Monday, July 26, 2010

Giving Back: Kiva Microfinance Loans

One of my goals is to begin giving back. I have sporadically donated to charities in the past, mostly around Christmas and those that were convenient (e.g. the Christmas Angel Program, the Humane Society, and any charity requests that might come through the mail with those free address label stickers). I want to give back more. I don't think it's enough just to give when the timing's right and when I have some extra cash in my wallet. I need to make the concsious choice to put giving ahead of my spending. I don't think twice when it comes to dropping $50 on deals at Last Chance, so why should I hesitate when it comes to donating the same to chairty? One of the most effective ways I've found to give back is through Kiva. Kiva's mission is to provide microfinance loans to individuals in developing countries to start their own businesses. These businesses are designed to provide a self-sustasining income for them and their family while at the same time strengthening the community and, indirectly, the country as it moves people out of poverty and towards independence. Kiva's charitable model is an extremely effective strategy for improving the plight of the impoversihed across the world. It woks like this:
  1. A loan is given through individual contributions from people like you and I. The loan may be a dollar amount that fulfills the entire loan requst or a group of individuals might come together to fund the loan.
  2. The loan is disbursed through Kiva to the individual.
  3. The person who received the loan establishes their business and begins repayment of the loan.
  4. As the individual begins repayment it posts to your Kiva account. You may then withdraw the funds or loan them to another individual.
The best part about Kiva is that you get to choose the person you ant to make a loan too. The Kiva website has a list of individuals, their country, gender, and kind of business they want to establish. You choose them and the dollar amount you want to contribute. Once they receive the funds they need they are able to create a business that will provide them with a viable income and a way to support their family. Instead of handouts, Kiva is creating a system where people can support themselves. What could be better than that? I made a loan of $50 to a woman in the Ukraine and once she repayed the loan I was then able to lend out her repayment to a different individual to help them establish a business. So in essence your original $50 can help so many people. Want to learn more about Kiva? Click here.

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2 comments:

Nancy E said...

I am a philanthropic person and love to volunteer. I love the Samaritan Project for Christmas! And I love Relay For Life!

The Adventures of a Blondie Mommie said...

I love the Samaritan Project too! Such a great way to get your kids involved in giving back!

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