Karen Little, Director of Development at Kiva, and Ann Ewasechko, Global Manager of Strategic Partnerships & Innovation in Education at HP, discussed the great success of their joint social campaign “Matter to a Million” during a Wednesday afternoon session.
Matter to a Million is a 5-year global partnership between HP and Kiva aiming to support 1 million entrepreneurs around the world through microlending and, as Ewasechko said, to empower employees to make an impact and a difference.
Kiva works with local partners around the world helping the non-profit organization to follow the entrepreneurs and give them support. Through the campaign, HP gives each of its employees a $25 credit to lend to entrepreneurs in developing countries. The HP Foundation and Kiva launched the initiative in February, and $1 million in loans was raised and 30 percent of employees participated in the first week alone. To date, more than 120,000 employees in 40 countries have lent $6 million dollars through 190,000 microloans.
Ewasechko explained the importance of corporate social investment and how HP engaged its employees at a global level. “When employees are invited and there is a small call to action, it is easier to engage them.”
She said the initiative had strong company leadership support, and its emotional impact effectively engaged employees around the world.
Matter to a Million places the entrepreneur at the center and the storytelling plays a crucial role for the success of the project.
Ewasechko explained the company used HP library photos to share information and the impact of the campaign. Behind every photo there was a real entrepreneur in Africa, Latin America or India with small resources and a big dream.
Little then explained Kiva’s initial concerns about working with such a big company as HP. Corporates and social organizations often speak different languages, have different priorities and different time frames, but Little said this was not the case with the Matter to a Million partnership.
This campaign is a striking example of a successful cross-sector partnership where employee engagement and participation, social impact and responsible investment are all aligned in order to create shared value on a grand scale.