Fellows Blog Posts by Erica Dorn

Oct 30, 2010 US United States

Growing up my family was big on ‘the road trip’. Every summer we would load up whatever large car we owned and we would set out on a good ol’fashioned American road trip. I’ve seen the world’s biggest prairie dog, stayed in a light house on Green bay, gotten stuck in a snow storm in New Mexico, and I can tell almost every state’s license plate from 20 feet way.

Family Roadtrip to El Dorado Lake, Kansas (1994)

Sadly it had been a while since I’ve been on a good road trip,...

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Jul 1, 2010

I’m not one for remembering dates; I’ll even admit that I confuse my mom and dad’s birthdays.  So when June 10th was approaching, there weren’t any plans going on to celebrate the one-year anniversary for ACCION USA’s partnership with Kiva.org.

Without further adieu, a blog post to commemorate the partnership!

On June 10, 2009 the first U.S. loan appeared on the Kiva website, Elizabeth Polanco. I did my best to be the first person to lend to a U.S. entrepreneur; Maria Shriver beat me to it though!

The weeks that followed ensued passionate...

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Apr 1, 2010 US United States

From Elizabeth Bueno, Kiva Program Intern at ACCION USA, Kiva’s first Domestic Field Partner.

Although I grew up in Queens and currently live in Brooklyn, the Bronx can feel like a world away. I find this interesting, since when I was a child I would dream of going to India or another far off country to somehow help humanity. My family never understood why I would want to go to India when I come from Colombia, a country that also suffers from deep poverty and even an internal civil war. What I’ve learned, especially living in New York, is that you don...

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Sep 30, 2009

By Erica Dorn, KF7 and now Kiva Coordinator at ACCION USA

I spend a good chunk of my time at ACCION USA trying to explain to the entrepreneurs what Kiva is, and why they should be as excited as I am to get their profiles on the internet so regular people can lend to them. So, you can imagine my surprise when an ACCION USA borrower, Dan, told me he found out about ACCION USA through Kiva’s website, instead of the other way around!

Dan and his self-designed greeting cards

Dan is certainly no stranger to the internet’s powerful...

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Sep 11, 2009


  Luis was one of the first Kiva borrowers I interviewed as a fellow at ACCION USA.  His sincerity and open heart are noticeable from the very beginning.

When Kiva’s president Premal Shah came to NYC during the domestic launch he had a chance to meet Luis.  As Premal, Gina Harman (ACCION USA CEO), Paul Quintero (ACCION USA CFO), and I began to talk to Luis about his road to entrepreneurship, his true story unfolded.

Luis faced many hardships...

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Jul 21, 2009 US United States

I’ve seen the effects of poverty in many parts of the world. A year spent in Latin America couldn’t have prepared me for the crushing poverty that I saw in India. In Jaipur- the lonesome eight year old girl with a baby strapped to her back collecting garbage along the train tracks. In Mumbai- the endless lines of street dwellers sleeping alongside the highway and the horrified starved looks on their faces. The man that used one arm to pull the small remaining portion of his body across the harsh cobblestone paths of Varanasi- I could never erase that image from my memory.

Nor can I...

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Jun 17, 2009

At the fellows training some of my companeros seemed shocked that I’d want to do a fellowship in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I have to admit, I admire the cost of a Terere in Paraguay compared to price of latte in NYC. Regardless, it’s been an incredible experience to participate with Kiva on the US launch.

In many ways the fellowship, the entreprenuers, even New York City itself has at times seemed enormously comparable to a fellowship in a developing country (I mean have you used the subways here!!!???).  But about the cause…

Why US...

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Jun 10, 2009

Maria Shriver and I just made a loan to Elizabeth, the first US Kiva Borrower- next week Elizabeth is cutting my hair!

The adrenaline rush I have right now going onto Kiva’s website and seeing loans for entrepreneurs in the United States might compare with what sports fans feel when they watch a good super bowl game.

It’s so exciting. I log into my Kiva account and can see the borrowers that we have been gathering the last few weeks all the sudden go active on the Kiva website.

Preparing for the U.S. launch has been somewhat of a “top secret” operation over the...

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May 26, 2009

One evening last week, Brooklyns’ Borough Hall opened its doors to over hundred information hungry entrepreneurs. Nydia Velazquez, A spunky and bold congresswoman addressed the diverse crowd of entrepreneurs.

This is what she had to say…

Nydia Velasquez from Erica Dorn on Vimeo.

  The recovery package has included…

The economic recovery package will enable up to $50 million to be disbursed in small, community-based loans like microloans that are capped at $35,000 each. In addition to this money, $24 million in technical assistance grants will also be...

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Apr 27, 2009 US United States

U.S. Microfinance 101

I hear the phrase U.S. microfinance and I perk up- I’m not alone. Last week I was at a microfinance 101 meeting in New York City. The event was catered to a group of young professionals that were interested in getting involved, somehow, in U.S. microfinance. Someone asked a question about repayment systems for U.S. microloans, wondering if borrowers come into the office to make repayments or do the loan officers go “into the field” to collect? The end goal with domestic microfinance is the same as it is internationally; empower individuals to create prosperity...

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