25 Jun June Kiva Update
Written by : Jeff Burdge, Kiva Capital Access Manager
We’re living in unprecedented times. Countless businesses and workers have the uncertainty of knowing whether their doors will stay open or they’ll have a job to go back to. Kiva Tulsa is here to try to assist small businesses owners as much as possible. We’re proud to say that during COVID-19 we’ve had 14 businesses successfully borrow $157,000 from lenders all over the world. When I look at our total so far, it’s hard not to compare it to the overwhelming amount of money that has been distributed in the United States by our government and think, “could we have done better, could we have found more people to help?”. Yes, we could have done better and found more small business owners but I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish so far.
Kiva isn’t the most traditional lending platform and the idea of crowdfunding your loan is sometimes a very hard pill for a business owner to swallow. Pre-COVID, getting out into the community or sitting down to be a panelist was a great way to spread the word on Kiva. Meeting a potential borrower at their place of business was easy but COVID changed all that. Now you’re trying to meet a business owner over the phone or virtually. The Kiva platform, which is so much easier to explain in person, now becomes more difficult to explain. COVID has brought many difficulties to business owners, and taking on additional debt while revenue is shrinking or stopped completely has to be a monumental question. For other business owners, Pre-COVID, they thought crowdfunding would hurt their brand. Now, they see Kiva as an asset and are so grateful to have the program in our community.
I could give you so many examples of how the Kiva Tulsa world changed because of COVID but I also had to examine myself. I had to pivot. I had to become a valuable person and do the right thing for as many people as possible that are going through horribly hard times that none of us have any preparedness in.
“To do what ought to be done but would not have been done unless I did it, I thought to be my duty.” -Robert Morrison
What is a valuable person? What is the right thing to do? For me, it’s to be the best ambassador for Kiva I can, to be the best Tulsan for small business owners that I can, and to be the best person for strangers, neighbors, friends, and family that I can be.
Our world is full of people who are excellent at telling you what to do. From the political world, the business world, and the nonprofit world, everyone knows the right thing to do. They’ll make presentations or tweet about it. But it takes special people who know the right thing to do, that will go out into the world and do it, thus becoming a valuable person.
I feel that being a part of the LTFF team has brought me into a circle of valuable people. We all take time to listen, learn, evaluate, and try to make our little corner of the world that much better. My ask of you is this, to be a person who makes the effort to do what ought to be done, especially if no one wants to do it. If you don’t do it, who will?