'Kiva Kids' of Wickman Elementary School to Receive Young Innovator Award From the Rockefeller Foundation

Chino Hills, California Elementary School Class to Receive Award for Using Kiva.org Platform as a Powerful Tool in the Fight Against Poverty

Jul 26, 2011, 08:52 ET from Rockefeller Foundation

NEW YORK, July 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Rockefeller Foundation today announced the names of the individuals and institutions that will be honored as part of its first annual Innovation Awards ceremony on July 27, 2011 in New York.

The self-titled "Kiva Kids" of Wickman Elementary School in Chino Hills, California, have been selected by the Foundation to receive this year's Young Innovators award.  Other award winners on the evening include President Bill Clinton; Dr. Sania Nishtar, founder and president of the NGO and think tank Heartfile in Pakistan; and Jane Weru, executive director of The Akiba Mashinani Trust in Kenya.

Launched in 2005, Kiva.org is an online platform which has quickly revolutionized the practice of micro-lending around the world by creating personal connections and enabling individuals to lend to people in need around the world, with as little as $25. Kiva.org's mission is to connect people, through lending, to alleviate poverty.

For the past few years, the students of Wickman Elementary School in Chino Hills, California have formed a lending team that leverages the powerful Kiva.org platform and Kiva in the Classroom curriculum. The students raise funds and work together to choose entrepreneurs to support. At the end of each year, the participating students from Wickman hold a Kiva Kids World Summit, where they meet with representatives of countries they've served, from Ghana to Azerbaijan.

"The Rockefeller Foundation has been following the innovative work of Kiva.org for many years, and we applaud their efforts in helping the poor and vulnerable by leveraging the Internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions to help create opportunity around the world," said Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation. "It is a great honor to present an Innovation award to the Kiva Kids of Wickman Elementary and to Kiva.org for their truly remarkable results with Kiva in the Classroom."  

Students from Wickman Elementary School, along with representatives from Kiva.org, will receive the award at the Foundation's inaugural Innovation Forum, to be held in Manhattan on July 27, 2011. As part of the recognition, Kiva.org will receive a general operating support grant from the Rockefeller Foundation because the Foundation wishes to support its future humanitarian work around the globe.

The Rockefeller Foundation Innovation Forum

The Rockefeller Foundation Innovation Forum convenes some of the most creative and inventive minds from the worlds of business, government, the non-profit sector and journalism to bring innovation to bear on urgent challenges facing poor and vulnerable people around the world. Through a series of interactions, panel discussions and breakout sessions, participants will analyze compelling scenarios of crises in water security, urban economic security and food security. They will be asked to identify the primary causes of these pressing global challenges that must be solved for the benefit of future generations. In exchange for their contributions, the Rockefeller Foundation will commit to leveraging its deep expertise, expansive network and thoughtful grant making process to further explore and address ideas that surface over the coming year as a result of the Forum. The results will then be reviewed at each annual Innovation Forum.  

The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation's mission to promote the well-being of people throughout the world has remained unchanged since its founding in 1913.  Today, that mission is applied to an era of rapid globalization.  Our vision is that this century will be one in which globalization's benefits are more widely shared and its challenges are more easily weathered.  To realize this vision, the Foundation seeks to achieve two fundamental goals in our work.  First, we seek to build resilience that enhances individual, community and institutional capacity to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of acute crises and chronic stresses.  Second, we seek to promote growth with equity in which the poor and vulnerable have more access to opportunities that improve their lives. In order to achieve these goals, the Foundation constructs its work into time-bound initiatives that have defined objectives and strategies for impact.  These initiatives address challenges that lie either within or at the intersections of five issue areas: basic survival safeguards, global health, environment and climate change, urbanization, and social and economic security. For more information, please visit http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org.


Kiva.org is the world's first personal micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to entrepreneurs across the globe. Founded in 2005, Kiva.org's mission is to connect people, through lending, to alleviate poverty. Over 600,000 people have loaned more than $225 million to 590,000 entrepreneurs in 59 countries. Kiva.org is headquartered in San Francisco.

SOURCE Rockefeller Foundation