I help run a microfinance site that fights poverty by providing loans to low-income people in developing countries.
What to do with $27 and 27 gumballs?
Janelle is managing director of Gumball Capital, an online nonprofit organization run by Stanford University students that provides microloans to low-income people in developing countries. Gumball signs up student groups and gives them $27 and 27 gumballs (plus a cool t-shirt), and challenges them to see how much money they can raise in a week. Groups have organized bake sales, dorm-room makeovers, and, says Janelle, "every kind of gumball game or contest you can think of."
Entrepreneurs with a social conscience
The money raised by the student entrepreneurs is then donated to a microfinance site like Kiva.org, which gives out small business loans to people who are often turned away by traditional banks. A Pakistani woman named Saima, for example, borrowed $65 to start an embroidery business, which eventually employed 30 families in her village.
What's her passion?
Using the power of the Internet to alleviate poverty. "Gumball had a small following at first, but this year 50 schools are participating. We've raised over $22,000 for our causes, and more people are coming to our website and learning about us every day."
Day in the life of a gumballer
Janelle's computing experience is key to running Gumball. She oversees the revamping and redesign of the website and has helped add social media and gaming features to attract and engage more students.