NEW! Check out our 2023 Annual Report to learn about the growth of our programs in the last year. 2023 Annual Report

Microfinance and Sustainable Development – Cassidy Fish

April 28, 2024

The Wisconsin Microfinance mission is deeply rooted in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. While we focus on many of the economic goals, we also recognize and honor the environmental goals. The benefits of a clean, safe, and sustainable world apply to all people, rich and poor.

This April we…

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New Member Introduction – Meet Cassidy Fish!

April 23, 2024

I have recently joined the team at Wisconsin Microfinance as the Admin/Marketing Assistant. I am currently a student at UW Madison majoring in Economics, International Studies, and French. My work at Wisconsin Microfinance allows me to pursue my passion for understanding cultures around the world. My dream is to help…

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Traveling to the Dominican Republic – Evan Lory

June 21, 2023

I traveled to the Dominican Republic in March as a representative of Wisconsin Microfinance. It was my first trip to a developing country. Upon arrival, I quickly realized how much I take for granted, where necessities like clean water, electricity, education, and healthcare seem so commonplace. At the same time,…

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Loan Recipients in the Dominican Republic – Evan Lory

June 21, 2023

I recently had the privilege of traveling to the Dominican Republic to deliver funding for loans for female business women. While there, I met many loan recipients and learned about the kinds of businesses that are being funded.

Nataylis is a talented 24-year-old who runs her…

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New Member Introduction: Evan Lory

January 31, 2023

Hi, I’m Evan Lory a junior at Waunakee High School outside Madison. I am part of the Dane County Youth Apprenticeship Program which coordinates opportunities for high school students seeking hands on experiences with a local organization. Apparently, I’m one of the first students to request placement with a non-profit,…

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Does Microfinance Actually Improve Lives?

December 5, 2022

Microfinance, once hailed as a miracle solution, has become the subject of skepticism in the last several years.  There is no doubt that repayment rates are as high or higher than traditional financing, but many questioned whether these loans actually led to improvements in individual and family living…

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Microfinance Shown to Improve Quality of Life 

August 23, 2022

Wisconsin Microfinance’s loan programs are improving borrowers’ overall quality of life. We are now able to demonstrate a significant and marked improvement in measures of quality of life, including number of daily meals, the presence of meat in meals and the ability to save money. We have been gathering…

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We R uS: Wisconsin Microfinance’s Partner in Ghana

August 23, 2022

Wisconsin Microfinance is extremely excited to work with We R uS, a non-profit dedicated to creating dynamic, sustainable rural communities in Ghana.  Created to support economic development in rural, traditional Ghanaian communities, they are an ideal partner. By working at the grassroots level in a community, We R uS…

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Wisconsin Microfinance’s New Program in Ghana

July 26, 2022

Wisconsin Microfinance is proud to announce that we have launched our first loan program on the African continent.  We will be working with We R uS, a US based non-profit that serves traditional villages in Ghana.  Ghana is situated on the west coast of Africa, between Togo and Cote…

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Our Progress in the Dominican Republic

July 1, 2022

We are thrilled to announce that Wisconsin Microfinance’s microloan program in the Dominican Republic has been officially started in La Piedra! Applicants for our loans have been selected and received their first loan in June, providing opportunities to hard-working entrepreneurs who have never had access to resources before.…

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Stories from the Phillipines

June 11, 2022

At Wisconsin Microfinance, we pay a lot of attention to numbers. Everything we do supports and empowers loan recipients  in Haiti and the Philippines.  Often, we feel that the best way to measure our success is using the data we’ve collected: what percentage of our partners are repaying…

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Wisconsin Microfinance in the Dominican Republic

May 20, 2022

In 2010, Wisconsin Microfinance launched our first program in Haiti. Shortly after, operations were expanded to the Philippines. And now, Wisconsin Microfinance will be traveling to the Dominican Republic to provide more small, low interest loans to aspiring entrepreneurs in poverty. 

With sandy beaches, glamorous…

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Women and Microfinance: A Winning Combination

May 8, 2022

“Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Give a woman microcredit, she, her husband, her children and her extended family will eat for a lifetime.”

–  Bono


Wisconsin Microfinance targets 80% of our loans to women, but why exactly…

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The Philippines: Struggle and Resilience

January 22, 2022

The idea of ‘Filipino Resilience’ has long been touted as something for the Philippines, and for citizens of the country, to be proud of. And maybe it is. The Philippines has a history of enduring and bouncing back from hardships; from dictatorship, to colonization, enduring natural disaster after natural disaster.…

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A Reflection on Haiti’s 2021

January 15, 2022

As we enter a new year, it is easy to focus on our own past and future; this is a time of new beginnings and reflection, centered around our efforts to make our own year better. But, in doing this, we often forget about the fact that others around the…

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New Member Introduction: Linnea Teske

January 7, 2022

Hi! On this blog, you’ll be hearing a lot more from me, Linnea Teske. I’m a freshman studying political science, and I just joined the Wisconsin Microfinance team as the new Media Intern! I feel so lucky to be able to work for such a wonderful organization, and…

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Borrower Spotlight: Destinvil Sherline

August 3, 2021

Destinvil Sherline is a 33-year-old mother of two. She and her husband have always put all of their time and energy into their farm. Though they practiced crop rotation and seasonal planting, their harvest and subsequent income would vary greatly from season to season and they sometimes found themselves with…

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The Father of Microfinance

June 28, 2021

Born in 1940 in a Bangladeshi village, Muhammad Yunus has consistently challenged current economic theories and created new ways to empower the poor and underserved.

After receiving his PhD from Vanderbilt, Yunus returned to his home country, Bangladesh, in 1972.  At the time, a…

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Brief History of the Philippines

June 21, 2021

In honor of Philippines Independence Day on June 12, it is important to look back on the trajectory of the Philippines. The history of the Philippines is marked by an uneven journey for self-determination.

The first European to make contact with the Philippines was…

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COVID-19 and the Developing World

June 4, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted major inequalities in standards of living and access to medical care between the global north and global south. The countries Wisconsin Microfinance operates in, Haiti and the Philippines, have had incredible struggles in fighting both the medical and economic costs of the COVID-19 pandemic. These…

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Natural Disasters and Microfinance

May 15, 2021

The role of microfinance is clearest in countries suffering from the impact of natural disasters. Natural disasters in Haiti and the Philippines presented a need for new and innovative ways of assisting in recovery.

At 4:53 pm on January 12, 2010, an earthquake struck at the heart of the…

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Sharing Stories

May 10, 2021

In this week’s blog, we are going to look back at the lives of some of Wisconsin Microfinance’s loan recipients in the Philippines. These two stories are representative of the stories of loan recipients from around the world.        

Lezanne is the mother of one from Bohol, Philippines. She was working…

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Changing Access to Capital

April 22, 2021

Wisconsin Microfinance is dedicated to providing access to capital for marginalized communities in Haiti and the Philippines. Access to capital in the developing world is often limited to those with wealth that live in cities. The poor lack of both previous borrowing experience and collateral, and the money that may…

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Current Events in Haiti

March 18, 2021

Wisconsin Microfinance has an incredibly special relationship with the country of Haiti. After the earthquake in 2010, we developed a program that made small loans to people who lost their businesses and livelihoods. During a visit to the country in 2011, it became clear that Haiti has an extremely interesting…

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Wisconsin Microfinance and Sustainable Development

March 4, 2021

What is sustainable development?

According to the UN’s Brundtland Commission, “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

What are the sustainability development goals?

In 2015, under the direction of the United Nations (UN),…

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Women: The Champions of Microfinance

February 22, 2021

The role of women in the developing world is vital to the health and wellbeing of families. According to Muhammed Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank “money entering a household through a woman brings more benefits to the family as a whole.” When women are better off, households are more…

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Rehashing the Basics

February 11, 2021

What is Microfinance?

Making small loans to individuals that lack collateral and that are not able to take out a loan from a bank, credit union or other traditional financial institution is the purpose of microfinance. Access to banking systems and capital in the developing world is extremely limited and…

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Webinar Series: Microfinance 101

May 8, 2020

The first in a series of webinars, Why Microfinance explores the importance of microfinance as a tool for alleviating poverty. Wisconsin Microfinance founder and president Tom Eggert explains what microfinance is and why we’ve chosen to employ it.

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Notes from the Philippines | Entry 5

December 20, 2019

Hi everyone!

As we approach the end of our time here in the Philippines, we have had a lot to reflect upon. Looking back on the past two and a half months, we are very grateful for the people we’ve met, the places we’ve seen, the food we’ve eaten,…

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With Gratitude

November 26, 2019

Because of you…

When an earthquake hit Sagbayan, Philippines in 2013, Jessica Basi’s store and home were completely destroyed, leaving her unable to continue her business. In the aftermath, many people with destroyed homes had to relocate to another barangay  (village), but her family decided to stay put, as they…

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Notes from the Philippines | Entry 4

November 12, 2019

Morgan and Natalia with WMF beneficiaries and friends on the islet of Lapinig

Hi (again)! Morgan and Natalia here. Part of our role here in the Philippines has been to help our local partners assess the impact of Wisconsin Microfinance loans by determining the changes in the beneficiaries’ quality of…

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Notes from the Philippines | Entry 3

October 27, 2019

Hi again! This week we are writing to you all from the island of Bohol. The island is in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines and approximately a two hour ferry ride from Cebu City. For those of you who don’t know, Bohol is home to all of WI…

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Notes from the Philippines | Entry 2

October 6, 2019

Hi everyone! As we traveled around Cebu and the island of Bohol this week to visit some WI Microfinance beneficiaries and co-op partners, here’s what was on our minds:

As a newly-industrialized country, the Philippines is in a crucial stage of development. On one hand, countries which are still “developing”,…

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Notes from the Philippines | Entry 1

September 26, 2019

Our interns Morgan and Natalia are in the Philippines. This is the first entry of their weekly blog posts where they’ll provide updates about their trip. Be sure to check in next week to see what they’re up to!

Hi, all! Morgan and Natalia here. We are happy to share…

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Fall in the Philippines

September 6, 2019

Thank You For the Difference You’ve Made!

Because of you, Lorna Villa, mother of seven and grandmother of three, was able to hold on to her snack business during a health crisis when she was unable to work the grueling 16 hour days she often worked to keep her business…

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July Newsletter

July 21, 2019

Note from the Executive Director

Change is in the air!  Along with the change in seasons, Wisconsin Microfinance is also experiencing some change.  I started my role as Executive Director June 1, we have expanded and strengthened our board, and we are taking steps to build the infrastructure that will…

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This Holiday Season

November 29, 2018

Each and every year it rolls around…the Holiday Season. Some of us dread it, while some of us couldn’t be more excited for it’s arrival. A time for family, friends, giving and love, can often turn into a time of stress and anxiety. We’ve all seen Holiday movies countless times,…

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After Haiyan

November 7, 2018

In November of 2013, the Philippines were shook by the catastrophic effects of Typhoon Haiyan. One of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, Haiyan left over 4,000 people dead or missing. It damaged or completely destroyed more than 1.1 million homes and injured over 27,000 people. All that remained after…

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Donor Spotlight: Kathy Donovan

October 22, 2018

This month, we would like to honor a special donor of ours, Kathy Donovan. Her generous donations to our organization are greatly appreciated by each and every one of us at Wisconsin Microfinance, so we are thrilled to share a little bit about her with our community!

Growing up, Kathy…

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Since the Prize

October 4, 2018

Born on June 28, 1940, Muhammad Yunus entered the world as young Muslim boy in a country where not many individuals see economic prosperity. As a developing nation, Bangladesh ranks 43rd in terms of nominal gross domestic product, and is one of the largest textile exporters in the world.


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Donor Spotlight: Kristin Holman-Steffel and Mike Steffel

September 26, 2018

As the school year gets back into full swing, we excitedly bring back our Donor of the Month blog post! September is winding down, but we would love to take a moment to recognize two of our generous donors, Kristin and Mike.

“Do your little bit of good where you…

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Microfinance’s Role in Disaster Recovery

May 31, 2018

The Earth is changing. That is for certain. Though the future is undefined, especially on a climate scale, it is sure to contain an increase in both the frequency and intensity of storms. According to the National Weather Service, the past year was unusually active…

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Mother’s Day Microfinance

May 13, 2018

Every year on Mother’s day, we take time out to recognize and appreciate the mothers who have given and nurtured life in all of us. However, this adoration should not be reserved to just one day. Around the world, especially in developing countries, women are often economically disenfranchised and are…

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Donor Spotlight: LeeAnn Glover

May 1, 2018

As another month begins, we would like to take a moment to once again recognize another one of our wonderful donors, LeeAnn Glover. 

A local Madisonian, Glover has the area firmly imprinted in her life. She grew up in Madison,…

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Why I Believe in Microfinance

April 23, 2018

Around the world, there are thousands upon thousands of charities doing wonderful work for worthy causes. There is never a shortage of need. In almost every community, both local and global, there is work that needs to be done. However, because of the ubiquity of…

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Logistics of Microfinance: The How

April 8, 2018

In this blog, we often write about the benefits that microfinance is able to offer to communities to fight poverty, balance gender disparities, avoid environmental degradation, etc. However, the logistics of how microfinance itself functions is sometimes lost in the margins.

To understand any story, one must always start at…

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The Role of Microfinance in Mitigating Gender Inquality

March 11, 2018

One of the main pillars of microfinance is its focus on women. In terms of financial institutions, microfinance stands alone in its prioritization of the economic health of women. In fact, over 80% of all microloans are afforded to women. In a world where few…

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Donor Spotlight: Ruth Ohlrogge

March 5, 2018

As we begin to recognize more and more of our donors for the integral help that they provide in assisting our programs and our mission, we would like to recognize one person who has an intensely personal connection to Wisconsin Microfinance: Ruth Ohlrogge.

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The Problem With Predatory Lenders and The Microfinance Solution

February 25, 2018

Many times on this blog, we have brought up microfinance’s role in breaking the “cycle of poverty.” We place a great deal of importance on this issue as the repetitive nature of poverty means that breaking the chain for one person can mean that their entire family will not be…

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Microfinance and the Environment: Where Responsibility Meets Sustainability

February 19, 2018

Usually, business development and environmental health are talked about as being mutually exclusive entities. Stories of clear-cutting rainforest for soybeans and livestock or mountaintop removal mines in West Virginia certainly reflect a reality in which, too frequently, short-term profits spell the death of entire ecosystems.…

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Donor Spotlight: Theresa Rooney

February 1, 2018


As we finish the first month of 2018, we are provided an opportunity to reflect on the progress of New Year’s resolutions and appreciate the growth that has occurred. At this moment, we would like to take this opportunity to begin our 2018 with a spotlight on one of…

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Haiti Non-Profits: The Madison Connection

January 21, 2018

For the past few years in mid-January, Madison area non-profits with operations in Haiti have been getting together for a “Haiti roundtable.” The annual meeting was created to help the organizations better cooperate about current goals and initiatives in the country, as well as provide…

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The 2010 Haitian Earthquake: 8 Years Later

January 12, 2018

Eight years ago today, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck just west of Haiti’s capital, Port Au Prince. Twelve days and 52 aftershocks later, an estimated 160,000 people were dead. Although there have been stronger earthquakes that have had much lower casualty reports, a history of…

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Donor Spotlight: Aaron Gary

December 27, 2017

As we round out the holiday season, it is important to reflect on the sentiments that make this time of year so special: giving, family, and reflection. This month, we turn our donor spotlight to a more recent addition to the Wisconsin Microfinance donor family,…

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What Makes A Gift?

December 17, 2017

There’s the old adage that goes “It is better to give than to receive” that we all have heard from our parents and one we all will likely pass on the same. When I was a child, I did not understand this phrase-receiving was the best! But, as I got…

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The Loanees of Wisconsin Microfinance

December 2, 2017


Although the importance of microfinance has grown exponentially in the past few decades, it is not itself an end all solution. In truth, a loan is worth nothing without a headstrong recipient. At Wisconsin Microfinance, we are lucky enough to have these incredibly strong willed and driven individuals who…

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Donor Spotlight: Alana McKeever

November 25, 2017

Because Wisconsin Microfinance relies entirely on our supporter base for funds, our donors are especially important to us and our success. Any advances made, any people or families lifted out of abject poverty, in fact, any programs at all are made possible only through the support of our wonderful donors.…

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Development Snapshot: Haiti and the Philippines

November 18, 2017

The phrase “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” is a classic American phrase that highlights the idea of personal self-reliance that the US so loves to harp on. However, how does one improve their situation when they don’t even have any boots?

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The Necessity of Hope

November 11, 2017

Every day, it seems, there is a new crisis somewhere in the world. Especially as of late, news cycles are so often dominated by doom and gloom. Hurricanes destroying the Caribbean, political unrest in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and our own backyard, and the…

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Remembering Typhoon Haiyan

November 5, 2017

Four years ago, the Philippines was utterly devastated by the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone on record, Typhoon Haiyan. The 30th storm of the 2013 Pacific Typhoon season, Haiyan originally seemed to be just another strong tropical storm. However, as it moved west, it…

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Donor Spotlight: Tom Kenney

October 29, 2017

This past week, we at Wisconsin Microfinance received one of the largest single donations we have ever had in our eight years of operations, made in memory of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Tom Kenny. We were so touched by Tom’s story, as relayed…

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The Necessity of Sustainability

October 14, 2017

What does it mean to be sustainable? When applied to the environment, sustainability refers to a state in which the strain put on the environment can be met without reducing its capacity to allow all people to live well into a future state.…

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Muhammad Yunus: The Architect of Microfinance

October 6, 2017

Every year, the first week of October serves as a global celebration of knowledge and understanding as the Nobel prizes are awarded in recognition of academic, cultural, and scientific advances. Past prize winners include Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela, and most salient to this…

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A Spotlight on Mozayik

September 29, 2017

Imagine that your entire community has been destroyed: houses leveled, lives forced to start again in a new and unfamiliar location. Imagine that you straggled to whatever patch of land you could find and attempted to regain some sense of normalcy and community. Now imagine that you were…

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Wisconsin Microfinance: After the Storm

September 23, 2017

This week, Hurricane Irma ravaged the Caribbean while her contemporaries, Harvey and Maria, made devastating landfalls of their own, creating a three-pronged path of destruction. Antigua and Barbuda, one of the small island nations affected, reported having up to 95% of the structures in Barbuda completely demolished. Tragedies like these…

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Wisconsin Microfinance: Empowering Women

April 3, 2017

Wisconsin Microfinance was founded in 2010 in response to the earthquake in Haiti that killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed the livelihoods of the vast majority of people in and around Port au Prince. Our original mandate for our Haitian partner was to make 80% of new loans…

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Our Commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

March 29, 2017

Today, there are 836 million people living in extreme poverty, and while a great amount of work has already been done to decrease that number, a lot still must be done. In 2015, under the direction of the United Nations (UN), world leaders developed a set of seventeen global goals,…

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Introducing the New Co-Executive Directors!

February 21, 2017


We are Meg DiPoto and Jane McCurry and we are the new co-executive directors of Wisconsin Microfinance! We are excited to take on this role and increase the visibility of Wisconsin Microfinance.

A note from Jane:

I am in my fourth year of five at the University of Wisconsin-Madison…

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