Reflections on One Year Anniversary of Erase Poverty

Thoughts become things. A year and a half ago, a speaker I was listening to asked “If you could do anything this decade, what would it be? What would make the next ten the best ten?”

This is what I wrote: “I would erase poverty for good. I would connect people, organizations, resources and ideas that make a sustainable difference. Empowering the poor, not just giving more handouts. I would focus in on microenterprise – both as supporters and beneficiaries. I would create an iconic symbol that represents a global movement to erase poverty. I would connect the dots, not duplicate the wheel.“

What was once just a thought written in my journal is now a thing, a movement, made up of hundreds of people. All focused on erasing poverty together.  

We intentionally launched in October last year, in honor of the United Nations Day to Eradicate Poverty. So much has happened in 12 short months!

  • Dozens of people have received microloans through Erase Poverty, globally and locally! Like Rosa Maria in Mexico, who used her microloan of to increase her inventory of cosmetics. She was able to rapidly expand her business and income, and as a result, was fortunately able to pay for her husband’s medical treatment.
  • Hundreds of volunteers have caught the vision and are using their skills to move us forward. Like Susie, who diligently helps businesses with their online profiles and manages our booth at nearly all the tradeshows we’ve been to.
  • Nearly 100 local businesses now use our iconic symbol to show that they are part of the global movement to erase poverty. Like Sugar and Scribe Bakery, who has created an “Erase Poverty” cupcake and is not only seeing more sales, is helping people all over the world. And Notecard Café, who has dedicated their line of holiday cards to funding microloans through Erase Poverty.
  • I have been so honored to have my work through Erase Poverty recognized by many media publications and to have been nominated and received multiple awards this past year that have increased awareness of Erase Poverty. Like the Women Who Mean Business Award, San Diego’s Finest Female Entrepreneur Award, Forbes "Top Ten San Diego Female Entrepreneurs to Watch", California Legislative Assembly Certificate of Recognition "Women's Advocate",  BRAVO Award nominee "Women's Advocate"
  • I had the opportunity to be a delegate at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and speak to high level leaders about the connection between economic empowerment and a reduction in human trafficking.
  • Erase Poverty was chosen as a promoted cause by the California Women’s Conference – one of the largest gatherings of women in the nation.
  • We have established dozens of remarkable partnerships and alliances! Like the Cash Mob we did with Chic CEO – shoppers in our community “mobbed” 15 small business vendors with tables at Hera Hub, spending $20 with them. And the benefit concert Bodhi Tree put on with the talented Megan Weston and Michael Fennelly.  
  • Our monthly happy hours have become a place where meaningful connections with like-minded people are formed!
  • Our giant, ten foot tall Eraser has gone on tour all over southern California raising awareness about Erase Poverty by  showing up at various events and being hosted by member businesses.

Could it be that together, we could lift 600 million people out of poverty? A powerful thought that is becoming a reality with each passing day.

My good friend, Jamie, texted me this morning: “The great use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it. Thought of you and your vision for the world…lasting change.” I can’t think of a better way to spend my life than attempting to erase poverty with a group of remarkable people!

On behalf of all those who have been helped with microloans, all those who are finding more meaning in life as they contribute to a cause greater than themselves, and all those businesses who are making a difference… Thank you!

To great things ahead, 

Joanna Wasmuth
Founder & CEO