Alyssa was born and raised in a small farm town in Connecticut, where she spent her childhood reading and spending time with her horse. She attended Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT where she double majored in International Business and Marketing, and has just finished her last semester. In 2011, she took a trip to Leon, Nicaragua to distribute microloans to a few small businesses. In preparation for the class, she read “Banker to the Poor” by Muhammad Yunus, it was an eye-opener for her that businesses and economic models could exist for a social cause and did not have to be about shareholder wealth. Alyssa started focusing more on social businesses, and through her position as the President of the International Business Society was able to bring Muhammad Yunus to speak at her university. She is excited for her Kiva Zip fellowship and hopes that it will help her better understand the loan process and challenges small businesses face in the United States. After her fellowship, she wants to work with small farmers helping them gain access to capital and fight harmful agricultural policies. In 2-3 years, she intends to go back to school for a Masters in Public Policy.

Fellows Blog Posts by Alyssa Thomas

Jun 25, 2014 US United States

If you ever get the chance to visit Richmond, you will most likely spend some time in an area called Carytown. Strolling down West Cary Street you can linger at restaurants, and shop in one of the many locally owned establishments on the street. You will also see not one, not two, and not even three, but four grocery stores all within a few blocks of one another. There is certainly no shortage of access to fresh food in this area. Other areas of Richmond aren’t as lucky. Venture over to the Southside or the East End, and you will find food... Continue Reading >>

Apr 11, 2014 US United States

Elizabeth from The Happy Tomato displaying her sauce at Community Investment Collaborative's graduation ceremony in Charlottesville, VA.
It was my first week as a Kiva fellow. A few weeks earlier I left training in San Francisco and my laptop was filled with PDFs and powerpoints; I had all the facts of Kiva Zip down. In my mind, I knew that this was an innovative loan product; 0% interest loans crowdfunded by lenders around the world. Oh, and did I mention that the loan was 0% interest? That was the best part of a... Continue Reading >>