Philanthropic Outreach Initiatives
The American Economic Institute is a small but dedicated organization that generates funds primarily in three areas:
- Industry-focused research and analysis white-papers for its members
- Consulting engagements with larger firms that are seeking independent outside counsel
- Production and sale of Economic Leadership Awards for selected firms
The Initiatives division is tasked with using a portion of these funds to support the local, national and international small business community. This is done via a variety of methods including small business grants, financial aid to certain award winners, international small business loans, and in-the-field involvement with regional charitable organizations. We deeply appreciative our partners, organizations and award winners that help make these outreach programs possible.
Small Business Grants
The Initiatives team researches various industries to find firms that have been providing above-and-beyond customer service while supporting their community. Typically these firms are rapidly expanding, increasing their staff, and working to balance the opportunities provided by growth with the need to maintain operational efficiency. The institute provides pro bono advisory services as well as financial grants to these firms to help them reward their staff and expand their business.
A recent recipient of a small business grant was Fluent Systems. Fluent Systems is a design company with a focus on helping local businesses - and they have been expanding quickly across a number of different client types. They've also doubled their workforce in the last 12 months, and are preparing to move locations to handle their growing needs. The Institute is proud to recognize their efforts.
Certain Economic Leadership Award winners may also be selected for a financial grant by the Initiatives team. This selection is made independently of our award selection committee - and while we wish we could provide financial support to all of our winners, this is not fiscally viable. Typically an Award Grant recipient is a small business owner that is working with a limited budget and is attempting to expand his or her operations. The Institute is often able to provide some consulting and advisory support on a pro bono basis as well as a small grant to assist in short-term obligations during expansion. In turn, we request that this small business owner "pay it forward" by supporting other local small businesses once they are in a position to do so. The focus on doing well by doing good is a sustainable model for our economy driven by corporations with less than 250 employees.
International Small Business Loans
In an under developed country, a small business loan is often the difference between a self-supporting family and a family that can only survive via charitable donations. A small business loan, which is repaid over time, allows for those communities to maintain their pride and self-sufficiency while also improving their financial outlook. The Institute is proud to work with Kiva.org [ American Economic Institute page] to help provide this type of financial support to small businesses around the world. They envision a world where all people - even in the most remote areas of the globe - hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others. Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.
Since 2007, the Institute has provided more than 100 loans through the Kiva network.
Recent loans include: (Left Photo) The Makarimal Akhlakh Yoff 33 Group of Senegal which is comprised of ten women who live in the same town and who have the same businesses: selling fresh fish -- the women know one another through weekly excursions they take turns organizing. (Center Photo) The Union Y Amistad Group of Zitacuaro, Mexico, a heavily vegetated indigenous Mazahua region where the people care for and protect the forests from gangs of illegal loggers -- they used the funds for the purchase of ingredients that she uses to make meals, as well as fruit, since she also sells nutritious breakfasts like fruit with granola and yogurt. (Right Photo) Matluba of Spitamen, Tajikistan ... a woman who has a good ability for managing a business. She is 37 years old, married, and has three children -- she used her loan of 13,000 Somoni to buy equipment for producing ice-cream.
If you know an organization or small business that could be postiviely impacted by an Institute Initiative, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that due to the small staff, all suggestions will be considered but not all e-mails will recieve an immediate reply.