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    • We’ve heard from our SKIMFI beneficiaries that being treated like finance customers is exactly what they want. There’s a term we like - “a hand up, not a hand-out.” By making our program akin to a banking transaction, we’re like a bank for people on the less advantaged side of the socio-economy. And just like any of us walking into a bank for a loan, our microfinance beneficiaries come to us with references and a business plan. 

      At the end of the day, the purpose of SKI Charities is to bring people closer to independence and respect for themselves and what they do. Treating our beneficiaries as banking customers who have a responsibility to pay back their microloans means they are treated like everybody else in the financial system. So we think it’s worked out great, especially with people achieving that self-affirming respect. It’s key to everything we do.

    • The impact is beyond just our beneficiaries. For instance when a woman in SKIMFI has her own business she then hires people from the local community, rents out space from someone, and trades with other businesses. And with her profits she may tithe to her church or spend on her children’s schools. Another thing they do is send money to the rural areas of the country to help their friends and family. And then those areas enjoy more economic activity. The spillover effects mean a lot to us. 

      With SKIPGO, when we provide scholarships we also take an active interest in how the scholars are doing outside of school. Our manager in New York has an education background and she’s been able to advise parents on engaging with their children and providing different types of learning enrichment. And we see kids who aren’t part of our program reaching out as well.

      And with SKILLS, encouraging local art and culture brings life to communities that don’t see much interest in their works. Our artists are very proud to demonstrate their ancestral skills and history.

    • Yes, that’s something I am working on in the background. We often post photos of the art created by our beneficiaries on social media and all art is available for purchase by interested members of our audience. When someone does buy one of these pieces we send all the profits to the artist in Chile, so that’s a way to increase engagement among our audience while giving the artist more pride in their craft from a commercial point of view. I think many times we discount how traditional cultures express themselves through art, music or song. But when our audience shows interest that gives them strength and respect. We are always looking to showcase them in more and more places.

    • Good question. On our website, we have a link with details on how to get more involved. The charity is run pretty streamlined so the best way to get involved is to follow us on social media, give us ideas, and if you contribute, we have listed different ways the money can go towards our beneficiaries. The best thing to do is stay engaged with us. I’m always reading what we’re receiving through the charity on social and through feedback on our website, and we really do implement many ideas from our audience. We get a lot of great ideas of people who know the areas we are operating in or ways we could help even more. So we definitely want to stay in touch with our audience that way.