Jonathon Stalls learned about Kiva in a college class in 2007, and three years later, he took to the streets to spread the word about microfinance. Literally. Jonathon so deeply believes in the empowerment of Kiva loans that he walked across the United States over the course of over eight months to raise awareness and funds for the cause.
The results are as exciting as the journey: since his quest began, Jonathon and the Kiva Walk Lending Team that supports him have lent over a half million dollars to entrepreneurs around the globe! This total puts them in second place for their category in all-time total amount loaned, and includes over 22,000 loans made to individuals around the world. Jonathon chose Kiva because he sees it as a tool to empower and connect entrepreneurs around the world. And as an entrepreneur himself, the Kiva Walk project is a way for Jonathon to combine his interests and make a positive social impact.
In the International Bank of Bob, author Bob Harris describes how he had the opportunity to join the last miles of Jonathon’s Kiva Walk through San Francisco, accompanied by Kiva staff and other supporters of the cause. Bob points out that the value of Jonathon’s journey can’t be reduced to the dollar amount (however great) that was raised throughout the trek: “the ripple effects would never show up in an academic study, but they may be the most profound.” The nearly $600,000 in loans can stand on its own as having a clear impact on the world, but it’s the potential of this “ripple effect” that we love to think about. And we’re thrilled to see the ripple of Jonathon’s Kiva Walk keep spreading.
During his walk, Jonathon built up a network of followers, including many students and educators that are eager to serve as Kiva ambassadors. Since Jonathon first learned of Kiva while in college, it seems fitting that he continues to make students a target audience.
This Friday, April 12th, Jonathon will be giving a TEDx Talk to tell students and teachers about the Kiva Walk and latest initiative, Walk2Connect. You can listen to the talk live and help celebrate the Month of Microfinance by lending through Kiva or taking a page from Jonathon’s book by walking around your neighborhood and inviting others to make a loan.
Polly grew up in the Pacific Northwest and moved to the Bay Area from Salem, OR in September 2012. She just finished up a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA working with high school-aged youth trying to integrate into higher education. She is excited to get going as the new Community Education intern; particularly the opportunity to interact with students who are pumped up about microfinance! Having been a Kiva lender for several years, and spreading the love by giving loans as gifts, it is so fun to now be a part of the team, working to inspire more young lenders. Polly studied Political Science, Spanish and Social Justice at the University of Portland and graduated in 2011. She loves to travel, read, play would-you-rather, and dance!