In 2011, Peter Woo, then a freshman at Notre Dame, spent his summer researching cash-lending practices in India through an International Summer Services Understanding System at the Center for Social Concerns. Inspired by the research he’d conducted, Peter returned for his sophomore year and began to look into the predatory lending industry in South Bend, Indiana.
Peter proceeded to invite seven acquaintances invested in the community to a dinner at North Dining Hall and proposed a Responsible Lending Initiative in South Bend. After this initial meeting, Peter Woo ( ND ’14), Andrew Weiler (’15), Cristin Pacifico (’15), Jane Park (’13), Jacob Stanton (’14), Alex Schoemann, (’14) and Jake Bebar (’15) met to form what is today known as the Jubilee Initiative for Financial Inclusion.
Over the course of the first year, JIFFI expanded from 8 to 30 members, raised more than $10,000 through crowdfunding, and disbursed 11 loans to clients–culminating in JIFFI receiving its 501(c)3 status. Since its inception, JIFFI has continued to attract media coverage from multiple publications over the years: The South Bend Tribune, The Journal Gazzette, University of Notre Dame website, The Washington Times, and WSBT Channel 22.