As president of HOPE International (Lancaster, Pa.), Peter Greer ’97 reaches some of the most desperate people of the world, not only with opportunity but also with the good news of Jesus Christ.
HOPE—a Christ-centered, non-profit organization that serves 220,000 entrepreneurs living in poverty in developing countries—provides small loans ($50 to $500 U.S.D.) to emerging entrepreneurs in 12 countries, from Africa to Asia to Eastern Europe, with no asset-based collateral required. The loans enable families to start or expand their own businesses and provide for their families’ needs—from shelter to food and education.
“Our goal,” said Greer, a graduate of Messiah’s highly-regarded international business program, “is to help people achieve their goals, not create dependency. Microfinance is all about putting capital into the hands of the poor and restoring their dignity. We also share the hope of the Gospel in the context of relationships, ministering to spiritual poverty as well.”
For Greer, the journey to HOPE began at Messiah College. “My professors broadened my understanding of business. I’d never heard of microfinance before and quickly recognized it as a perfect opportunity to combine my interests in business and missions, particularly when I visited Russia in 1996 through the International Business Institute (IBI).”
Messiah’s IBI is a 12-credit required course for international business majors. For 10 weeks each summer, students visit major European corporations such as Nokia, John Deere, and Daimler Chrysler, gaining a greater understanding of international business, economics, and finance in the global economy. “It was a defining moment in my life,” asserts Greer.
At age 24, while working for the humanitarian organization, World Relief, Greer went to Cambodia as a microfinance advisor, and then onto Rwanda as the organization’s managing director. In Rwanda, he met and married Messiah alum, Laurel Steinweg, who was teaching English at Green Hills Academy. The couple returned stateside in 2002 so Greer could pursue his Master of Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University—a full-ride scholarship. Since then, he has dedicated his life to family (he and Laurel have two children and are in the process of adopting a child from Rwanda) and to expanding HOPE’s reach to those who most need the opportunity of microfinance and the hope of Jesus Christ.
Posted on September 2nd, 2008