Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | By: Jake

Your Help

It has without a doubt been way too long since I have last posted on this blog, and for that, I sincerely apologize. During my time in Nicaragua, I had quite a bit of time for reflection. As many of you know, I was enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame until I dropped out in January and switched over to study theology at the University instead.

When I arrived in Nicaragua, I met a very sweet woman named Lily, who was studying business at a college in downtown Managua. We spoke back and forth for a while about what I wanted to do with my life, and she was shocked to find out that I had left the business school. "Why would you ever leave!? You can do such great things!"

...to which I responded in a "this should be common knowledge" tone: "Um...because business is evil."

However, after much talk with Lily and my time at New Hope Children's Foundation, I came to learn that business is not evil, that business can actually help you do a lot. While I was at New Hope, I helped them with their social media and marketing strategies, and it really helped bring in a lot more donations.

After I arrived back in the States in August, I drove up to Notre Dame with my wonderful grandmother and re-enrolled at the Mendoza College of Business. Obviously, this journey has a lot more depth to it, but that's the basics of it. I've grown very passionate in my studies this semester...so much so that I even gave a presentation at the University entitled Why Business IS a Force for Good and NOT a "Necessary Evil".

Back in my freshman year, I helped start a microfinance institution here at Notre Dame with a few other students. For my first two years, we were a team of 6-10 students and welcomed any and all to be part of our team. However, this past semester, we have changed drastically. We're now a team of 30 students that require applications and interviews for all associates (with about a 35% acceptance rate).

Our team works to provide loans to low-income individuals in the South Bend community and help them bring develop financial independence. Our main goal is to be an organization that brings people out of poverty, in contrast with helping them manage poverty. We have already given out eight loans this past semester that have all either been paid back or are on their original set payback periods.

This organization is my main priority at the University, and we are currently in need of funds. We just started our winter campaign and are hoping to raise $8,500 by January. As of now, we are 49% of the way there, which is why I'm asking you for your help. Most college microfinance institutions struggle with finding clients and have an overwhelming amount of money...for us, we have clients calling in daily, and we have to turn them down due to a lack of funds.

I'm asking you to please consider making a donation to the Jubilee Initiative for Financial Inclusion. We've put together numerous packages such as a signed book by famous Notre Dame President Fr. Theodore Hesburgh (who currently holds the world record for the most honorary doctorates!), and your gift would mean so much to the team. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to email or call me.

You can donate by visiting our fundraising site or by going to our website at jiffi.org!

Deeply grateful,