MicroBank, a student-run microfinance club at The Meadows School, has been lending money to entrepreneurs in 42 developing countries over the past five years, one of the first U.S. schools to take on such a global initiative. Their efforts are impacting many lives, encouraging entrepreneurship, and teaching club members about responsibility, business management, and financial skills. Between 25-30 students in Grades 9-12 participate; an outreach program hopes to involve middle schoolers in the coming years.
A student Leadership Team oversees all operations, while the Student Store sells/rents uniforms, used textbooks, school supplies, etc. Profits go to the Loan Department, which works with an outside provider to establish low-risk microloans, ensuring the club’s principal will be returned. To date, over $88,000, in amounts ranging from $100 – 250, has been distributed, with a default rate of under 0.2 percent.
MicroBank’s effects have been far-reaching: A Rwandan widow’s vegetable business now helps cover school expenses for her four children. An Armenian farmer—who’s also a mother and grandmother—has increased her pig stock and feed supplies. And four children in Mongolia can attend university because their father’s costume business is thriving. Club members are proud to share in their success.