The Micro Bridge Loan concept was developed in 2003 by C2P founder Steve McCoy-Thompson. It is a truly unique approach to community-based support that adapts the global success of micro credit in developing countries to the American context. With micro-credit, a small amount of money is typically loaned to a group of people (usually in poor rural areas) to help start a business. If you'd like to learn more, see how a group called Opportunity International is helping people with micro-credit programs around the world.
In America, "millions live in the shadow of prosperity, in the twilight between poverty and well-being." These are people who work hard or who are on fixed incomes that live so close to the poverty line that a small problem, like a broken car or a temporary illness, can force a disastrous downward financial spiral. (To learn more, read David Shipler's The Working Poor: Invisible in America or Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.) Micro Bridge Loans are designed to stop this spiral before it starts. We help people through short-term financial crises and stay on their feet to continue being contributing members of their community. To find out how the Micro Bridge Loan program works, click here. .
The Micro Bridge Loan program was officially launched with a generous donation from Steve’s church and the great support of a local credit union. Working with community group sponsors like the local senior citizens center and a regional housing guarantee facility, the original funds werelent to individuals in a series of no-interest loans to pay for car repairs, rent, utility bills and other pressing needs. To see a newspaper article on the impact of these loans, click here. The loans helped people keep their jobs, stay in their apartments, and keep both their livelihoods and their dignity intact. And with high repayment rates, the money has been recycled again and again to help other people in the community. Since then, the program has expanded throughout Northern California and is applicable anywhere. All that is needed is local community support.
Building on this success, Community to People was incorporated as a non-profit public-benefit organization in the State of California. C2P is currently developing Micro Bridge Loan programs in a number of communities. If you are interested in joining the C2P family, click here.