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Three Loyola students recognized during Clinton Global Initiative University

Loyola press release - March 19, 2008

President Clinton recognized three Loyola University New Orleans students (Elliot Sanchez, Nicole Kone and Aaron Kirsh) for their commitment in the inaugural Clinton Global Initiative University held Saturday, March 13 at Tulane University. The three students committed to implement a microfinance service program at Loyola that will enable the working poor of New Orleans to lift themselves out of poverty through the distribution of small loans and other financial products.

Out of more than 600 commitments made by more than 700 students from six continents, Clinton chose only nine commitments to personally point out at the conference. The three students were recognized at the event with an outstanding commitment award presented personally by President Clinton. (Video of the presentation to the Loyola students is linked here at 21 minutes, 15 seconds into the main video.)

The Loyola student-sponsored microfinance fund proposed by Sanchez, Kone and Kirsh would provide people who do not qualify for mainstream financial services with small loans to purchase income-producing assets, such as paint or construction supplies. The program aims to help alleviate poverty locally by giving residents small loans to recoup their assets in order for them to generate income.

The fund will provide more than 30 loans of $100 or more over the next 18 months. Loyola University’s Student Government Association has committed over $3000 a year to fund the program.

“What these young people are doing is potentially very important, not only because there are plenty of people in New Orleans who can generate more wealth and income if they have a very modest amount of credit that is repayable at anything approaching an affordable rate, but also because this is not a problem that is confined here,” Clinton said. “What they are doing has potential positive application throughout the United States wherever there are people who have good ideas and low incomes and limited access to credit.”