Lisa Hall: Ending Poverty Through Investment

Lisa Hall: Ending Poverty Through Investment

President/CEO of the Calvert Foundation talks innovative financial services for disadvantaged communities.

I think a lot of the social problems that exist in this world could be solved with compassion and empathy.

For many in the United States, the first to-do item after you've been admitted into college or after you've decided to purchase a new car is to head to the bank to ask for a loan. But what if you are one of the millions of people worldwide that are shut out of the financial system? Where would you turn for financial assistance? One of the places might be the Calvert Foundation. The Maryland-based nonprofit works with investors to offer affordable credit to people living in impoverished communities. “A Filipina cab driver started off driving his taxi under a leased arrangement,” says Lisa Hall, the organization’s President and CEO. “Through a loan with one of our borrowers, he was able to finance the purchase of an actual taxi.” Eventually, says Hall, the man was able to build his own fleet and, later, water wells for his family and his community. “We’re at a tipping point, I believe,” says Hall. Calvert Foundation has $200 million invested in 250 community organizations in all 50 states and over 100 countries. “We’re really seeing a paradigm shift where investors are willing to put their capital for social good and not just for return."

TakePart travelled to the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, England, to pick the brains of the world’s biggest thinkers. These Innovators in Action are changing the face of the future with bold new ideas and profound enthusiasm. Motivated by personal experience and fueled by the hope that things can get better, these innovators—each of them true social entrepreneurs—are improving our world, one brilliant business idea at a time.

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