Criterion Institute’s President & Founder, Joy Anderson, was asked to join other social change leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI) conference June 7th and 8th, 2012, in Chicago and to commit to a project that would benefit American small businesses. We were asked to return to CGI again in June 2015.
Criterion’s CGI America commitment is to galvanize a movement in the faith-based community and engage local churches across the United States in using their assets to strengthen local economies. We call this program 1K Churches. The methodology is quite simple: we’re asking 1,000 churches to make micro loans in the range of $500 to $5,000 to small businesses in their communities. Micro-lending in their own communities is new territory for most churches and can be challenging. With its long history of engaging churches as economic actors, Criterion brings the connections and resources this movement needs.
1K Churches was chosen for this honor because of the project’s astonishing potential for impact. We calculate that each of 1,000 churches could support approximately 20 businesses with loans over the course of five years. This benefits 20,000 small business owners and means $100 million more dollars invested in our domestic economy.