While the New Orleans economy grows, many hardworking individuals are left without the necessary tools to succeed. The informal economy is part of what makes New Orleans so unique, but unfortunately the artists, musicians, hair stylists, or home chefs are often not given the proper resources and operate below or at the poverty line. Fund 17 exists as a platform for micro-enterprises to transition into the formal economic system, where their assets are protected and can grow.
This fall, Fund 17 plans to select a cohort of 10-15 undergraduate students from various New Orleans universities. Fellows will go through an intensive, five-week training program covering business development, personal finance, micro-lending, New Orleans geography and social institutions, goal-setting, listening skills and more. After fellows have passed a practical assesment, they will work in the community to scale our services.
Our services include:
Customized relationships are at the heart of our impact. Fund 17 fellows work one-on-one with hardworking, but underserved, entrepreneurs to help turn passions into sustainable livelihoods. Fellows listen to an entrepreneur’s goals to create a tailored action plan that provides guidance on growing the entrepreneur’s business and income. Common topics covered are price setting, social media & marketing, business budgeting, and credit building. These relationships add value to our lending, as borrowers hold “social collateral” with Fund 17—a proven strategy for high repayment rates.
When Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus founded the microfinance model, millions of underserved entrepreneurs that had to rely on loan sharks in their attempt to escape poverty began to receive affordable and safe credit. Like Yunus’s mission to serve “the poorest of the poor,” Fund 17 believes in the power of capital that is accessible to all. After a relationship with Fund 17 has been established, entrepreneurs can work with their fellow to apply for a loan. Our collateral-free loans, up to $1,500, are tailored to the income and capability of our borrowers. Without other assets such as savings, credit cards, or family networks, micro-entrepreneurs can borrow with Fund 17 and transform their livelihood.
Financial Empowerment Seminars
After the fellowship program is launched, fellows will lead a minimum of 10 new seminars over the next year. Seminars increase our stake in the community by establishing partnerships with key actors, expanding our physical presence and visibility, and bringing our services to the greater New Orleans population. We offer Financial Empowerment seminars on basic personal finance as well as customized workshops based on the requests of community partners.
What is my money going to?
We are looking to raise $10,000 to cover the minimum expenses of launching our new fellowship program in Fall 2015. Through this program, we will empower a new community of micro-entrepreneurs in New Orleans while inspiring students to be active agents for social change wherever the future takes them. Program costs include resources necessary for fellowship training and the expenses of fellows implementing our services such as loan funds and workshop materials. The more money we raise, the more we can invest in the New Orleans community.
Is my donation tax-deductible?
Yes! Fund 17 is a Louisiana non-profit that receives federal tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status through our fiscal sponsor, The Intersect Fund. The Intersect Fund is a micro-lender in New Jersey and the home of the Lend for America program.
I would rather write a check. Can I?
Yes! Send them to our fiscal sponsor, The Intersect Fund:
Intersect Fund Corporation
59 Lincoln Park
Newark, NJ 07102
Write firstname.lastname@example.org for any inquiries on our budgets, services, or model.
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