In the category of financing, we should definitely look into the Grameen Bank, probably the most successful microlending institution in the world. It was founded by economist Muhammad Yunus, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. He started the Grameen Foundation, which “combines the power of microfinance, technology and innovative solutions<!––> to defeat global poverty.” The loans are often used to help women in undeveloped nations start small businesses. Though the loans tend to not be related to design and community development, there may be a framework there to study.
More info available at http://www.grameen-info.org/