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Alejandro Gonzales is pictured with his grocery store in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. The WIU Finance Club has invested in Gonzales' store via the Kiva venture.
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Finance Club Participates in Microfinance Venture

March 22, 2007

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MACOMB, IL -- Imagine giving a total stranger $50 and completely changing their life. That's the plan of the Western Illinois University Finance Club.

According to Jim Tripp, finance professor and Finance Club co-adviser, the 60-member club has invested in, an online nonprofit organization that matches entrepreneurs in developing countries with the opportunities for financing from around the world. Through Kiva, microfinance loans (usually less than $1,000), are extended to small entrepreneurs who are starting businesses in developing countries.

Tripp and co-adviser Patti Calvert, finance assistant professor, encouraged the group to research a few opportunities for outreach with club funds, and to use global finance principles in selecting the ventures that they chose to invest in. The group chose Kiva for its uniqueness and the opportunities to give back to the global community. As such, their portfolio reflects diversity across many segments including ethnicity, geography and industry, Calvert said.

"This venture gives students an opportunity to make a real difference in the world. They can see their dollars at work, and it's very rewarding," Tripp said. "This type of outreach is also a perfect match with the University's core value of social responsibility."

To track the progress of the Finance Club and their Kiva loans, visit

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Communications & Marketing