These are links and articles that have some relation to Tim Stay

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Y grad aims to eliminate poverty

This article is primarily about Geoff Davis, CEO of Unitus, but includes some quotes from me.

By Evan Spencer Mackay NewsNet Staff Writer - 31 Jul 2002

Unitus is a microfinance company headed by a BYU graduate.One BYU grad is doing his part to alleviate worldwide poverty, and it's all in a day's work.

Geoff Davis is president of Unitus, a company that provides money to institutions that give microcredit - small, unsecured loans made to foreign entrepreneurs living at or below the poverty line.

"With a Unitus investment, an institution that gives out 3,000 loans would have the potential to give up to 30,000 loans," he said.

Microcredit is not a new concept at BYU. Students and faculty are already aware of the concept through HELP, which has BYU students traveling to Latin America to help impoverished people learn about these small loans.

According to Unitus, almost one half the world's population lives on $2 or less a day, less than some BYU students spend on a single meal of a junior bacon cheeseburger and soda.

Today, only 10 percent of third world entrepreneurs have access to these loans. Unitus exists to help increase the number of loans disbursed.

Tim Stay, one of Unitus' founders, said that as the poor repay these loans, the money can be loaned out again and again.

"We believe that we can literally help millions break the oppressive chains of poverty through this approach," said Stay.

Mike Murray, co-founder and chairman of Unitus, was looking for someone to lead Unitus and give the company a new approach, as well as redesign and implement new strategy. He said he found what he needed in Davis.

As president, Davis has many responsibilities, including creating and managing a competent staff and designing important strategies and policies.

"The success of Unitus rests on Geoff's ability to get all of this done," said Murray.

Davis attributes his success and ability to several factors, including his BYU education.

"BYU gave me an international perspective and an ability to think critically and analytically about the problem of poverty in the world," he said.

Davis received his bachelor's degree in international relations from BYU in 1996, and later went on to Harvard, where he received his Master's degree in public policy.

Additionally, Davis helped to found the Grameen Foundation in Washington, D.C., where he spent three years working with international microfinance institutions. He also helped a group of students start the first Grameen support group at BYU, which later became a general microcredit group.

Another BYU student is following in Davis' steps, and is doing it with Davis' help.

Natalie Cook, 20, a senior from Sammamish, Wash., majoring in international finance, is interning at Unitus this summer.

"I love to help people and I also have an interest in finance, and Unitus has a perfect combination of the two," said Cook.

"The knowledge and satisfaction that I am helping people change their lives makes it enjoyable to work here," she said. "I have been blessed with so much and it's nice to be able to give something back."


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