Inspired by stories she heard at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly about the life-changing impact of microfinance, Barbara Barna Abel researched the subject and learned about FINCA. Then she shared what she’d learned with other members of the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, NY. The 460-member Congregation, which has been meeting in its historic gothic church since 1833, supports a wide range of causes, and is deeply committed to social action. In almost no time, she had assembled a group to put on a ten-kilometer walkathon to raise $5,000 to sponsor a FINCA village bank.
Barbara was pleasantly surprised at how easily the first walkathon achieved its goal, because it turned out to be a good way to ask people from outside the church to donate small amounts of money. “I realized I didn’t have to be Bill Gates with a giant foundation to effect change. $5,000 is a viable and realistic amount of money for Americans to raise. People respond to a tangible goal,” she said. The Congregation will soon hold its sixth walkathon for FINCA, and Barbara has raised her sights. After sponsoring “five banks in five years, now we’re trying to do two banks in one year,” Barbara said.
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