Magical Kiva Moments in Philadelphia

Last week, Matt and Premal visited Philadelphia, PA to share some magical moments in Kiva’s history. Upon arrival, the three of us had a warm visit with executives at Advanta headquarters in anticipation for the ‘big night’. Hours later, we arrived at the official KivaB4B Launch Party in Center City hosted by Advanta. The celebration included international / world-class entertainment from a classical BharataNatyam performance, to a martial arts dance demonstration by a Brazilian Capoiera troop from Penn. To add to the excitement, Advanta flew in Kiva loan recipient, Senerita Lilli, who candidly shared her story as a Kiva borrower. Senerita, a Samoan dressmaker, and her husband were graciously hosted by Advanta for two weeks to help promote the KivaB4B partnership. Meeting a Kiva borrower in the US was a surreal moment for us - in the history of Kiva, Matt has only met a few borrowers in the field…but never did we imagine that a borrower would come see us here in the US.

The following day, the Penn Microfinance Club hosted a successful conference at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology, featuring industry leaders including Sam-Daley Harris, and Rupert Scofield. (What better place to have a MF conference; after all, poverty does belong museums, right?!) Matt and Premal’s ‘tag-team style keynote’ brought the house down; and the energy in the room was the perfect ingress to the microfinance reception that followed. Our greatest supporters to date, Halloran Philanthropies, co-hosted the evening reception with Kiva, which welcomed 200 students, lenders, and professionals. In fact, we even met some local “KivaFriends”! Executive director of Halloran Philanthropies, Tony Carr, was SO impressed with the Capoiera demonstration from the previous night, he booked them on the spot! The performance stole the night and Premal even debuted his famous dance move, “the worm”.

However, my favorite moment of the night was this: I was having a conversation with one of our KivaFriends, when she casually revealed that the first loan that she had ever made on Kiva was to a Samoan dressmaker. Immediately, we learned that this borrower was indeed Senerita Lilli, our guest from Samoa! This strange, yet fateful, coincidence confirms my belief in the power of connections and the foundation in which Kiva has been built. The lender and borrower embraced; and to me, that is magic.

On behalf of Kiva, we’re thankful to Advanta, Halloran Philanthropies, and Penn Microfinance Club for a wonderful few days in Philadelphia, PA.

- Rupa Modi

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