Mobilizing the Luther College and Decorah communities to connect with and empower the world's poor through microlending

What is LutherKiva?

LutherKiva, a project of the student group SEEDS, is a network of Luther students/faculty/staff/alumni with the mission to:
  1. educate the Luther community about microlending as a poverty-fighting tool in developing countries
  2. promote as a vehicle for microlending
  3. promote solidarity with the world’s poor and
  4. directly empower the world's poor through microlending.

What is the "$10K for Kiva" campaign?

A campaign sponsored by LutherKiva to raise $10,000 for microlending via The proceeds will be used to provide members of the Luther community with "free" capital to make loans to the world's poor via With $10,000 we will be able to make 400 $25 loans. As funds are paid back (12 month average), we will re-lend the funds indefinitely!

What can I do?
  1. request that a member of LutherKiva speak to your class, residence hall, student group, department, or local community group
  2. open your own account, deposit money, and make your own loans
  3. Then join the "Luther College" lending team on (log into your account, click on “community,” search for the Luther College lending team, and click “join team” in the “Luther College” row.
  4. purchase The Better World Handbook from the Luther Bookshop ($5 goes to LutherKiva)

What is microlending/microcredit?

Microlending is giving small loans to the poor to assist them in breaking out of the bondage of poverty. Microlending effectively provides hope for a better future, encourages self-discipline required for repayment, empowers the poor (especially women), and establishes self-sufficiency. These loans have proven to be a powerful tool to create wealth among those living on the margin.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus writes in Banker to the Poor, “I always return from the villages more convinced that providing credit is a powerful means to create profound change in people’s lives.” 

What are the loans used for?

Loan recipients purchase a wide variety of things to help support their families, including:
  • silk for weaving,
  • lifestock for raising,
  • wholesale goods for selling,
  • seed for planting, and
  • a motorbike to transport crops to market.

Why does LutherKiva use to microlend? provides many advantages to directly lending money ourselves.
  1. provides engaging profiles of borrowers that allow the participant to learn about the entrepreneur.
  2. provides profiles on the field partners that will administer the loan that includes information on past performance, mission of field partner, and rate of interest charged
  3. allows you to monitor the repayment of the loans on a monthly basis.
  4. provides oversight of field partners (including periodic audits of field partners to ensure ethical lending practices). 
  5. allows us to make small loans--$25 (pooled with other lenders’ funds). The enables us to make more loans which spreads the educational outreach of this program and also provides financial diversification for our investment.
  6. has a successful history of microlending. Since its first loan in 2005, has lent over $60 million, has made over 90,000 loans, and the recipients have achieved a remarkable 97% repayment rate.
How does work?

The figure below explains the money trail for microlending through On individuals choose an entrepreneur to lend to. Once the loan is fully funded, the entire loan amount is sent from to the field partner administering the loan. The entire loan amount is subsequently loaned to the entrepreneur. That entrepreneur repays the loan with interest in monthly installments to the field partner. When the principle is fully repaid, the entire principle (with no interest) is returned to the individual lenders’ accounts to be reloaned (or withdrawn).



LutherKiva members with Kiva co-founder, Jessica Jackley (standing left of plant)

LutherKiva members with Kiva co-founder, Jessica Jackley (blue scarf)

Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva, visits Luther

Important News

  • 2009 LutherKiva newsletter Get caught up on the first year of the LutherKiva! Download the newsletter.
    Posted Oct 31, 2009, 2:51 PM by Unknown user
  • Geography Challenge Success! Thanks to everyone who volunteered and participated in the Geography Challenge. We raised $600 for the "$10K for Kiva" campaign!Thanks to Professor David Thompson, Danny Moss, and Ben Johnson ...
    Posted Feb 19, 2009, 7:24 PM by Unknown user
  • LutherKiva meeting time WED 8:15pm Oneota fireplace If questions, contact Brett Johnson <> or Karishma Sushilkumar <>.
    Posted Feb 6, 2009, 11:47 AM by Unknown user
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Learn more about (VIDEOS):
3 min video
from New York Times' Nicholas Kristof

11 min video "The Story of a Loan"

15 min video about The Story of One loan in Uganda

Small Fortunes: Microcredit and the Future of Poverty

Many other resources to learn about

Detailed story about the beginnings of Kiva from co-founder Matt Flannery

Start your own campus group with the help of CampusKiva!

Karishma Sushilkumar and Brett Johnson speak to Northeast Iowa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship