A grant from the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) in Bentonville will extend funding through 2025 for the Northwest Arkansas hub of microloan nonprofit Kiva.
In a news release Tuesday (Nov. 15), Kiva Northwest Arkansas partner Startup Junkie Foundation of Fayetteville announced a three-year grant worth $470,000. WFF will continue to provide dollar-for-dollar matching loan funds for every new, Kiva-approved small business borrower in Washington and Benton counties.
The Northwest Arkansas hub is the first Kiva lending program in Arkansas and funds a diversity of small businesses and other socially beneficial activities.
Established in 2005, Kiva is a nonprofit based in San Francisco with offices and staff worldwide. The NWA Kiva Hub is one of over 40 hubs throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The Northwest Arkansas hub launched in December 2019.
“Since the launch of the NWA Kiva Hub, we have assisted 80 local borrowers in obtaining crowdfunded loans ranging from $1,000 to $15,000,” said Martha Londagin, NWA Kiva Hub capital access manager. “Of those, 76 have been borrowers who identify as a person of color, minority or woman business owner, with 34% of them identifying as being a Black-owned business.”
Kiva offers no-fee, no-interest loans of up to $15,000, crowdsourced from lenders worldwide. Since Kiva loans carry 0% interest rates, lenders don’t profit from their loans. Neither does Kiva, which is why it’s a nonprofit.
Kiva’s crowdsourced micro-lending platform is designed to help alleviate poverty by providing startups and underserved entrepreneurs the funds they need to get their businesses off the ground.
“We have already seen the impact this program can have on the 80 NWA small business owners assisted since 2019,” Londagin said. “These are truly loans that change lives, change families, and change communities. It is not just a slogan; I see lives changed every month by these loans. I believe we can all make a difference here with the Kiva program by encouraging and growing a more diverse business owner community in Northwest Arkansas.”
The repayment rate for Kiva loans is approximately 78% across the U.S.