December 1, 2023

UMW Students Lead Global Microfinance Movement

More than 85 global microfinance partners have joined the University of Mary Washington in the Month of Microfinance. Throughout the month of April, students at UMW and other participating colleges, universities and high schools will host and participate in campus events related to providing financial services to low-income people who would otherwise be unable to get assistance. A grassroots movement founded at UMW, the Month of Microfinance (MoMF) is in its second year. This year, dozens of international partners are supporting MoMF, including Kiva, Whole Foods Market’s Whole Planet Foundation and Accion. The program highlights local and global events with the goal of providing a value-driven and positive impact for clients. MoMF facilitates connections between students and the microfinance community through conversation and learning. Muhammad Yunus, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, advocated for microfinance principles in a recent video. “Many of the poor don’t have access to financial services and we’re really trying to change that,” said Laura Dick, a senior anthropology and economics major and member of the MoMF executive board. As a part of MoMF, a group of UMW students will participate in the Two Dollar Challenge from April 8 through 13. The Two Dollar Challenge, founded by Associate Professor of Economics Shawn Humphrey in 2007, is designed to raise funds and awareness for poverty-related causes. The Two Dollar Challenge also will occur at other campus communities across the country. Funds raised during the Two Dollar Challenge will go towards La Ceiba, a UMW-based collegiate microfinance institution founded by Humphrey that provides financial, social and educational support to communities in El Progreso, Honduras. “We’re passionate about what we’re doing” said Dick. “We really believe that it’s not just our intentions that matter, but the effects of our actions.” For more information about MoMF and a full schedule of events, visit

Shawn Humphrey to Attend Global Summit

Shawn Humphrey, associate professor of economics at the University of Mary Washington, has been invited to attend the upcoming Opportunity Collaboration, a strategic business retreat and networking summit as one of 300 global delegates.

Meeting annually for four days in conjunction with World Poverty Day, Opportunity Collaboration brings nonprofit leaders, for-profit social entrepreneurs, grant-makers and social investors together to “convene, connect and create” with leaders in similar fields, according to its website.  The summit focuses on economic justice and poverty elimination. Jonathan Lewis, CEO and entrepreneur, founded Opportunity Collaboration in 2009.

This year, the summit will be held from Sunday, October 14 through Friday, October19 in Ixtapa, Mexico.

Could You Live on $2 a Day?

UMW students led by Professor Shawn Humphrey (second from left) build a shelter as part of the $2 a Day Challenge

One student pooled his $2 with a friend to buy a jar of generic peanut butter. Another planned to buy rice and beans. Associate Professor of Economics Shawn Humphrey used his $10 for the week up-front to buy basic groceries to last him until Friday.

Humphrey and 35 UMW students are participating in the annual $2 a Day Challenge, an experiential learning exercise aimed at raising awareness and funds for poverty-related causes.

For the week, they will live in a self-made structure on Ball Circle and spend only $2 each day on food and other expenses. In the process, they hope to raise more than $2,000 for La Ceiba, a microfinance institution, while shedding light on poverty issues.

“The $2 a Day Challenge was born out of the classroom,” Humphrey said. “Education is the primary focus.”

The $2 a Day Challenge, founded by Humphrey, is in its sixth year at UMW. The program is part of the larger TDC organization, which also includes the Month of Microfinance movement and the Poverty Action Conference. This year, several other universities, including Wake Forest and Elon, are holding $2 a Day Challenges.

To hear from students and learn more about the challenge, visit

Students Represent UMW at Global Conference

Five UMW students, led by Associate Professor of Economics Shawn Humphrey, attended the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) meeting in Washington, D.C. The fifth annual meeting was held at George Washington University from Friday, March 30 through Sunday, April 1.

Students Sarah Alvarez, Ashley Cameron, Nicole Cochran, Santiago Sueiro and Daniel Tees were among 1,000 students from around the world at the meeting. The weekend includes working sessions, skills sessions and a large-scale service project. Humphrey is one of 30 commitment mentors at the meeting.

For more information about CGIU, visit

Shawn Humphrey Serves as Mentor for National Conference

Shawn Humphrey, associate professor of economics, has been chosen to serve as one of 30 commitment mentors for the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) meeting.

The meeting, to be held Friday, March 30 through Sunday, April 1 at The George Washington University in Washington D.C., will bring together approximately 1,000 students from around the world for working sessions, skills sessions and a large-scale service project. As a commitment mentor, Humphrey will facilitate discussions, share resources and build networks among his assigned group of 50 students. He also will help the participants craft their personal commitments to action, plans to address challenges on their camuses, in their local communities or around the world.

For more information about the conference, read the news release from Monday, Feb. 13.

Esfuerzo de Amor Holiday Sale

Esfuerzo de Amor is having a holiday sale!  We need to clear out our inventory so that we have a reason to buy more products when we return to Honduras this January.  Our gifts are perfectly priced for the holidays, with six priced under $10!


The following items are available in the UMW Bookstore or online at

Bobby Pins: $3

Headbands: $5

Earrings (Straight): $6

Earrings (Hoops): $7

Clutches (XS): $7

Clutches (S):  $9

Clutches (M): $11

Clutches (L): $15

Clutches (XL): $26

They make great stocking stuffers and are perfect for gift-exchanges with friends and co-workers, for your babysitter, for your mail carrier…the possibilities are endless!

Each Esfuerzo de Amor product is hand-crafted in the homes of our artisans out of discarded chip bags and soda labels.  When you buy an Esfuerzo de Amor product:

  • You generate needed income for our Honduran artisans and their families who live below $2 a day.
  • You support our microloan program in Honduras which is funded by the profits from every purchase.
  • You support a UMW student-run social enterprise.

Esfurezo de Amor products are gifts that give back. Happy Holidays!


LIKE US on FB:!/pages/ESFUERZO-de-AMOR/238912846163408

Message from Shawn Humphrey, associate professor of economics