In the News
"20 year old Alex Rosenthal is Executive Director of what's called, The Madison Fund." – WPR
Say what? TMF on Wisconsin Public Radio? Yep, it's true. Want to hear the interview in it's entirety? Check it out here.
Press release from Wisconsin State Journal:
Madison, WI. November 25th, 2011
A UW-Madison student has started a nonprofit organization offering microloans to budding entrepreneurs.
The Madison Fund was incorporated in September 2010 but just began operating in June, said founder Alex Rosenthal.
"Our ultimate goal is to create jobs in Madison," said Rosenthal, 20, a junior at the UW.
He said he would like to see the organization provide 10 to 20 loans over the next six to 12 months, from $500 to $5,000, with the majority in the $1,500 to $3,500 range.
"We're not sure what the demand is going to be like. We have had a number of inquiries so far," said Rosenthal, a Los Angeles native.
The idea took hold when Rosenthal was inspired by Muhammad Yunus, an economist in Bangladesh who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for founding Grameen Bank, an institution that provides small business loans to help people escape poverty. Rosenthal said he modeled The Madison Fund after similar organizations at other colleges, but its loans are not aimed at students.
"When credit markets are tight and banks are laughing people out of buildings, this is especially important," he said. "I hope through the provision of credit that we can really help to create jobs."
The Madison Fund made its first loan this fall to a local man looking to become a U.S. citizen. Rosenthal said the loans will focus on four areas: entrepreneurial, small business, energy efficiency and citizenship.
The Madison Fund has two full-time employees — Rosenthal his co-executive director, Andrew Tapper — and a host of volunteers, and has raised more than $2,500 so far from private donations.
He said part of the organization's role will be to offer financial guidance.
The fund hopes to help people who are "excited about starting a business and ready to make a commitment," Rosenthal said. "Even if they have no job, no income, no financial education, we can help them in some way. None of that is a roadblock."