Monday, February 16, 2009

Citi Foundation Funding Helps 15 MicroEnterprise Organizations

WASHINGTON, DC. — With funding from the Citi Foundation, 15 nonprofit community-based organizations across the country that help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses will be able to hire graduate students as summer interns this year. Called the "Citi Aspen Interns Project," the interns will help collect data on clients, while also learning about the microenterprise development field, which provides budding entrepreneurs with capital and/or training.
This is the third consecutive year that Citi Foundation has supported the internship project. Funding allows each organization to recruit and hire an intern, who receives a $7,000 stipend.

As part of the $250,000 program, the Citi Foundation is funding researchers at FIELD, the Microenterprise Fund for Innovation, Effectiveness, Learning and Dissemination, to manage the project and provide the interns with data collection training. FIELD is part of the Washington, D.C.-based Aspen Institute.
Microenterprises are defined as very small businesses capitalized with $35,000 or less and employing five or fewer people. Today, approximately 500 organizations nationwide are engaged in the microenterprise field.

Data collected through the project can be used by the organizations to identify gaps in service, fund-raise or advocate for entrepreneurship. The internship experience exposes college students both to the microenterprise field and to potential careers within the industry.

Organizations were selected for the project through a competitive application process. The 15 organizations and their locations are:

Business Outreach Center Network, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Georgia Micro Enterprise Network, Atlanta, Ga.
Hebrew Free Loan Society, New York, N.Y.
Justine Petersen, St. Louis, Mo.
Latino Economic Development Corporation, Washington, D.C.
MercyCorps Northwest, Portland, Ore.
Nebraska Enterprise Fund, Oakland, Neb.
Opportunity Fund, San Jose, Calif.
Philadelphia Development Partnership, Philadelphia, Pa.
South Carolina Community Enterprise and Women's Business Center, Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund, Salt Lake City, Utah
Washington Community Alliance for Self-Help (CASH), Seattle, Wash.
Women's Economic Ventures, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Women's Enterprise Development Center, White Plains, N.Y.
Women's Initiative, San Francisco, Calif.

The Citi Foundation is committed to enhancing economic opportunities for underserved individuals and families in the communities where it works throughout the world. In the U.S. and Canada, the Citi Foundation supports Community Development programs that help build and revitalize neighborhoods and Education programs that prepare students for college and careers.

FIELD is a nonprofit research organization created to identify, develop and disseminate best practices in the microenterprise field and to broadly educate policy makers, funders and others about microenterprise as an anti-poverty intervention.

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs and public conferences and events.

Small businesses are the backbone of America, and this program fuels the entrepreneurial spirit by assisting small companies and individuals to excel.

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