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Thank you all who participated and contributed to another insightful and successful event. 

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A critical view of microfinance

It is true that not all MFI are the same and the various models of microfinance have mixed results on poverty reduction. This blog offers some insights on the skeptical views of microfinance. Check it out.
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6:00 TO 8:00 PM
School of Public Service | DePaul University
14 E. Jackson Blvd, 16th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604
Join in person and online
Register at

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ZAFEN: It's our business:

Zafèn is a funding source for growing Haitian businesses and social projects that do not qualify for traditional bank loans and otherwise would not have access to capital. Its goals are to:

1) Enable small/medium Haitian enterprises to expand their businesses, create jobs and transform their economy while building a credit history through interest-free loans, and

2) Support valuable education and community improvement projects through donations.
Zafèn, which means "It's our business" in Haitian Creole, was established to stimulate collaboration between Haiti-based business owners, the Haitian Diaspora and caring people everywhere interested in developing the Haitian economy. Zafèn accomplishes its mission by presenting businesses and projects to the public that have been screened for their potential viability and likelihood of contributing to Haitian economic empowerment. Due diligence is conducted by business analysts who work for Fonkoze, an alternative bank for the poor with offices across Haiti. The analysts submit the proposals to a committee, which includes representatives of Zafèn's partners, for final evaluation. Approved projects are posted at to attract funding. Zafèn users select the business or project they want to support and make loans or donations as small as $25.

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Opportunity International

Opportunity International provides access to savings, small business loans, insurance and training to more than 5 million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world. Clients in 22 countries use these financial services to expand businesses, provide for their families, create jobs for their neighbors and build a safety net for the future.

Learn more at

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Grameen Foundation
Learn about fighting poverty through micro-finance.

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Opportunity International Approach to Microfinance

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TO CATCH A DOLLAR: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America is a powerful documentary by Gayle Ferraro. The film follows Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Yunus as he brings his unique and revolutionary microfinance program to the US.

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The Zell Center Chicago Microfinance Conference is a collaborative effort among leading graduate business and policy institutions that brings together practitioners, academics and emerging industry leaders to advance the strategic debate of the future of microfinance. The conference is independent and aims to provide a forum to discuss the key issues affecting the microfinance industry and allow for free and honest discourse of those issues. The conference is not designed to introduce people to microfinance; rather, it aims to advance the strategic debate and help participants uncover new approaches to microfinance. Learn more.

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Islamic microfinance include banking activity consistent with the principles of sharia and its practical application through the development of Islamic economics. Sharia prohibits the fixed or floating payment or acceptance of specific interest or fees (known as riba, or usury) for loans of money. Islamic finance offers a combination of social justice concerns and sensible risk management strategies well suited for investment in community development projects.
The Chicago Islamic Microfinance Project (CIMFP) offers Shariah-compliant investment financing in targeted areas in the City of Chicago. Financing is supported by business skills education projects for existing and potential customers. CIMFP fosters a sense of community and responsibility among participating entrepreneurs by providing supportive services to encourage business development and success. By directly investing in the targeted communities, CIMFP creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop their own solutions to the economic downturn on a small, healthy scale, while simultaneously providing useful and necessary services to benefit the community.
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