Friday, January 22, 2010

Join us for a Microcredit Panel Discussion in Austin

Dear DHF Family,
Never fear...Nora Bedard will be returning in two weeks to Cajamarca to resume her full time duty as Program Manager for the DiscoverHope Fund (congratulations to her for her marriage on Jan 4!). We have a lot of exciting program movement upcoming this year so stay tuned for more colorful stories from the field. In the meantime, join us in Austin if you can...

Central Texans striving to lift the Base of the Pyramid!

Join Net Impact Austin for a speaker panel discussing a convergence of microfinance, creative philanthropy and business opportunities that are lifting people in developing countries out of poverty. There are over 4 billion people around the world who live on less than $2.00 a day. They are what’s known as the Base of the Pyramid (or BoP). Come and learn how people based right here in Central Texas are working to create funding mechanisms and education programs to help these our global neighbors to build communities that thrive with meaningful, sustainable work, higher household incomes and improved social and environmental conditions.
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The panelists include:
Maggie Miller is Founder and Executive Director of DiscoverHope Fund (DHF), an international development nonprofit promoting abundance for women and their families living in economic poverty through microcredit and sustainable support systems. Maggie spent nearly two years living in mountains of Cajamarca Peru developing and implementing the microcredit pilot project that evolved into DHF, a nonprofit that Maggie registered in 2006 with the state of TX and with the IRS to create a 501c3 public charity. In 2006, she was chosen as a research fellow for FINCA and FriendshipBridge to conduct grassroots research on poverty and the power of microcredit in Panajachel, Guatemala. Maggie directs the day-to-day management and growth of DHF from headquarters in Austin TX and travels back to Peru annually to work with DHF’s field-based Peru Program Manager. Prior to her international work, Maggie enjoyed six years in nonprofit management in San Diego as a Program Director, focusing on program design and evaluation for youth development programs for peace after completing her MA in Communication. Maggie received her Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations in 2009

Norma Van Horn is the Program Director of A Glimmer of Hope. She works closely with the Addis Ababa, Ethiopia country office to manage and coordinate A Glimmer of Hope’s roughly 750 construction projects and $2 million microfinance portfolio. I have been at A Glimmer of Hope – my dream job – since mid-2008. For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by Africa. The sunsets, the animals, the music, the culture and the primal roots of humanity captured me from a very early age. In 2004, my husband and I celebrated our second anniversary with a two week safari in Africa which was everything I had hoped it would be and more. What I wasn’t prepared for was the poverty. My career as a technology product manager and graduate student had taken me all over the world – Asia, Russia, Eastern and Western Europe – but nothing prepares you for Africa. We returned compelled to do something about the extreme poverty we had seen and started a small business for the sole purpose of raising money for microfinance organizations. Shortly after that we started a family and I chose to be a stay-at-home mom for one precious, irreplaceable year. Giving that up to join A Glimmer of Hope was a tough decision but it is incredibly meaningful to know that my efforts are helping to make a constructive difference in the lives of remote, rural Ethiopians every day and I count my lucky stars that I am able to do this work.

Steve Wanta is passionate about microfinance and other business solutions that are improving the lives of the poor. He was hired by Whole Planet Foundation in March 2006 as the Field Program Manager to support the creation of new MFIs in Guatemala and Costa Rica in partnership with Grameen Trust. Only months prior to beginning with the Foundation, Steve had completed his two years of service in the Peace Corps working with rural Guatemalan farmers implementing business solutions in an effort to improve their livelihoods. His development experience complimented by his previous work in business development at Dell Computer Corporation have allowed Steve to bridge between people living in poverty and leaders looking to understand the challenges of the poor. Now as the Executive Program Director, Steve is responsible for overseeing and expanding Whole Planet Foundation’s portfolio of microfinance projects around the world. Steve is proud to be an owner of the Green Bay Packers, avid rugby player, and fluent Spanish speaker.

Moderated by Scott Collier. Scott has worked in venture capital and private equity since 1991 and has been a student of microfinance in the developing world for most of that time. He is currently a Managing Director of Austin-based Triton Ventures and also advises private and publicly-traded companies on matters of capital formation, corporate development and strategy. Prior to Triton he served as Vice President of Capital Southwest Corporation, a publicly-traded venture capital firm with assets under management of over $500M.. Scott has had board responsibility for numerous venture backed companies and currently serves on the board of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas and the Austin Technology Council and on the advisory board of PeopleFund. He is currenly part of a leadership team forming Slow Money Alliance Austin, serves on the advisory board for Austin-area Community Development Financial Institution PeopleFund, and chairs the steering committee for the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition. He also created Rockroom Wine Cooperative, a producer of premium wines that invests all profits from wine sales in microloans in the developing world through microfinance partner
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