Working Capital for Community Needs, Inc.

aka WCCN   |   Madison, WI   |  www.wccn.org

Mission

Founded in 1984, WCCN is a social impact investing fund and community development organization whose mission is to create opportunities for access to microfinance, services and markets to improve the lives and communities of the working poor in Latin America.

WCCN partners with individuals and organizations in Latin America and the U.S. to facilitate economic and social change opportunities, by strengthening local community partner organizations, reducing inequality through financial inclusion, and empowering individuals to work their way out of poverty.

Notes from the nonprofit

Poverty in Latin America is simply not the same as poverty in the US. Lack of electricity, lack of running water/toilet/shower, no or precariously constructed housing made out of flimsy materials, cumulative 5 years of formal education amongst all members in the household, and no opportunities for women to make an income are some of the many features of poverty that working poor Latin Americans live through day by day. Pervasive violence and chronic instability due to recurrent natural disasters and civil unrest are also common features of living in poverty in Latin America.

The good news is that dignity is within reach for these 80 million hard working persons and their families, if we can just collectively catalyze our efforts to extend an opportunity where it otherwise would not be extended. WCCN works to address one of the many impediments that still keep working poor persons in poverty: lack of access to affordable credit from a reliable and trustworthy service provider in your community. With affordable and patient/flexible credit, many of the working poor persons we have supported have been able to get electricity, clean water access or a solid roof of floor on their home. Most have been able to send their children to school, gain valuable vocational and business skills leading to better income opportunities, or start and grow a micro-business from their home. Over the years, we see how this patient capital approach to investing in community based organizations that put people first ahead of profit, helps family life and the local economy improve, one household and one town at a time.

Our non-profit, Working Capital for Community Needs (WCCN) invests in and works with partner organizations that are grassroots in nature, founded, staffed and led by members of those working poor communities that we aim to support. By investing and making selective grants to these community-based partner organizations, our support enables these local organizations to offer affordable access to credit, access to markets where working poor persons can sell their goods at higher prices, and access to essential services like skills training, tuition/scholarships and health care for the working poor. So, go ahead. Take a risk. We do everyday. You can too, and we can help you do it together with others who share your values of social justice, reducing poverty, discrimination and inequality for all Americans. Your gift and/or your investment can have a bigger impact when it is pooled with others' small gifts and investments, and when it is strategically placed with carefully selected local partners better positioned than us to deliver the impact and build their communities from the grassroots up.

Ruling year info

1985

Executive Director

William Harris

Main address

211 S Paterson Street

Madison, WI 53703 USA

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Formerly known as

Wisconsin Coordinating Council on Nicaragua

EIN

39-1521683

NTEE code info

International Economic Development (Q32)

Rural (S32)

International Agricultural Development (Q31)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

The Capital for Communities Fund

The Capital Communities Fund operates by channeling funds from socially responsible investors (you) to Latin American non-governmental organizations (partner agencies) that specialize in providing credit and access to international markets to marginalized sectors. These are self-sustaining, nonprofit and for profit microfinance institutions and cooperatives with years of experience lending to and working with the poor in Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru.

Loans to farmers, cooperatives and small businesses benefit whole communities as funds circulate at the local level. A farmer, cooperative or small business that receives a loan buys goods and services and employs other people, furthering the community benefits of the loan. Thus even a small investment can have a tremendous impact. Your loan can generate employment and allow Latin Americans to feed their families and contribute to their communities.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Top Rated 2015

Great Non-Profits

Affiliations & memberships

Community Shares 2016

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of dollars of private sector investments in agriculture attributable to the organization's efforts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

The Capital for Communities Fund

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is the fair trade and organic agriculture portion of our portfolio, representing pre-harvest financing to smallholder farmers and their cooperative organizations.

Number of loans issued

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

The Capital for Communities Fund

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

More capital is needed to continue making more loans. We have maximized our cash available to deploy loans.

Total dollar amount of loans issued

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

The Capital for Communities Fund

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The utilization rate of funds peaked in 2014, when we had excess cash available. Loans disbursed dropped off since then because we are not receiving enough donor or investor capital to meet demand.

Dollar amount of total loans written off

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

The Capital for Communities Fund

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In the 25 year history of our Capital for Communities Fund we have only written off $300,000. We prefer to work over the long term with the partner borrower to help them repay.

Number of borrowers served through the nonprofit's programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

The Capital for Communities Fund

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2015, we implemented a new concentration policy to limit our exposure per partner from 20% of their assets to 7.5%. This dramatically drove down our portion of microborrowers served 2014 to 2016.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our mission is to create opportunities for access to microfinance, services and markets to improve the lives and communities of the working poor in Latin America. Our change theory is that by connecting community actors that finance, serve, train/educate, employ or do business with working poor persons and communities in Latin America, we improve the working poor family's income, welfare, and women's empowerment which leads to better lives and communities for the working poor. Our goal is to increase the number of working poor beneficiaries our organization serves through its financing to 38,750 people a year by 2017, a 25% increase over 2013 figures.

Our strategies include a combination of organizational reinvestment and offering more choice on how to get involved to our current and future donors, investors, and advocates. This includes:

1. Updating our understanding of the working poor person's needs and context of poverty in Latin America and learning how to empower working poor persons and families to move out of poverty and stay out of poverty --build in more resiliency to their lives to weather economic shocks and be less vulnerable to their daily risks of falling back into poverty. This strategy includes updating our mapping of where poverty is concentrated in each country where we work, or in countries where we should be. It also includes examining the factors keeping people in poverty and pro-actively addressing them. Targeting low-income women and rural-based beneficiaries remains a priority, due to their continued prevalent poverty rates in the region.

2. Expanding investor/donor choice and outreach into more communities, including opening up choices for which pro-poor offering from WCCN best suits the individual investor/donor's values. It also means finding new partners operating in the same or new under-served poor communities in the region. This also includes making ourselves known to impact investors by attending select conferences and events to better connect with people interested in our work. It also likely includes expanding into at least one new country and new market sectors to reach more poor persons and communities.

3. Bolstering staff and organizational capacity for managing more working partnerships with investable organizations and supporters in the US by investing a portion of WCCN equity and generated surpluses from the WCCN C4C Programs I (Access to Finance & Markets) & II (Access to Housing & Equipment) back into the C4C III/ Access to Incubation & Innovation offering in line with our WCCN Mission focus and non-profit tradition.

WCCN currently has a base of supporters across the US, including donors, investors, and advocates or some combination of all three. WCCN staff and board have expertise in law, financial analysis, accounting, impact measurement, impact investing, lending, nonprofit management, fundraising, marketing, and information technology. In addition, our staff has traveled extensively to the Latin American region and in some cases are from that region, thus bringing perspectives about what will work and what our partners need. Much of that expertise has gone into the creation of WCCN's strategic plan, which provides social impact and financial targets with which to judge our progress. WCCN's board meets monthly to review progress towards its financial and impact goals. In addition, we have been doing this work for more than 30 years in the region.

In 2016, we served 21,996 microborrowers and farmers, 53% of whom were women and 64% of whom were from rural areas. Our average loan size to a microborrower was $1,234, 38% below the 2015 regional average of $2,000. Our total portfolio outstanding at 2016 year-end was $11.2 million and we have invested $116 million in Latin America cumulatively since 1991. Through our value chain partners, we financed 1.5 million pounds of coffee.

WCCN has historically not had the systems and capacity to properly report on the indicators of the success of part 2 of our change theory. Implementing the systems to easily and efficiently capture that data remains a key challenge for this year and beyond.

Financials

Working Capital for Community Needs, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Working Capital for Community Needs, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 9/17/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Tom Schwei

DNASTAR

Sue Lloyd

Retired Nonprofit Accountant, Founder of WCCN

Tammy Koester Parks

SVA Plumb

John Schroder

Great Midwest Bank

Tom Schwei

DNASTAR, Inc.

Kate Toews

Small Business Owner

Eliza Waters

Family Business

Nicole Bice

Hovde Foundation

Bob Lamb

US Bank

Nicholas Vandervelde

1st National Bank

Laura Graham

Wisconsin Supreme Court

Layla Kaiksow

Bethlehem Children's Museum

An Nguyen

WWBIC

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes