B Generous: Dominic Kalms’ Mission to Transform Nonprofit Financing–the Largest Underserved Sector In the World

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(Founder and CEO of B Generous, Dominic Kalms)
Image credit: Dominic Kalms

The nonprofit sector in the United States is the cornerstone of our social safety net. From providing essential services to millions of Americans, to employing 10% of the American workforce, nonprofits address many diverse needs across healthcare, shelter, education, food insecurity, animal welfare, climate change, veterans care, social services and many more. Yet, most nonprofits operate with less than a few months of cash on hand at any given time.

Founder and CEO of B Generous, Dominic Kalms explains, “Nonprofits suffer enormous liquidity problems. We’ve all been asked for donations, but I don’t think people realize how bad the situation really is, and to compound this, nonprofit fundraising is at a 30 year low today. Less people in America are donating, which is making the situation even worse.” Kalms built B Generous as a two-part solution, one, to help nonprofits achieve their goals by ensuring financial stability and at the same time, provide donors a way to support their preferred charities without financial strain.

Born into a philanthropic family, you could say helping others less fortunate is in Dominic’s DNA. He has built a storied career in the nonprofit tech space, and now his latest company is ensuring that nonprofits have the funding they need to do their essential work. Kalms’ grandfather is a great role model. Stanley Kalms was granted the title of Sir by Queen Elizabeth II when he was Knighted for his important philanthropic contributions in the UK, including various endeavors supporting education and healthcare. He was later given the title of Lord Kalms when he was inducted into the House of Lords for his continued contributions to British society.

Dominic was actually born in Asia, in Hong Kong, and later his family moved to London. Kalms’ interest in philanthropy began at this young pivotal age when he states, “I saw a lot of poverty traveling around the world at a young age.” Later, his life in central London provided Kalms with a view from the ‘other side of the tracks.’ “I saw the opposite of poverty, I saw wealth and opulence. As a teenager, I remember thinking, ‘Wow, the world is a very unequal place.’ I wondered why that is, and it stuck with me.” Kalms also remembers thinking then, as he does now, “I want to be part of the solution, not the problem.”

Kalms attended high school in LA, then attended university and graduate school in New York. He graduated from Columbia University with a Master’s degree in International Affairs and he and his classmates were eventually recruited to Wall Street . “And before I knew it, I was working on Wall Street, and I did not love it, to put it mildly”

To keep himself intellectually stimulated and also to try and carve a path out of banking, Kalms started writing articles for a think tank in Washington DC. “Through a series of fun, kind of strange coincidences, I ended up getting asked to join the Afghanistan Mission at the United Nations working with the then Afghanistan Ambassador. This was during the height of the war in Afghanistan, so it was very timely and very interesting work, and I felt that I really got to make a difference.”

His work there led to being asked to join the Chairman’s office in the Senate Finance Committee “I was the youngest Associate at the time, working for the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. It was wild because here I was this immigrant kid, born in Asia, and in my 20’s going from working in banking to working at the highest levels of the US government in DC. It was very surreal.”

Those unique experiences and his philanthropic DNA then helped Kalms discover his purpose. “I realized I didn’t want to be confined solely to banking or the public sector. I realized that I could combine the dynamism of the private sector with the public sector’s goal of improving lives, and it led me to this intersection of profit and purpose.” It is where Dominic has thrived now for over a decade running three different companies including, B Generous, all of which help solve problems in the philanthropic space but operate as private companies with private sector talent and private sector resources, often backed by venture capital (VC) funding.

The start of B Generous

Kalms’ vision to bridge the gap in nonprofit financing was the catalyst for starting B Generous. Kalms was able to raise over $10 million in venture capital funding which he used to build a consumer credit lending product for donors. The product enabled donors to contribute immediately to their favorite nonprofits but to defer their actual out of pocket payment, while the nonprofits received all the money upfront,

“In our first year, we approved several million dollars in loans, and we onboarded hundreds of nonprofits to use the product, but something very interesting happened in that process, which is that a lot of the nonprofits that Dominic spoke with asked if B Generous would lend them money directly, as opposed to solely financing their donations. “Originally we said, ‘We don’t do direct nonprofit enterprise lending. That’s not our model.’ But the more we learned about the nonprofit credit space, the more we realized an astonishing statistic, which is that essentially 9 out of 10 nonprofits today cannot access traditional credit from banks. That is shocking considering nonprofits hold $5 Trillion in assets and are a major part of our economy. Imagine if 9 out of 10 small businesses couldn’t access credit from banks. That is the situation today in the nonprofit space unfortunately.

Kalms explains further, “After seeing this huge problem in the space we decided to build a direct enterprise lending product for nonprofits alongside our banking partners where we would facilitate structured term loans and lines of credit to nonprofits through a proprietary credit lending system that we developed. Since unveiling this new product just six months ago, B Generous has gained significant market traction and their program is on the way to becoming the nation’s leading credit provider for nonprofits. Today, they are averaging over 1,000 loan requests per month, and have over $15 Million in approved loans already in their program, with an average loan size of around $350,000. Kalms’ excitedly mentions that their program has zero defaults thus far and that the cumulative demand for the product has surpassed 6,000 loan requests, totaling around $400 million in borrower asks in just six months.

“We are addressing a critical gap, as there are effectively no FinTech companies that do this type of lending. Clearly with 90% of nonprofits being unable to access credit, this is a major pain point we are solving, and our program is now approving millions of dollars in nonprofit loans per month”

Solving problems in philanthropy isn’t just a part of Kalms’ career, it’s also a big part of his personal life. “You know, a lot of founders see a problem, and they build a product to try to fix it, and then, you know, that’s their professional life, but they have other passions and interests, too, but I’ve devoted my entire of my life to creating efficiencies in the nonprofit space. Even in my free time, this is basically all I do. It is my passion to which I have devoted the last 10 years of my life.”

In his limited spare time, Kalms sits on the Nonprofit Boards of Val Kilmer’s Foundation, Forest Whitaker’s Foundation, and Milken. “I’m also a donor as well to causes I truly care about; animal welfare is a big one for me.”

“My dog Achilles is 15 now and sadly has cancer.” He has been Kalms’ partner through a number of milestones and ups and downs in his life since he was just eight weeks old when Kalms first adopted him. “I love him dearly, and he’s been my best friend since I got him when he was just a little pup and I was 20 years old, and now I’m 35. He’s been with me through literally every major milestone in my adult life”

If Dominic is judged by how he treats the most vulnerable, from his personal life to his career choices to his company B Generous, he is certain to get a favorable commendation for his unwavering commitment to compassion,social responsibility, and helping others.

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