Keith McIver has been involved in volunteer and nonprofit work for a long time.
Born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina, McIver has held several positions in nonprofit administration as well as public administration. McIver received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College. He then went on to get his master’s degree in public policy analysis from the Milano School of Policy, Management and Environment.
He now works at Columbia College as director of alumni development. McIver was one of two organizers of the first Columbia College Black Expo. He is also president of the Minority Men’s Network and Education Foundation.
Recently, he helped Columbia’s Housing Programs Division provide minority- and women-owned businesses with the information and access to apply for a microenterprise loan program to help their businesses recover from the impact of COVID-19. The funds for the program came from the coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress in March.
Why did you want to get involved with the microloan program? Why do you think it’s important?
I think it’s important because that first round of federal government assistance really was not managed well from the federal level. It was sort of gobbled up by the big businesses that had access to lawyers and those firms that had to the big banks that managed the funds.
So I asked myself, on a local level, what can I do to ensure that local businesses were at least aware that funds were available to them and what that process would be for submitting an application.
I think providing access, especially to the minority communities and the women-owned businesses, just letting them know it’s here and that one can apply, was our due diligence. As citizens of taxpayers’ funds, there is a responsibility to ensure that everyone is given a fair opportunity to apply for funding.
How do you feel about winning the Progress in Civic Engagement award?
I’m humbled by it. It’s always encouraging to have someone recognize your volunteer work. It is a nice “thank you,” and more than a passive acknowledgement. I am grateful for assisting the city as a stakeholder and in a community-partnership effort. This is positive relationship. And I think that it resonates with the fact that the city of Columbia and the community are closely tied. It is a recognition by one and resonates with the community. I appreciate that.
Is there anything you’d like to say to the community and those who nominated you?
Columbia, Missouri, is a close-knit community. What this pandemic and the past several months have shown us are the blatant disparities that exist: access to health care; education inequalities (especially in the secondary school level); and, without a doubt, deep economic disparities. If there are initiatives that can attempt to address or provide some level of equity to any of this … it is to educate our community and letting people know.
It is motivating to me that the City of Columbia acknowledges a role in addressing inequalities. We need to make public awareness a metric point. We need to communicate that everyone does not have an equal footing. And do something about it. So I am proud to have been asked by Columbia’s Housing Programs Division to help make the microloan program known to the community it is intended to benefit.