Members of the Microfinance Club at UC Berkeley
Members of the Microfinance Club at UC Berkeley

Eight students from Hamilton’s microfinance organization attended Lend for America’s 6th Annual Summit at the University of California, Berkeley, on Nov. 15 and 16.

The theme of the two-day microfinance conference was “activating impact.” Through hands-on training workshops, panel discussions and scheduled networking opportunities, students learned how to build effective campus microfinance organizations and activate impact within their local communities and future careers.

Hamilton attendees were Alexa Cohen ’15, Russ DeGrazia ’15, Landon Morin ’16, Enjay Ofoleta ’16, Hannah O’Leary ’17, Brady Sprague ’15, Arthur Williams ’16, and Lisa Yang ’17.

Some of the featured workshops were “Connecting to the Community: Better Serve Your Market,” “Fifty Shades of Financial Coaching,” and “Cash Flow is King: Analyzing Business Income in the Real World.”

One of Hamilton Microfinance’s major takeaways was learning how to better understand and serve their loan candidates. Out of the 20 campus organizations represented, Hamilton was the only one that focused on serving refugee populations.

The summit reinforced for Hamilton Microfinance members that they must not only provide financial assistance, but also financial education to their clients. As a part of the organization’s current loan process, they help clients think about their business plan, open a savings account, and complete a loan application to better integrate them into the American banking system. However, the group’s next step is to implement what they learned at the summit by providing additional tools for clients to achieve personal and business financial success.

The $400 million campaign marked the most ambitious fundraising initiative in the College's history.

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