Criterion Institute and it’s President & Founder, Joy Anderson, were asked to join other social change leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative America conference June 7th and 8th, 2012 in Chicago and to commit to a project that would benefit American small businesses. 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. In this video, Joy Anderson, Founder of the Church as an Economic Being initiative and Criterion Institute, explains the details of this commitment.

Criterion identifies and catalyzes opportunities to make financial markets better serve people and communities. Given recent breakdowns in our domestic economy, small businesses across American communities are struggling and unemployment levels are devastating.

The methodology of this commitment is quite simple: we’re working with churches to make micro loans in the range of $1,500 to $5,000 to small businesses in their communities. Accomplishing this, though, is quite difficult because micro-lending is new territory for most churches. Criterion will step in with its ten year-long history of engaging churches as economic actors to bring the connections and resources this movement needs. We calculate that each church could support approximately 20 businesses with these interest-earning loans over the course of five years. If 1,000 congregations were involved, it would benefit 20,000 small business owners and would mean $100 million more dollars invested in our domestic economy.

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