Our mission is to provide small loans to those living in extreme poverty.
Our vision is to create a more equitable and sustainable world by empowering the very poor through microfinance. By providing infrastructure and funding for our borrowers, we offer an opportunity to the very poor who lack access to acceptable financial opportunity to escape from poverty with dignity.
Following the Haitian earthquake in 2010, Tom Eggert, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, raised money with the help of his students to help individuals in Haiti recover from the devastating impacts of the earthquake. Instead of donating the money to a non-profit, they formed Wisconsin Microfinance to explore the role that access to capital could play in improving the quality of life of desperately poor individuals. They used the money raised to provide small loans (micro-loans) to Haitian entrepreneurs, with the help of a partner in Haiti. The program was designed using principles developed by Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank.
The program was subsequently expanded to the Philippines after Typhoon Yolanda (known internationally as Typhoon Haiyan) destroyed major parts of the country. Lessons learned from Haiti were incorporated into program development in the Philippines.
Wisconsin Microfinance formally incorporated into a non-profit in 2013 with the intention of expanding microfinance program development to other parts of the developing world.
Both the Haiti and Philippines programs have been immensely successful, loaning out over 1000 loans with nearly 99% repayment. In addition, over 800 individuals are on the waiting list for future loans. Wisconsin Microfinance is looking to expand into other areas of Haiti to give even more individuals the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.
Be sure to keep up to date with news on each country and program developments. Check out our Facebook page and our blog to learn more!