When you think of high school students and finances, you might imagine a classroom where students are being taught how to manage a budget or student loans; or perhaps you might imagine a student working a part-time job after school to learn the benefits of hard work and earning a living. However, students at The Meadows School in Las Vegas have taken it one step further.
The Meadows School is home to a phenomenal philanthropic group of students called the MicroBank. Their goal is to help entrepreneurs in developing countries. “It’s a great mission for students because they get to learn both about how financial lending and borrowing works and the value of philanthropy,” says Adam Betzelberger, a teacher at the school and faculty advisor of the program. “We get to see who we help. We get an update of how people are doing and when they paid back their full amount and how their families are doing.”
The MicroBank has been giving out loans since their inception in 2008, and they have given out 536 loans worth more than $104,000. The recipients of these loans are in countries like Paraguay, the Philippines, and Rwanda. Of these loans, 98.5 percent of them have been paid back.
“Of that $104,000, we’ve only lost about $350,” Betzelberger said. Most of their losses are due to exchange rates between countries. For a group run by high school students, this is quite impressive.
The MicroBank partners with Kiva, a nonprofit crowdfunding organization, to make all of their aspirations possible. You can see the MicroBank’s current projects by visiting their website.
The work done by these young philanthropists is inspirational, and proof that it doesn’t require a great deal of expertise or money to do a little good for others. Or in MicroBank’s case, a lot of good!