Frequently Asked Questions
What is the mission of iZōsh?
iZōsh is a group of women dedicated to the economic empowerment of women globally who are living in extreme poverty. By giving micro loans to these women we help them to lift themselves out of extreme poverty and reduce the risk of oppression and exploitation in their lives.
What is the vision of iZōsh?
Motivated by our Christian faith to be compassionate and to do justice, women from Huron Hills Church formed iZōsh. Our vision is: To seek first to understand and to not judge; to prayerfully pool our resources to invest globally in women living in extreme poverty, regardless of their faith or beliefs; to honor the dignity of each woman by empowering her through sustainable personal economic development; to invite and welcome other women, regardless of their faith or beliefs, whose goals align with our mission to learn about women’s issues in extreme poverty and then to empower the women living in extreme poverty to transform their lives through entrepreneurial activities.
Where did the name iZōsh come from?
The name iZōsh comes from the Amharic language, spoken in Ethiopia. It is a word that means many things, but can be explained as “compassionate support of a woman”.
Why are only women included?
At our Events we learn about and discuss topics dealing with the ways that women in extreme poverty are exploited including: female genital mutilation, fistulas, rape, prostitution, etc., topics that both men and women need to know about. Some women, particularly those who may have personal experience with any of these traumas, may not feel comfortable in a mixed group. We want to be a safe place, which is why at every event we have a trained therapist available if needed to provide comfort and support.
What defines “extreme poverty”?
Don’t we have that in America? We certainly have poverty in America. However, the definition of women who live in “extreme poverty” is that they are in areas where they live on less than the equivalent of two US dollars per day. They often do not have any of the basic services such as adequate health care, clean water, electricity, and any means to handle sanitation, etc. In North America we do have such basic services and also some governmental supports to assist women in poverty here.
The specific mission of iZōsh focuses on extreme poverty. We have become aware how many North American women don’t really understand how blessed we are just to be able to live in North America where extreme poverty, per the definition, does not exist. Many iZōsh members are actively involved in the efforts to help local women in poverty. We do not want to diminish those efforts. They should be encouraged. The mission of iZōsh however, focuses our efforts to extreme poverty globally.
What happens to the loan amount when it is repaid?
The loan amount is not repaid to iZōsh. It is repaid to the microfinance institution (MFI) that services the loan. Then those dollars are re-invested so that another loan is granted by the MFI. This happens over and over which results in continually leveraging the initial loan amount over time.
Do I get a tax deduction?
You will receive a tax-deductible receipt from iZōsh in January following any year in which you made a donation, beginning in January 2016 for donations made in 2015.
For cash donations, your name must be clearly written on the dues envelope when the donation is submitted. Then, simply email the treasurer at email@example.com with your name, address, and telephone number. For donations made by check or online, receipts will be sent to the address on the check or associated with the online transaction.
How do we know the women will use the money for what they say they will?
Both World Vision Micro and Opportunity are microfinance institutions (MFIs) that are regulated by the banking industry and they have loan officers who provide due diligence on all of the loans and police for fraud.
The “Field Partners,” as Kiva calls the microfinance institutions (MFIs) that they connect us to through their internet portal, also have loan officers who provide due diligence on all of the loans and police for fraud.
What if I need/want to change my commitment amount?
That is no problem at all. We understand that life happens and you may not be able to sustain the amount you originally set for many different reasons. Or perhaps you would like to increase the amount. We simply ask you to inform our Treasurer via firstname.lastname@example.org to change your commitment amount. This will help us to gain an idea of how many loan recipients we need to prepare for at each Event.
What if I can’t make a meeting?
Women in extreme poverty continue to need your help. We understand that not everyone can always attend Events. When you make your Commitment as a member of iZōsh you pledged to provide your dues whether or not you are able to attend an Event. This means that although you may miss out on our gathering, connections with other women and learning, you are still contributing to celebrating the joy of empowering women.
You may, up to one day prior to the event, submit your pledged amount online via the Huron Hills Church website. Be sure to enter iZōsh as the specific fund. (Due to a lag in PayPal’s system, dues paid electronically need to be submitted by one day prior to each event in order to be included to fund loans for that event.)
You may also send your check for the amount you pledged to:
Attention iZōsh Treasurer
℅ Huron Hills
3150 Glazier Way
Ann Arbor, MI, 48105
The check needs to be delivered by post office the day before the Event, or it may be sent with another member of iZōsh attending the Event. The treasurer will add your dues to the total funded at the meeting.
Why should I join?
Becoming a member of iZōsh means that you are making a commitment to specific women across the globe who have developed a plan to lift themselves and their family out of extreme poverty. Join so they can count on you, join so that iZōsh will continue to be there, join because your partnership is desperately needed. You will be connected to a wonderful community of women who care. Also, members have the privilege of proposing potential recipients the each Event as well as partaking in stone voting upon arrival. It feels good to belong!
Why should I give to iZōsh rather than go on-line and give directly through the internet?
While giving individually is certainly meaningful, we have found that the combined impact of all the iZōsh dues and gifts provides for an even more powerful experience, as we are able to fully fund and immediately finance our loan recipients. The beauty of iZōsh is the combined power of women locally coming alongside our sisters globally. We find that we can be even more effective in community.