Getting into giving back

I began working my business full-time to make an income for myself. But I’ve thought for a long time about how best to give back to my community.

I made one-off donations but more often, volunteering made sense. In the early years, I taught some classes to professionals and business owners in Maryland. I volunteered at local B2B events. Not long before I moved to Germany, I got to volunteer as a judge for a Shark Tank event with a young entrepreneurs club in Howard County. That was great fun! 

 

A peer mentoring revelation

I really swung into gear in Berlin. I started and managed a personal and professional development group with other expat partners for two years. I really connected with the people and the process. Being a peer mentor was a way to give back that worked wonders for me and for my peers.  

But I kept wanting to do more financially. Time is important, but sometimes what people need most is money. I thought about that in between serving clients and putting out fires and, noticing the months tick by.

 

An (obvious-in-retrospect) next step

Then last week, as I launched their redesigned website, it finally hit me: I should donate some profits to my client, Life Asset, Inc.

Life Asset provides microloans to low-income entrepreneurs in the Washington DC area. Life Asset doesn’t require a certain credit score or typical collateral from borrowers. Their “social collateral” model allows people who could never get a loan from a traditional lender to obtain funding. Even better, that social collateral model includes training and peer mentoring to support the growth of the business owners along with their businesses. 

Life Asset can leverage $6 for every $1 donation. Because of their 98% repayment rate, the money EPD donates can be reinvested into future loans and keep right on making an impact. Life Asset supports over 1,200 active entrepreneurs for whom a loan can mean the difference between thriving year to year and employing 2-3 people in the community and collapsing in a matter of months.

Between their model, their use of peer mentoring, and the ripple effect they create locally, Life Asset is the perfect fit for EPD to give back!

 

Beyond 2020

I’m pleased to announce that Erica Palmisano Design has donated 10% of this year’s profits to Life Asset, Inc. I am also committed to doing the same in 2021.

In this year of years, we have learned just how connected we are to each other – for good or ill. My business began in the DMV area, and as I have moved back, I want to make sure my connection to my fellow entrepreneurs is uplifting.

 

*Note: I’ll write more about the actual redesign project in a future case study. For now, just check them out and, if you’re looking for a worthy cause, donate!