Frequently Asked Questions
What do you do?
Founded in 1984 as the Wisconsin Coordinating Council on Nicaragua, WCCN, now Working Capital for Community Needs, empowers low-income Latin American entrepreneurs by sustaining partnerships with microfinance organizations and fair trade coffee organizations. As one of the first social impact funds in the United States, we have invested more than $140 million, reaching an average of approximately 20,000 small business owners a year. Our loan fund, the Capital for Communities Fund, is 30 years old, and we currently work with over 350 individual and institutional investors, representing approximately 500 investments. With a long track record of supporting the working poor in Latin America and paying back investors, WCCN has high investor loyalty.
Where do you work?
We currently work in 8 countries: Nicaragua, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru. We currently have 20 partner microfinance institutions (MFIs) with whom we work to provide financing and technical assistance to small business owners, the majority of whom are women.
What is your impact?
WCCN is committed to long-term social change. Since 1991, we’ve invested over $140 million in the working poor of Latin America. We lend to low-income borrowers who have traditionally been excluded from the financial system. Our average loan size is $1,151. Our focus is on women entrepreneurs: 86% of our end borrowers are women. WCCN supports rural livelihoods: 63% of our end borrowers live in rural areas. We align our impact reporting with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) criteria. Read more about our impact in our newsletters and latest annual report, and stay tuned for our forthcoming impact report.
What is microfinance?
Microfinance, also known as microcredit, is a banking service provided to low-income individuals or groups who have historically been excluded from accessing financial services. With a small microfinance loan, our end borrowers are able to grow their businesses, purchase food, medicine, and clean water, and send their children to school.
What is financial inclusion?
Financial inclusion means that individuals have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs, delivered in a responsible and sustainable way, according to the World Bank. It is an enabler to reduce extreme poverty and to promote prosperity, and it aligns with 7 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Globally, 69 percent of adults had access to a bank account as of 2019, but we continue to work alongside other financial inclusion organizations to ensure that populations that have been excluded from the formal financial system have access to quality financial products and services that will improve their lives.
How can I donate to WCCN?
You can give to WCCN online by navigating to the donate tab at the top of our website and clicking the donate button at the top of the page (wccn.org/donate). There, you can make a secure donation with a credit or debit card or through PayPal. Alternatively, you can send a check or cash to the address below:
Working Capital for Community Needs
211 S. Paterson Street Suite 260
Madison, WI 53703
How can I invest in WCCN?
Investing with WCCN is easy! Simply visit https://www.wccn.org/invest and fill out a short form to request a prospectus. You can also call us at (608) 257-7230 to speak with our investor relations team.
For only $100, you can help micro-entrepreneurs grow their businesses, enroll their children in school, purchase medicine, improve their housing, and become more food secure.
We offer the following to investors:
Minimum of $100; maximum of $1,000,000
3, 5, or 7 years
0 to 3.5% annual simple interest
Regular reports and communication with investors
Active social media and website presence
WCCN provides a simple note offering which is easy to understand. Our mission and vision are simple but our work is high impact. Investors are provided with stories about the lives and work of end borrowers and financial reports to ensure that there is an alignment of values among stakeholders.