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It's a loan, not a donation

We believe lending is a powerful and sustainable way to spur economic and social development. Donations to Wisconsin Microfinance are converted to small loans that allow a family to lift themselves out of poverty with dignity. As each loan is paid back, each donation is recirculated to other borrowers, allowing a single donation to support multiple entrepreneurs and families.

Started in 2010 after a large Haitian earthquake, Wisconsin Microfinance was founded on the belief that lending is one of the most powerful and sustainable ways to lift families out of poverty. Donations to Wisconsin Microfinance are transferred to partners in the Philippines or Haiti who then provide small loans to the rural poor. Access to capital (the ability to borrow money) is very limited in most rural areas. Thus, these small loans enable a family to provide, with dignity, a more economically secure future. In addition, as each loan is repaid, the money is used for additional loans, creating a continually renewing loan fund.

Woman in Haiti

Turning donations into small loans

Wisconsin Microfinance turns donations into small loans for those living in extreme poverty that otherwise lack access to a loan.

How It works

Donate funds Donate funds

Donate funds

You donate what you can to Wisconsin Microfinance.

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Our partners Our partners

Our partners

Your money is transferred to our partners in Haiti or the Philippines.

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Loans made Loans made

Loans made

The money is used to make loans to entrepreneurs in the communities.

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Arrow to the next step Loans repaid Loans repaid

Loans repaid

When the loans are repaid, the money is used to make additional loans.

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By donating as little as $25, you can help a borrower start or grow a business and begin their journey out of poverty. 90+% of every dollar you donate to Wisconsin Microfinance goes to funding loans. Wisconsin Microfinance covers its administrative costs by taking 10% of each donation and by soliciting donations specifically for administrative costs. We are 100% volunteer-led.

Based on the Grameen Bank model

Our programs are based off the microfinance model developed originally by Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank. The Grameen Bank is founded on the belief that access to small amounts of money can unleash the creativity and initiative of the very poor. We have used three important aspects of the Grameen Bank model that have proven successful:

  1. Targeting women – Our program target is 80% of borrowers are women.
  2. Group lending (solidarity groups) – A group of 6 or more borrowers is formed when the loans are distributed. Lending groups create both support in the development of a business and peer pressure to pay a loan back. No member of a lending group may receive a subsequent loan unless all members of the lending group have paid back their previous loan.
  3. Loan education – Educating borrowers on how to be financially responsible, make repayments, and run a business is crucial.
Muhammad Yunus
People at a market in the Philippines

Lifting one lifts many

When a Wisconsin Microfinance funded loan enables someone to grow a business and create opportunity for themselves, it creates opportunities for others as well. That ripple effect can shape the future for a family and ultimately an entire community.

A small donation from someone in the US can help a borrower in the developing world start or grow a business. 90% of every dollar donated to Wisconsin Microfinance goes to funding loans. Wisconsin Microfinance is a registered 501(c)(3) charity and all employees are volunteers.