MOre to Explore: Finance

SOLVING ECONOMIC INEQUALITY THROUGH PERSONAL LOAN ACCESS

Client
LENTILS
Faculty
Andy Moss
Team
Osa Aihie, Divya Jethwani, and Derrick Spencer

Black and indigenous people of color in the US have less access to low-interest loans, pay high interest on government-backed loans, and pay an average of twice as much as their white counterparts in bank fees. The Lentils team has designed an initiative that employs long-term capital through public and private means to provide low-interest loans and free checking accounts. The team interviewed individuals and business owners to better understand loan barriers, and conducted a comparative analysis of loans by type, region, interest rate, and qualifications. It created a database to help increase seed funding for minority-owned businesses by 8 percent and decrease the average interest rate for personal borrowers in Central Brooklyn by at least 3 percent. The team’s long term goals are to reduce the interest divide by at least 50 percent and restore long-term wealth-building.

Capstone Year

EVALUATION OF A LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOR PUBLIC SERVICE PROFESSIONALS

Client
MILBANK MEMORIAL FUND
Faculty
Rain Henderson
Team
Anthony Monaco, Seila Radoncic, Sanjana Rahman, Beatrice Simon-Ogan, Sarah Yolleck

The Milbank Memorial Fund (MMF) is an endowed foundation that works to improve population health by connecting leaders and decision makers with the best available evidence and experience. MMF’s Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), launched five years ago, seeks to cultivate leaders who can address the challenges and opportunities in today’s complex health policy environment by developing practical, hands-on leadership skills in future public service officials. In anticipation of a future redesign with a more virtual program model, MMF solicited a team to conduct ELP’s first formal program evaluation. The team designed and conducted interviews and surveys with past ELP participants and mentors, and analyzed the results using both qualitative and quantitative methods to identify key themes. With this evaluation, the team generated specific recommendations for improving program monitoring and data collection and implementing mechanisms to improve ELP’s mentorship, networking, curriculum, activities, and program format.

Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year

INVESTING IN MUNICIPAL WASTE MANAGEMENT

Client
UNITED NATIONS CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT FUND
Faculty
Leonardo Romeo
Team
Sion Griffiths, Caitlin McTiernan, Feiras Rahman, Will Richards, John Zhang

The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), in partnership with the International Municipal Investment Fund (IMIF) and other local capital financing programs, utilizes a range of blended finance models to support local government investments in the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations. As communities in developing countries face rapid urbanization, population growth, and increasing volumes of household waste, UNCDF is exploring Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) as an area for future investment. UNCDF tasked a team with devising a comprehensive investment appraisal framework for the organization to use to assess future UNCDF waste management projects. The team designed an assessment tool that included considerations for financial, economic, environmental, and social dimensions of MSWM projects. To illustrate the use of the tool, the team applied its model to a current UNCDF MSWM project in Guinea, and presented its findings to the UNCDF headquarters in New York.

Capstone Year

LENDING IN CRISIS: REIMAGINING FUND IMPACT IN POST-PANDEMIC COSTA RICA

Client
BANCO POPULAR
Faculty
John Ceffalio
Team
Benjamin McCarthy, Andrew Schons, Scott Trumbull

The Fondo de Desarrollo de la Micro, Pequeña, y Mediana Empresa (Fund for the Development of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises) is a fund of Banco Popular in Costa Rica. Its mission is to create quality jobs, improve business productivity, and generate new wealth for underserved business owners and communities. Given recent challenges in approving new loans, the bank enlisted a team to reimagine its lending practices and recommit to its social purpose of deploying much-needed capital to current and future businesses. The team’s work included an initial review of published research and institutional reports, interviews with bank personnel and Costa Rican agency officials, and additional interviews with peer development financial institutions in Latin America, the US, and Europe. The team provided the bank suggested modifications to its lending practices, guidance on incorporating more robust impact metrics and measurement systems, and a proposed timeline for implementation.

Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year

RENEWABLE ENERGY ADVOCACY IN INDONESIA

Client
PURPOSE
Faculty
Matthew Camp
Team
Steven Morales, Alexander Smith, Leena Zelman

Purpose has constructed climate advocacy plans in many countries by bringing together key organizations and local groups to advocate for more environmentally friendly policies in the fight against pollution and climate change. The organization is laying the groundwork for an advocacy campaign in Indonesia that pushes key decision makers to shift public and private investments away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. Purpose enlisted the team to conduct research for its Indonesian campaign policy brief. The team investigated the economic landscape of the Indonesian fossil fuel and renewable energy industries, and completed a stakeholder analysis that examined the international players in the Indonesian energy market and identified potential allies and adversaries. The team’s analysis forms the basis for an advocacy campaign focused on the economic benefits of renewable energy, which, coupled with the organization’s grassroots work, sets the foundation for a complete climate advocacy plan for Indonesia.

Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year