Salinas Microfinance Initiative

CSIL recently launched an initiative to explore the feasibility of bringing microfinance to Salinas, CA. The initiative hopes to serve the low-income population of small business owners left out of traditional financing opportunities.  As the project gets off the ground, CSIL is working diligently to connect with community stakeholders in Salinas to fully understand the level of need and where best this idea fits into the already existing array of services in Salinas.

The initiative is led by CSIL’s energetic Director, Jerry Hildebrand and our passionate student lead, Mario Romero who continues the foundation lead by recent MIIS graduate, Sophie Dresser.  Jerry, who recently joined the Monterey County community to launch CSIL, has a background in international and domestic microfinance. Before coming to Monterey, Jerry spent years in Stockton, CA where he helped launch the Stockton Impact Corps, a successful domestic microfinance fund. With experienced direction and committed student engagement, the Salinas Microfinance Initiative is sure to be one of the best ways that CSIL can directly impact our local communities.


MIIS Micro-Enterprise Consultant Group

After much research and feedback, we are launching a new group of graduate students to work closely with local entrepreneurs. The details of the consultant work are outlined below:


The Details

CSIL believes in focusing our impact both locally and internationally, and as such we are expanding to work with the local community in the Salinas Valley. We are now partnering with California Farmlink and El Pajaro, local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), in order to assist them with 1. efficiency and streamlining of processes and 2.providing business literacy training and additional resources to their clients. This will allow Farmlink and El Pajaro to continue providing their clients with microfinance loans and key resources which might otherwise be unavailable.


The Opportunity

The new Micro-Enterprise Consultant Group is an opportunity for students to be involved with this initiative. They will work directly with local communities and learn skills associated with microfinance and consulting. Students will have hands-on experience working one-on-one with clients, learn the challenges and opportunities that come with consultant work and execute deliverables that positively impact local entrepreneurs. Engaging with the local community not only builds the students’ professional network, but also gives them an opportunity to directly apply skills they are learning in their program courses. By end of contract, the micro-enterprise consultants will have an employable skillset and professional experience that compliments their MIIS degree, rounding out their resumes for future careers in the impact space and beyond. To be considered for the position, students must fill out an application and submit their resumes.


If you are interested in microfinance, learning more about our grassroots organizing efforts and seeing how MIIS is connecting with the community surrounding Monterey, please reach out to our Salinas Microfinance Fund Coordinator, Mario Romero at

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