October 19, 2015

Who We Are

 

 

Our Mission

The Solidarity Foundation creates pathways out of poverty by providing access to affordable savings-based financial services. We believe financial inclusion is a fundamental catalyst out of poverty, helping families build household assets and strengthen future resiliency.

We partner with non-governmental, governmental and for-profit organizations to provide savings-based programs that meet the unique needs of their clientele.

 

History

The impetus for the Solidarity Foundation began in 2010 and 2011 during mission trips to neighborhoods around Puerto Vallarta’s city landfill. It was evident that the families living in these neighborhoods lacked access to affordable and safe financial services. This meant their saving, spending and credit behaviors were sporadic and costly, and usually resulted in pushing families deeper into poverty.

We began then to work alongside the families, and families like them around the world, to be a partner in a journey and struggle to build safer, more resilient lives.

 

Our Team

 

Eric Kinman
Founder / President
Eric Kinman founded Solidarity Foundation in 2015. Eric received his MBA from Drake University is a local expert on issues of financial inclusion and poverty alleviation. He currently advises large CDFI credit unions throughout the country who serve low-income populations.

Kinman is President and Founder of the Solidarity Foundation, a nonprofit savings-based microfinance organization operating in Central and North America. He also leads the Opportunity Community Plan, a regional poverty reduction initiative at United Way of Central Iowa.

Eric also serves on the Board of Directors for Oakridge Neighborhood, ArtForceIowa, Des Moines Social Club and Iowa Community Capital.
Maria Beatriz Flores
Vice President
Maria Beatriz Flores is a bilingual psychologist with a deep experience working alongside bottom-of-the-pyramid populations. Beatriz understands the challenges families face when struggling to make ends meet on a daily basis, and she uses this knowledge to coach families on sound financial management behaviors.
Amber Ramirez
U.S. Coordinator
Amber Ramirez is a bilingual graduate of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. Since then she has worked with diverse populations as an English Language Teacher in Venezuela and a coordinator of the New Iowan Center with Iowa Workforce Development. Amber enjoys working with people to help them to develop the tools they need to create more opportunities for themselves.
Tania Flores
Savings Group Facilitator
Tania, 18, is a Facilitator in her hometown of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Tania joined Solidarity Foundation’s first savings groups as a member in 2015. The savings group, and her work with New Beginnings Mexico, provided a gateway out of the Puerto Vallarta dump, where she previously worked. Through hard work and leadership in the savings group, Tania joined Solidarity Foundation’s staff in 2016. Tania is married and has one son.
Stefani Chissel Alvarez Bertrand
Honduras Coordinator
Stefani, 24, is a Savings Group Coordinator in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. There, she guides and leads new and existing savings groups. Stefani is a sophomore in the career of Proficient Technical High School in Informatics. Her dream is to be a business owner of a great company and always help people in need.
Cecilia Dominguez Altamirano
Savings Group Facilitator
Ceci, 18, is a Savings Group Facilitator in her hometown of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She joined Solidarity Foundation’s team in 2016, leading Solidarity Foundation’s first savings groups. Ceci is a senior in high school and preparing for university, where she plans to study psychology and education. She plans to attend college in another country to learn about different functional cultures, gain experiences and return to México to apply those knowledges in the country she loves.

 

Our Board of Directors

Eric Kinman
Founder / Board Member
Eric Kinman founded Solidarity Foundation in 2015. Eric received his MBA from Drake University is a local expert on issues of financial inclusion and poverty alleviation. He currently advises large CDFI credit unions throughout the country who serve low-income populations.

Kinman is President and Founder of the Solidarity Foundation, a nonprofit savings-based microfinance organization operating in Central and North America. He also leads the Opportunity Community Plan, a regional poverty reduction initiative at United Way of Central Iowa.

Eric also serves on the Board of Directors for Oakridge Neighborhood, ArtForceIowa, Des Moines Social Club and Iowa Community Capital.
Maria Beatriz Flores
Vice President / Board Member
Maria Beatriz Flores has served on The Solidarity Foundation board since 2015. She is the Mexican representative for the Children Shelter of Hope Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged children.

Flores is also the founder and director of Sendero de Esperanza y Amor, the psychologist and facilitator at New Beginnings Mexico, and she lives in Puerto Vallarta, MX. She graduated in Psychology from Universidad de Guadalajara, is certified in hypnotherapy from Palo Alto School of Hypnotherapy, and is a Saving for Change facilitator.
Robert Nalean
Treasurer / Board Member
Robert “Bobby” Nalean is Treasurer of The Solidarity Foundation and has served since 2015. He is employed at Des Moines Area Community College as a Coordinator, Early Alert Referrals/Adult Learner Processes. Bobby earned his Bachelor of Arts in history from Simpson College and his Master of Science degree in adult learning and organizational performance from Drake University. He currently lives in Des Moines, Iowa.

Bobby has served as president of the Iowa Community College Student Services Association and has presented at state conferences around topics including leadership in the workplace and student retention initiatives.
Andrea Baumgartner
Marketing Director / Board Member
Andrea Baumgartner is a creative marketing strategist and designer. Her past work with nonprofits includes volunteer positions working on behalf of those in poverty among St. Louis area homeless shelters and food pantries, and supporting and advocating for those with physical disabilities through organizations such as Adaptive Sports Iowa, Disabled Athletes Sports Association of St. Louis and as a member of the Beacon Hill council.
Andrew Lundquist
Board Member
Andrew Lundquist has served on the board of The Solidarity Foundation since 2015. He is a foot and ankle surgeon at the Mankato Clinic in Mankato, MN. He serves on the Board of the Mankato Clinic Foundation, the Church Council at Crossview Covenant Church, and as the Co-Chair of the Scientific Committee for the Minnesota Podiatric Medical Association.
Matthew Mitchell
Board Member
Dr. Matthew Mitchell is an author, consultant, and assistant professor of international business and strategy at Drake. He also serves as the executive editor of the journal International Business: Research, Teaching, and Practice and is the chair of the largest national chapter of the Academy of International Business.

Matthew earned his Ph.D. in International Business from the University of South Carolina—the world’s leading program in international business. His research investigates the relationship between firm strategy politics and religion in different global markets. His most recent research projects have investigated 1) the returns of conventional vs. Sharia-compliant stock indices, 2) the interpretation of intellectual property protection efforts by religious communities in East Asia, and 3) the evolution of the life insurance industries in India and China among others.

Matthew has traveled, lived, and worked in more than 75 countries and has been invited as a consultant and guest lecturer at companies, NGOs, and universities around the world.
Jeffrey Ashe
Board Member
Jeffrey Ashe is a Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire, and a Research Fellow, Global Development and the Environment, Tufts University. He also teaches microfinance at Columbia and Brandeis Universities. Previously Ashe led Saving for Change at Oxfam America which grew to 703,000 Savings Group members in Mali, Senegal, Cambodia, El Salvador and Guatemala. By training groups of about 20 to save and lend to each other by the thousands these groups provide a better way to save and lend at a fraction of the cost and complexity of financial institutions.

Ashe previously founded and led Working Capital, which was this country’s largest microfinance initiative and was honored by President Clinton at the White House. While at Acción International he directed the PISCES studies, the first worldwide study of microfinance. He has consulted on microfinance projects in more than 30 countries.
Michelle Book
Board Member
Michelle Book is the President and CEO of the Iowa Food Bank. Michelle’s deep commitment to the community is shown through her service as President of the BRAVO Board, Vice Chair and founding member of the Des Moines Botanical Garden Board, Greater Des Moines Community Foundation Grant Making Committee, Downtown Community Alliance Board, and more.

Nationally, she served on the Kitchen Cabinet for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the National United Way Corporate Advisory Council. Michelle received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Iowa State University, majoring in accounting. She is a certified public accountant and certified internal auditor.

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