Jessica Jackley's Headshot

Jessica Jackley

- Panelist Blurb

Jessica Jackley is a founder of, the non-profit micro-financing website that allows people to lend as little as $25 to a specific third world entrepreneur, empowering borrowers to lift themselves out of poverty. She is revolutionizing personal giving and inspiring a new generation of philanthropists through technology.

In just 3 years Kiva, which means unity in Swahili, has helped raise nearly $100 million and connected thousands of people in 180 countries through peer-to-peer lending. Kiva is responsible for a loan every 12 seconds.

The Kiva website explains what is a unique model in the world of micro finance this way: "You choose who to lend to - whether a baker in Afghanistan, a goat herder in Uganda, a farmer in Peru, a restaurateur in Cambodia, or a tailor in Iraq - and as they repay their loan, you get your money back. It's a powerful and sustainable way to empower someone right now to lift themselves out of poverty.

Jackley became convinced of the power of micro-financing when she was a graduate student. She has worked in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda for Village Enterprise Fund and Project Baobab on impact evaluation and program development. Jackley has worked in the Stanford Center for Social Innovation to launch the inaugural Global Philanthropy Forum, and at, Potentia Media, the International Foundation and World Vision.

Jackley has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA in Philosophy and Political Science from Bucknell University.

NOTE: Bio is as it appeared in the Forum program from October 2, 2009.