Many students spend their time in college focusing abroad, dedicating enormous amounts of time and effort to raise money or awareness for a global issue. Many forget that there are still problems in their hometowns lingering just down the street.
Arizona Microcredit Initiative founding member Daniel Dodell realized this early on.
Dodell, a recent Arizona State University supply chain management and accounting graduate, realized his passion for helping local, small businesses in 2011 when he joined the newly founded microfinance organization, Arizona Microcredit Initiative.
AMI, whose mission is to aide local entrepreneurs through business instruction and loans, received its seed funding from the Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative, helping establish AMI as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
The co-founders, all ASU W. P. Carey business students, modeled AMI after other national microfinance institutes and helped AMI become a member of Lend for America, an empowerment organization for student leaders of campus microfinance institutes.
Current AMI Director of Client Recruitment, Angie Lashinke, said Dodell was fundamental in AMI’s successful launch.
“A lot of our client recruitment funding and all the big grants were Daniel. He knew the contacts. That was Daniel,” Lashinke said. “He’s the type of guy who says what he wants and gets it.”
Dodell said his favorite memory in AMI comes from the first cohort class AMI taught.
“It was me and Jeff Wells teaching at St. Vincent De Paul,” Dodell said. “Many of our clients were in difficult situations with their personal finances and being able to help them think outside their daily lives about hopes and dreams and goals was really rewarding.”
Dodell now works as a Business Analyst for the Atlanta office of McKinsey & Company, a renowned global management consulting firm. He credits his experience with AMI as great exposure to being an impact-focused entrepreneur and for helping him develop unique problem solving skills.
As a current member of the alumni advisory board, Dodell has big goals for the future of AMI.
“Long term I’d like to see a successful cohort class that turns into microloans, in addition to more money being given out,” Dodell said.
“I also want to see AMI being not just a way to help clients, but as a way to help students develop as professionals and learn about what spikes their interest in a career, whether that be nonprofit, microfinance, investment banking, start ups, entrepreneurship, anything.”
However, Dodell’s biggest goal is the eventual expansion of AMI.
“It’s Arizona Microcredit Initiative, not ASU Microcredit Initiative,” Dodell said. “I hope to see AMI expand to other campuses and across Arizona.”