(April 22, 2010)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Co-Founder of Kiva.org Jessica Jackley to Speak at Commencement

SHREVEPORT, La. — Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva.org, the world's first peer-to-peer online microlending website, will speak at Centenary College of Louisiana's 2010 commencement ceremonies, Saturday, May 8 at 10:30 a.m.

Jessica Jackley
Jessica Jackley

As a co-founder of Kiva.org, the world's first peer-to-peer microlending website, Jessica Jackley has helped entrepreneurs from across the world make their dreams come true. Kiva's mission is "to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty" by allowing users to lend money to small business owners in the developing world.

At Kiva.org, users can make microloans directly to specific developing world entrepreneurs, who then use the money to start or grow a small business, and lift themselves out of poverty. Loans start at $25.

Named one of the top ideas of 2006 by The New York Times Magazine, Kiva.org has been called "revolutionary" by the BBC, and featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Oprah and on The Today Show, among many others. Since its founding, in 2005, Kiva.org has loaned more than $100 million from lenders to entrepreneurs across 182 countries (By 2012, it expects to have loaned over $1 billion to the world's working poor). For all its success, Kiva remains animated by a simple message ("To connect people through lending to alleviate poverty") and by the idea that relationships are a powerful force for positive change.

Jackley, a finalist for TIME's 100 Most Influential People in 2009 and an honoree for USA Networks' Character Approved Award in 2010, first saw the power and dignity of microfinance while working in East Africa with a microenterprise non-profit. Sector-agnostic about social change, Jackley has worked for public, nonprofit, and private organizations including the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Amazon, and others.

In 2009, she began work on ProFounder, which provides new ways for small businesses in the U.S. to access start-up funding through community involvement.

Jackley holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a BA in Philosophy and Political Science. She currently teaches Global Entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at USC, speaks widely on microfinance and social entrepreneurship, and serves as director of the board for several organizations, both for-profit and non-profit.

Jackley will speak to a graduating class of about 200 and an audience of about 2,000 during Centenary's annual commencement ceremonies in the Gold Dome.


About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as “One of the Best 371 Colleges” by the Princeton Review and one of “America’s Best Colleges” and one of “America’s Best Private Colleges” by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.

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