corinne Florek, a long-time Oikocredit investor and member of the Oikocredit USA board.

In Seattle, we were welcomed into the home of a member of the Oikocredit Northwest Support Association. ONW, as it’s called, is one of the most active groups of volunteers we have in the US. In this engaging and intimate forum, Yoli explained how she engages with Oikocredit’s partners to enhance capacity building and implement the Grameen Foundation Progress out of Poverty Index.

Special thank you to Amanda White of Divine Chocolate, Betsy Dribben of the ICA, WAM-DC, WAM-NY, Grameen Foundation, the Western Pennsylvania Support Association, and the Northwest Support Association for helping make this year’s Summer of Microfinance & Cooperatives a success!


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