Hosts Todd Schnick and Bryan Nonni are joined by Chris Chancey, Southeast Development Representative with HOPE International, on today’s edition of Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio. During the conversation, the trio discusses HOPE International’s creation, mission, approach to serving, personal stories and much more.

Chris Chancey is a Georgia native who first saw the way business impacts lives while managing a Chick-fil-a in Denver, Colorado. From there, Chancey realized that he wanted to help use business to impact poverty around the world. Chancey soon learned about HOPE International and the idea of microfinance, and he has been working in Atlanta for the company for more than three years now.

HOPE International helps entrepreneurs around the world, in some of the most difficult places to live, by providing them a loan or saving service to help them open a business. By providing this economic relief, HOPE International is able to provide entrepreneurs with a message of hope to find their purpose in life.

Jeff Rutt, CEO of Keystone Custom Homes in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is the Founder of HOPE International. As a member of the church in the U.S., Jeff was compelled to get involved in overseas missions and short-term mission trips. Rutt, as a business owner, had some capital and a personal mission to help others and provide value to others in the world.

Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Rutt went on a mission trip to Zaporizhia, Ukraine to hand out consumer goods. “Basically, what Jeff says, they were dropping flower from the skies,” said Chancey. The mission was handing out flower, rice and other basic community staples. “Jeff thought to himself that there has to be some kind of impact on the local economy for handing out these goods,” said Chancey. After six months, Rutt returned only to find a local corner store, which was open upon their last visit, was now closed due to the free goods people received. As a result, citizens needed to go to the next town over for the same goods, which meant they had to pay twice the cost as before.

Rutt decided that there must be a better way. After extensive market research, it was found out that a specific area of Ukraine was a prime location for sunflower oil production. Rutt shipped thousands of dollars of equipment, built a factory, trained the local community and felt that the problem was solved. Again, six months later, Rutt returns to find the lights off in the factory, the machines all dusty and “no one was empowered by this idea,” explained Chancey. “It wasn’t their idea to solve and to build this industry.”

Thus, microfinance was born! Loans as small as $20 or as much as $200 are given to entrepreneurs to implement their own ideas and create value for their community. With about a million clients across 17 countries, HOPE International is seeing these entrepreneurs make a big impact with a small amount of capital.

To make sure that these loans help economies, HOPE International employs people from the communities to give loans. These loan officers around the world have “the head of a banker and the heart of a pastor” and speak the language of the local communities. Through this, they build trust in the community members. The loan officer will meet each week with a grouping of community members who all benefit from the loan. If one person in the community cannot pay their portion of the loan, the community members must step in and pay it. Through this community model, high levels of accountability and solidarity are created and in return, HOPE International sees a 98 percent repayment rate with these loans.

“It’s so powerful to see people really empowered to solve their problems. Issues, even here in the U.S., begin to diminish when you empower them and get power behind them,” said Chancey.

For more information about this great organization, click the play button above and listen to the full podcast. If HOPE International sounds like an organization you can support and want to donate to, visit To learn more about HOPE International, visit


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