Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most common questions we are asked about our organization. Click on the “+” sign to reveal the answer. If you don’t find your answer here, don’t hestitate to contact us.
In the eyes of traditional bankers, these micro-entrepreneurs are far from ideal clients: their loans are too small to justify the time and expense needed to administer them, and they lack the collateral, steady employment and credit history required by traditional lenders. They are clients who have been turned down by traditional banks.
The Greater Contribution Corporation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in Thousand Oaks, CA in 2006, by four women seeking to make a “greater contribution” to the world. It is an all-volunteer group that works to raise funds to fight poverty and raise awareness of the issues relating to poor people worldwide. We support humanitarian agencies that are already established and operating programs that are consistent with our goals.
The Greater Contribution funds micro loans in East African countries, which are some of the poorest countries in the world: Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda. We have also funded loans in Haiti.
We work closely with our clients to help them build their businesses so they can earn more, become part of the larger marketplace, and enter the global economy. In addition to working capital, we train them in good business practices, business management, accounting, budgeting and most importantly, savings practices to help them weather crises such as illnesses or death in the family, or natural disasters.
Very small loans ($50-$300) that help poor women start small business to create a sustainable income. Salaries or wage paying jobs are scarce in many developing countries. Up to 80% of such populations derive their incomes from self-employment. To survive, they must create their own jobs by starting tiny businesses or micro-enterprises. However, in many instances entrepreneurs lack the capital to initiate or grow their businesses. Small micro credit loans can provide that money. These loans are used to start a business or “micro-enterprise” to support their families’ basic needs. These “micro-entrepreneurs” make food, sew clothes, mend shoes, or sell vegetables and fruit in the street- anything to put food on the table.
Women borrowers of micro loans have reported that money from their increased earnings are used first for improving their children’s nutrition, health and education, and then for home improvements. In addition, when women begin to create a sustainable income and increase the standard of living for the family, their status in the family increases. They are no longer abused or regarded as second class citizens and gain much more respect from their husbands.
On average each donation results in 2-3 loans being made within the first year. Each borrower repays the loan within four to six months. Each loan provides start-up capital that will support a family that averages five people.
Neighbors come together in financial support groups called loan groups. Individuals borrow start up or working capital for their micro-enterprises, and because they have little to offer for collateral, the group guarantees those loans.
Our donations go directly to our partners on the ground who administer our loans. The funds are transferred safely and there are no governmental agencies involved.