The LISC Toolbox: Loans

The two important tools that really apply
to a lot of folks
and are our most frequent tools are lending and grants. So, for our loan programs, it really ranges from housing
to small business, and it can range
from major permanent loans and construction loans
to acquisition loans, and to even small business loans
for working capital, or to buy equipment that a business needs. So, we can go into a little bit of detail,
if that works for you– Sure. –about a couple of products that I think
would apply to arts organizations, or folks that are really looking
to jump-start their art business. The first one is a Kiva product. Kiva is a micro loan program where business entrepreneurs
can raise money through the crowd online, but it’s a 0% interest loan. So, we’ve partnered with Kiva
to match one-for-one every dollar raised from a business that is endorsed
by us through the crowd. So, these are loans of up to $10,000. There’s 0% interest. It means it’s basically free money
that you’ll eventually have to pay back– – (Sunny) But no interest?
– But no interest. And these are really targeted
toward businesses that are kind of getting started up and folks that maybe don’t have
the best credit, because, ultimately,
Kiva does social underwriting, which means if your friends
and family aren’t willing to lend to you for your project,
then you probably don’t get a loan. However, but if your friends and family
put up the money and say, “You know, we believe
in this person’s idea,” you move through the process
and can qualify to get on the Kiva program and, hopefully, get that loan. (Sunny) And do you have any examples
of arts and culture initiatives that have taken advantage of that program? Yes, so there’s actually
a young man in D.C. who is a yogi and really found a desire to really create a yoga space that was safe and welcoming
to African-Americans. He created a business called theKhepera Wellness,
and started teaching yoga classes in a studio along the corridor
that we’ve been working in for a while. Demand really picked up, and he actually even launched
a yoga class called “Trap Yoga,” which infuses Atlanta hip-hop music
with the yoga experience, and it really blew up. It was written up in the Washington Post, he was getting calls
from all across the country to have him come and teach, and he needed to expand. And so we worked with Brandon
to get on the Kiva platform. He ended up getting a loan
for about $7,000, which he needed to buy yoga mats
and really help expand his business.

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