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WISE and KLA Foundation Help Advance Women in Underrepresented Communities

Jun 9, 2022 3 min read

KLA and its employees are helping to make positive change in the lives of people by working through the international nonprofit Kiva to fund entrepreneurship and educational opportunities for women and their families in underserved global communities.

Since 2020, KLA Foundation and the company’s Women in STEM, Empowered (WISE) employee resource group (ERG) have provided $22,550 in funding to 555 women in 42 countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America who have used the microloans to start businesses and farms or pay for their children’s education.

“From an engagement standpoint, our WISE members are supporting efforts by women around the world to overcome financial barriers and help their families become successful. It’s one of many opportunities for KLA employees to get involved and help make an impact on people’s lives and communities.”

Katerina Loakeimidi, KLA Wise member

Each quarter, a WISE steering committee reviews Kiva’s website and recommends10-12 projects to WISE members for funding consideration. Priority is always placed on supporting female entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on education. The initiative funds $5,000 in microloans per quarter. Each borrower is expected to repay the loans over time, based on a repayment schedule and their ability to pay. Hundreds have benefitted from the microloans provided through the KLA Foundation’s Kiva Fund, including:

Ainazik, a mother of five who raises livestock in the Central Asian country Kyrgyzstan, is enterprising and motivated. She used a $2,450 microloan to buy dairy cows that will increase sales of organic milk.

Juana, who fled poverty in Nicaragua for Costa Rica where she opened a food stall with a $1,000 microloan that funded her inventory and operations. Now successful, she is pursuing another microloan to expand her operations and possibly open a second eatery.

Manjola, a mother of four, is a member of Albania’s vulnerable Roma community who sells used kitchen appliances to support her family. She secured a $1,800 micro loan that helped her son pay for educational fees so he will have a better future.

Doris, a hardworking single mom from a village in Kenya. Doris is a farmer whose $150 microloan helped her buy high-quality seeds and fertilizer that will greatly improve crop production. Doris is striving to become independent and build a future for her family.

According to Kiva, a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 to widen access to capital in underserved communities, more than 1.7 billion people around the world are unbanked and do not have access to financial services they need. Kiva’s vision is for a financially inclusive world where all people hold the power to improve their lives. The KLA Foundation has collaborated with Kiva since 2009; more than 1,440 microloans have been made through the KLA Foundation’s Kiva Fund.

The KLA Kiva Fund supports KLA Foundation’s mission of creating a more equitable, inclusive and accessible world based on its three pillars – community enrichment, education and wellness, which are closely aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals focused on combatting poverty, eliminating hunger, gender equality and reduced inequities. It also aligns with the WISE ERG’s goal of supporting women with community engagement activities inside and outside of KLA.

“This collaboration is a perfect marriage between the need to help and encourage female entrepreneurs in underserved communities while also supporting sustainable change and a desire among our employees to actively help people by empowering them.”

Jen McCollum, KLA Foundation leader

Feeling inspired? Visit the KLA Foundation to learn more about our charitable outreach and how we’re able to make a difference in the lives of people across the globe. 

If you’re interested in working with KLA, browse the KLA careers page for the opportunities ahead for you.

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