April 1, 2020

Belonging with Purpose – St. Stephen’s Global Philanthropy Leaders: Rallying the Spirit with Empathy and Micro-Loans by Claire Filaski

The Covid-19 pandemic has had some form of an impact on every individual, yet the youth of St. Stephen’s Global Philanthropy Leaders have striven for continuity in their goals of providing international economic relief.

Earlier this week, nine Global Philanthropy Leaders met on Zoom with Jane Lindenburg and Rich Stein to discuss how they as a group and we as a society can strive to be conscious of others’ sufferings, rather than be distracted by only our own.

Now in the midst of its third year, St. Stephen’s Global Philanthropy Leaders seeks to inform high schoolers about their role in economic mindfulness; GPL teaches students how to use Kiva.org to allocate $25 micro-loans to struggling entrepreneurs around the world. After learning the ins and outs of safe investments, students gain crucial lessons in both financial workings and moral responsibility.

Over the past three years, the Global Philanthropy Leaders have allocated 208 loans to 43 different countries, but their greatest test stands in continuing their efforts throughout the pandemic.

The Covid-19 pandemic adds an additional element of risk to the micro-loans that these high schoolers make. But even with this uncertainty, the acts of these Global Philanthropy Leaders are more crucial now than ever. Tuesday’s meeting proved how even as society is distracted by elements of risk and personal losses, it’s crucial to recognize the importance of global empathy. The Global Philanthropy Leaders continue to meet and allocate loans during this time of panic in order to continue their efforts for financial relief and to not let Covid-19 take something else from us: the sense of responsibility we have for each other. 


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