- Social Innovation Fellowship
The Capital Good Fund (CGF) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization founded and run by Brown students with the mission of creating a poverty-free, inclusive green economy through innovative microfinance. CGF has challenged the traditional credit system by offering financially marginalized community members innovative loans to: start or expand small businesses, apply for United States citizenship, and improve credit through environmentally sustainable activities. Additionally, CGF offers financial literacy and business training workshops. Lending for almost a year now, CGF has already built a strong network of community partners and clients--and it has been exciting to be a part of this organization watch it develop and grow so quickly.
Right now, the CGF business loan for individual clients has not been a sustainable approach towards reaching the most low-income and financially marginalized borrowers. I will work this summer to develop and implement a group lending model for loans. The principle behind the group lending model was pioneered by the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient, and the idea is that individuals--with the motivation and support of a group--are more likely to repay loans. Through this fellowship, I will: research how to adapt already existing and successful group-microlending models into Providence's unique context; tailor our marketing approach to effectively reach and inform the project's very low-income target market through collaboration with community partners; assemble focus groups consisting of community partners and potential borrowers to explore social needs and gauge the loan's demand within the community; and, in collaboration with other community organizations, explore the potential for group lending to serve as a platform for other social services. This will help develop a sustainable and scalable approach toward extending credit and empowerment to low-income community members and in doing so increase the financial stability and upward mobility of Providence's most financially marginalized.