2023 Best JEDI Initiative (Justice, Equity, Diversity And/Or Inclusion)
The US Women’s National Team Players Association works to create positive advancement for its members on and off the field, and by extension the communities they play in. Through player advocacy and partnership with organizations around the world, the USWNTPA uses its platform to change the game in a variety of areas they are passionate about, including equal pay, economic justice and access to sport. Through its campaign with Kiva, the USWNTPA seeks to build a more inclusive and equitable community by providing micro loans to empower business owners where members live and play.
Kiva and the Players Association sought to fund business loans in target cities in the United States, increase brand recognition and awareness, and bring new donors to the Kiva platform. The players association agreed to provide $2.5 million in no-fee 0 percent interest loans to 3,000 businesses in the US by 2025, aiming to support economic justice and to efficiently make funds available to underserved borrowers where USWNT plays its games.
Soccer games were opportunities to draw attention to the partnership between the players association and KIVA. Months in advance, loan matching is executed so that recipients can be highlighted at games in the cities where they work. This allows the entrepreneurs to feel supported, and for the audience to see the power of the support for KIVA. Throughout 2022, USWNTPA matched loans 1 to 1 on Kiva.org, to small businesses in cities where the team played their matches. The USWNTPA also provided $25 Kiva Credits to players and fans to loan to an entrepreneur of their choice.
Kiva and the USWNTPA partnered on a 3-year lending program, where USWNTPA funds are used to match loans on Kiva’s crowdfunding platform. As borrowers repay their loans, the funds return to the USWNTPA account where they are re-lent to others on the platform. This creates a cycle of impact, where one deposit by USWNTPA can make 2-3x times the impact in loans to thousands of borrowers.
In 2022, the USWNTPA surpassed their original goal of supporting 400 borrowers in 4 years, by supporting 1,384 borrowers with $285,698 in funds in the first year of partnership. Due to the success in the program’s first year, the USWNTPA increased their commitment to support 3,000 entrepreneurs by 2025.
Fans, players, and partners were inspired to support loans that were matched by the Players Association or they could select loans on the site to support with a Kiva Credit courtesy of the USWNTPA. The USWNTPA also leveraged its network of partners and sponsors to establish a second fund, the Friends of USWNTPA, increasing the pool of loan funds available to Kiva entrepreneurs.